To help you navigate the NSCA recertification process, we have compiled answers to the most common questions we receive about maintaining your certification.
The NSCA will begin to allow access to the new digital certificates in December 2020 through April 2021, depending on when recertification was completed and if selected for audit. The earlier recertification was completed, the sooner you will have access to your new certificate. Those selected for the random audit will be contacted no later than March 2021, and may not receive their certificates until after the audit process has been completed.
Get information about how to view and use the new digital certificate and badge. Learn More.
The appeal process is for individuals that have had a significant hardship (e.g. documented disability, military deployment, serious illness, etc.) that prevented them from completing the recertification process on time. Appeals will be reviewed and decided upon by the Certification Committee (next meeting is in the spring). To file an appeal, please complete the NSCA appeal form and the reason for the appeal. Be sure to include any documentation you feel is relevant to the appeal. Please contact us at email@example.com if you have questions. Appeals will be accepted February 1, 2021-March 15, 2021 for the Spring Certification Committee meeting and appeal review.
NOTE: If your appeal is related to the Covid-19 pandemic, a natural disaster or military deployment, please contact the recertification team at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information about accommodation forms.Download Form (PDF)
The Certification Committee has approved a Recertification Policy Amendment for Pandemics to help those who have been adversely impacted by Covid-19. If you can provide proof that you meet the eligibility requirements below, during the period that the pandemic was active, contact us at email@example.com and request a Recertification Policy Amendment for Pandemics application.
If the eligibility requirements are not met, certificants may use the standard appeal process. The Certification Committee will review all appeals in the Spring of 2021.To file an appeal, please submit a completed NSCA appeal form, required fees, and supporting documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Appeals will be accepted February 1, 2021-March 15, 2021, for the Spring Certification Committee meeting and appeal review.
There are a few situations that may cause you not to see your certification:
Check out the How-To Videos to help you understand how to navigateView How-To Videos
You can renew your CPR/AED certification through an online course, as long as it covers adult and includes a skills evaluation. If there is a lapse of CPR/AED certification, you would need to attend this course in person.
Scope of practice for Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS®) are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance. They conduct sport-specific testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs, and provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention. Recognizing that their area of expertise is separate and distinct, CSCSs consult with and refer athletes to other professionals when appropriate.
Scope of practice for a National Strength & Conditioning Association NSCA-Certified Personal Trainers (NSCA-CPT®) are health/fitness professionals who, using an individualized approach, assess, motivate, educate and train clients regarding their personal health and fitness needs. A personal training certification will help to design safe and effective exercise programs, provide guidance to help clients achieve their personal health/fitness goals, and respond appropriately in emergency situations. Recognizing their own area of expertise, a personal trainer will refer clients to other health care professionals when appropriate.
Scope of practice for Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitators® (TSAC-F®) apply scientific knowledge to physically train military, fire and rescue, law enforcement, protective services, and other emergency personnel to improve performance, promote wellness, and decrease injury risk. They conduct needs analyses and physical testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs, and provide general information regarding nutrition. Recognizing their area of expertise is separate and distinct, TSAC - Facilitators consult with and refer those they train to other professionals when appropriate.
Scope of practice for Certified Special Population Specialists® (CSPS®) are fitness professionals who, using an individualized approach, assess, motivate, educate, and train special population clients of all ages regarding their health and fitness needs, preventively, and in collaboration with healthcare professionals. They design safe and effective exercise programs, provide guidance to help clients achieve their personal health/fitness goals, and recognize and respond to emergency situations. Recognizing their own areas of expertise, CSPS receive referrals from and refer clients to other healthcare providers as appropriate.
You will not be required to recertify for the current recertification cycle ending December 31, 2020. You will be ‘grand-fathered’ into the next recertification cycle, and can begin to earn CEUs in January 2021. You will need to complete your recertification by December 31, 2023.
No, you will need to report the required amount of CEUs, and pay the recertification fee before the deadline, to maintain your NSCA certification(s). However, you may earn 3.0 CEUs for earning an additional NSCA certification.Learn More
Recertification with Distinction is a recognition program that honors certified professionals who have shown exemplary involvement in the NSCA. This distinction is a step beyond standard recertification and is not required to maintain your NSCA certification; it is optional. The distinction will be applied to the following recertification cycle. If you complete recertification with distinction before the 12/31/2020 deadline, you will hold the *D during 2021-2023 and would need to renew every cycle if you wish to maintain that distinction.Learn More
It could be that you have not completed all the steps. Your NSCA account should read “Complete” on the CEU Overview page, if it does not, there are a few things to double check on if you are still receiving recertification notices:
Once you have completed the recertification requirements, you will see a green box that reads “Recertification Complete” on your CEU reporting page. The NSCA website will update with the new expiration date of 2023, and new recertification information in early 2021, after the recertification cycle has ended and the audit has been completed.
No, CEUs will not roll over. CEUs must be earned within the current reporting period.
If a certificant has earned the required amount of CEUs during the reporting period but did not report by the 12/31/2020 deadline, they can still be submitted through January 31, 2021, with a $35 late fee.
Your certification will expire and you will need to either retake the exam to become certified once again or go through the appeal/reinstatement process.
Appeals can take a few months to receive a response and are intended for individuals who have had extenuating circumstances during the missed reporting period and/or deadline. Ex: Serious illness (cancer), car accident that leads to change in lifestyle, death in the immediate family.
NOTE: If your appeal is related to the Covid-19 pandemic, a natural disaster or military deployment, please contact the recertification team at email@example.com for additional information about accommodation forms.
The full list of acceptable activities are listed on the CEU Category page, but here is some additional information on the most common CEU activities.
