Frequently Asked Questions

You can find answers to the most frequently asked questions the NSCA receives here.

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Certification

  • What certification is best for me?

    The NSCA certifications are geared towards working with different audience types, so it will depend on who you want to work with and/or where you want to work. View the section on choosing the right certification on the exam preparation page.

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  • How do I become certified? Do I need to attend a class?

    To qualify for an NSCA certification, candidates must meet all of the eligibility requirements for the certification program and pass the exam(s). Our certification exams are self-study, however we recommend attending an Exam Prep Live Clinic but it is not a requirement to sit for the exam. Visit the How to prepare page for each certification to get more information. /certification/exam-preparation/

    Learn How to Prepare
  • Where do I send my official transcripts/CPR/AED documentation?

    Please mail your supporting documentation to:

    NSCA Certification Department

    1885 Bob Johnson Drive
    Colorado Springs, CO 80906
    FAX: 719-632-6367 (copies of CPR/AED only)
    Email: exams@nsca.com (copies of CPR/AED only)

  • Can I use any other certification or prior experience in lieu of the degree requirement?

    CSCS - Having the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree demonstrates that candidates have obtained the basic knowledge and skills required of someone in the strength & conditioning field.  Earning the CSCS credential says that the individual has (1) earned an undergraduate degree and (2) demonstrated an acceptable level of knowledge in strength training and conditioning by passing the CSCS certification exam.  The NSCA has never granted an exception to the BS/BA requirement regardless of the individual’s level of experience and/or expertise for the CSCS exam.

     

    CSPS – If candidates do not have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in Exercise Science (or a related field, e.g. physical therapy, chiropractic medicine), then the candidate must have either a current NSCA certification (e.g., CSCS, NSCA-CPT, etc.) or NCCA-accredited personal trainer certification or a current license as a physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, athletic trainer, or registered dietician

     

  • Does my Bachelor’s degree need to be in a specific field?

    CSCS – No, candidates must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree but there is not a field requirement.

    CSPS – Yes, NSCA recognizes the following fields of study as relating to exercise science for the purpose of fulfilling the degree requirement for CSPS: Athletic Training, Biology, Biomechanics, Chiropractic, Community Health, Exercise Physiology, Exercise Science, Health Science, Human Movement Science, Kinesiology, Medicine (e.g., MD, DO), Nursing, Nutrition, Physical Education, Physical Therapy, and Sport Science.

  • How do I change my name on my account to meet the Pearson VUE policies?

    You must call the NSCA Certification Department at 800-815-6826 to make any name updates.

  • I just took my exam and passed, when will I receive my certificate?

    As long as you have completed all other requirements, you will receive your certification packet within 6-8 weeks.

  • Can I get an electronic version of my certificate?

    We do not have electronic certificates available at this time.

  • When does my certification expire?

    The current Recertification cycle ends on December 31, 2020. You must complete the recertification requirements on or before that date. 

    Learn More
  • How many CEU’s do I need to report?

    The CEU requirement is based on your certification date. Please refer to the chart on the Recertification and Continuing Education page for the amount required.

    Learn More
  • How many CEUs is an activity worth?

    You can find a list of CEU activities and values in the different Category sections Recertification & Continuing Education area of the website. 

    View Details

Certification Exam

  • When are the exams offered in my area?

    Exams are administered on computers year-round at Pearson VUE test centers worldwide. Please note that certain test centers, such as those located on military bases, may not be accessible to the general public. You can view exam locations at www.pearsonvue.com/nsca.

    The Exam is offered in 7 Languages - Learn More

  • Are the study materials included in the exam price?

    The study materials are not included in the exam registration fee. Study materials can be purchased from the NSCA Store.

    View Exam Prep Materials
  • Which study materials would you suggest for me?

    NSCA offers several optional resources to help candidates prepare. These resources can be combined into a preparation plan that is tailored to the specific needs of a candidate based on their academic background and practical experience. 

    Learn More
  • Where are the dates for the exam?

    Exams are administered year-round at Pearson VUE computer based test centers worldwide. After successfully registering with NSCA, candidates will receive an exam authorization email from Pearson VUE within 2-3 business days. This authorization notice will contain instructions on how to schedule your exam. Candidates have 120 days from the registration date to sit for their exam. Candidates who are unable to take the exam within the 120-day period must withdraw or extend their registration to avoid forfeiting their registration fees.