Live-streamed and attended courses do not have to be offered by the NSCA or be pre-approved to count for CEUs. If the course was physically attended or live-streamed, and falls within the scope of practice for NSCA certification held, then the hours are applicable for credit. Some examples that fall within the NSCA scope are exercise, injury prevention, anatomy/physiology, biomechanics, and/or nutrition.
Clinical course hours will not be accepted for credit with the NSCA since those topics are considered to fall outside your scope of practice for the NSCA certification held. Some examples that fall outside of the NSCA scope are manual therapy, return to play, and diagnosing and/or fixing an injury.
Attending Event sessions count applicable hours as 0.1 CEU per hour of attendance, with a maximum of 2.0 CEUs per event, under category A. An example of being able to report partial hours for a seminar are as follows: If you attend a 20-hour physical therapy conference, and the first 10 hours cover preventing an injury, and the next 10 hours cover fixing an injury, you would only be able to count the 10 hours on preventing and not the other. You would report 1.0 CEUs as attending a non-NSCA event.
Online courses and recorded webinars must be pre-approved by the NSCA. You can find the list of pre-approved home study courses on the NSCA website here. Pre-approved online courses and recorded webinars fall under Category D, with a varying approved CEU amount. (Completed a Pre-Approved Home Study)
If the online course is not on our list but still reflects the NSCA scope of practice, you can count it under Category D, Personal Development where you’re allowed 0.5 CEU per year. (Engaged in Personal Development)View CEU Activity Descriptions
The NSCA can only allow CEUs for fitness, sport, or exercise nutrition certifications that are NCCA-accredited. You can check the status for all accredited certifications on the Institute for Credentialing Excellence website: https://www.credentialingexcellence.org/p/cm/ld/fid=121. If the certification is listed, then it can be reported as 1.0 CEUs in Category D. (Earned NCCA Certification)
You can report CEUs for college courses that fall within the scope of practice for the NSCA certification held. The course(s) must have started after date of certification (during the current reporting period), and have been completed before the expiration date of December 31, 2020. Provided the course(s) you completed meets that criterion, you can record the activity in Category C, as “Completed Post-Certification College Course”. You may report 0.3 CEU per quarter credit hour or 0.5 CEU per semester credit hour (up to a maximum of 2.0 CEUs per course).
The scope of practice will include areas that are covered on the NSCA exam, depending on which certification you hold, for example; Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics, Kinesiology, Health/Wellness, Sport Psychology, Client Consultation and Assessment, Program Planning, Techniques of Exercise, Safety, Emergency Procedures and Legal Issues, Basic Nutrition, Special Populations, etc. Areas of study that DO NOT count include, but are not limited to, Surgery, Diagnosing, Radiology/Imaging, Business, Marketing, Finance, Statistics, etc.
You can not receive CEUs for CPR/AED since it’s a requirement for certification
You can report 0.5 CEUs in Category C, for a First Aid, each time you certify/recertify a First Aid Certification.
Personal Development includes any activity completed to keep current with the strength and conditioning and/or personal training fields that does not fall within another category. Some examples of activities include reading journals, magazines and books, listening to podcasts, completing a home study that is not pre-approved, participating in self-improvement courses, etc. ]
You can report 0.5 CEU (or 5 contact hours) per year of the reporting period that you are certified.
As long as the CEU activity date takes place after the date of your last NSCA certification earned, and during the current recertification cycle, you will get credit towards all NSCA certifications. If you completed activity prior to earning the additional NSCA certification, during the current recertification cycle, those CEUs would only be applied to the first certification held.
For example: If you held the NSCA-CPT before 1/1/2018 and earned the CSCS on 4/2/2019, only the activities completed after 4/2/2019 would be applied towards both certifications. If you completed an activity on 6/5/2018, those CEUs would only be applied to the NSCA-CPT.
Please note that a recertification fee will need to be paid for each certification held. You may email firstname.lastname@example.org, if you need further clarification.
Individuals certified before January 1, 2020 must report their CEUs from at least two different categories. Category Maximums do apply. You can find a chart of category maximums on the website and on your CEU reporting page. Note: CEUs do not need to be earned in every category.View Category Maximums Chart
You will have to purchase and take the quiz again if you scored lower than 70.
Documentation is only required if you are selected for the random audit, or are requesting an appeal or reinstatement. If you are selected for the random audit please see page 5 of the Recertification Policies and Procedures or on the NSCA Audit page for information on what type of documentation is required.
Watch the videos on the CEU reporting process before you start reporting your CEUs, or if you get stuck along the way.
Here are the steps on how to report your CEUs:
*Please note that some activities will have a fixed CEU amount that cannot be adjusted. Refer to page 5 in the Recertification Policies and Procedures.
Please note that you are still subject to the audit, and will be notified no later than March 2021, if selected. You are not required to submit documentation for reported CEUs, unless you are selected for an audit. Please file away any documentation you may have in case it is needed at a later date.
Having a current CPR/AED certification is a requirement to maintain your NSCA certification.
NSCA activities will be reported for you. Quiz CEUs will be automatically applied to your account upon passing with a score of 70 or higher.
Volunteer CEUs are added once a year by NSCA staff, after 1 full year has been served in an NSCA volunteer leadership position.
NSCA publication CEUs are added during the month that the article is published in an NSCA publication. Please note that CEUs are not applied for articles that are published ahead of print.
NSCA event CEUs are usually added to your account within 1-2 weeks from the date of the event. (They are not automatically added upon completion of attendance; rather they are manually entered by NSCA staff.) Note: You do have the option to add the CEUs to your account, if you would like to complete recertification before they are added.
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