  • How long to I have to take my exam after I get registered?

    Candidates have 120 days from the registration date to sit for their exam. Candidates who are unable to take the exam within the 120-day period must withdraw or extend their registration to avoid forfeiting their registration fees.

  • How long do I have to complete all of the eligibility requirements after I pass my exam?

    You must fulfill all eligibility requirements within one (1) year to become certified. Exam scores are valid one year from the date the exam was taken, the NSCA must receive all supporting documentation BEFORE the one year mark has passed. After that date, exam scores are considered NULL and VOID and the exam must be retaken.

  • Can I see which questions I missed?

    Unfortunately, the questions are not available for review.  The NSCA does not permit access to the exams other than during the time of the actual exam.  Our policy is consistent with other nationally recognized certifying and licensing bodies.  The NSCA Exam Development Committees have devoted a significant effort to develop valid and reliable examinations. Allowing candidates to review examinations would compromise the security of the examinations and likely compromise their reliability.

  • What is a scaled scoring system?

    The reason for scaled scores is that different forms (or versions) of the test may vary in difficulty. As new forms of the test are introduced, a certain number of questions in each content area are replaced by new questions. These changes may cause one form of the test to be slightly easier or harder than another form. To adjust for these differences in difficulty, a procedure called “equating” is used. The goal of equating is to ensure fairness to all candidates. 

    The scaled score is statistically derived from your raw score. The passing score reflects the amount of knowledge that a committee of experts has determined to be appropriate for credentialing. A criterion-referenced standard setting procedure and expert judgment were used to evaluate each item on the entire examination in order to identify the passing point. Therefore, your score is not based on a curve; it is determined independently of all other exam candidates. 

    The equating system used and the manner in which the passing point is established follows psychometric protocols and nationally-recognized standards. 

Educational Content

Insurance

Journals & Publications

NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT)

  • How can I get certified as an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer® (NSCA-CPT®)?

    All of the information you will need on preparing for and passing the exam can be found on the NSCA-CPT Certification page. 

    Learn More
  • What resources are available to help me get certified?

    The NSCA offers several options for preparing for the NSCA-CPT exam. Check out our study materials in the NSCA shop and look for an Exam Preparation Live Clinic in your area. 

    Learn More
  • What educational resources are available through the Personal Training Program?

    The NSCA offers the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (JSCR) and Strength and Conditioning Journal (SCJ), and several quarterly, peer-reviewed publications, including the Personal Training Quarterly (PTQ). We also suggest you check out our articles and videos. 

    Learn More
  • Where can I find the latest personal training job openings?

    Visit the NSCA Job Board for the latest job postings./professional-development/nsca-job-award/

    View Featured Jobs
  • Should I get the NSCA- CPT Certification or CSCS certification?

    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. Certified personal trainers design safe and effective exercise programs, provide the 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.

    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, CSCS® consult with and refer athletes to other professionals when appropriate.

  • What tools and resources are available through the Personal Training Program?

    The NSCA offers a number of tools and resources for personal trainers, including standard forms and templates, position statements, client handouts (Trainer Tips), and other educational materials 

    Learn More
  • How do I submit an article to the Personal Training Quarterly?

    To submit an article to the Personal Training Quarterly, please refer to Personal Trainer Quarterly Author's Guidelines which are found on the Personal Training Quarterly page or email the NSCA Publicathttps://epi-manage.nsca.com/education/journals/personal-training-quarterly/ions Department at publications@nsca.com.

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Tactical Strength & Conditioning (TSAC)

Membership

  • May I have access to current NSCA members and/or certified professionals for the purpose of conducting surveys/research?

    We currently do not grant permission nor grant access to NSCA members for the purposes of conducting research or participating in surveys.

  • What is the difference between Student and Professional Membership?

    The Student and Professional Memberships have the same benefits, the only difference is the cost to make membership affordable for students. Student members must submit a verification of their student status. 

     

    Student Member Benefits:

    • Electronic bimonthly subscription to the Strength and Conditioning Journal
    • Electronic monthly subscription to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
    • Electronic access to the NSCA CoachPersonal Training Quarterly, and TSAC Report
    • An online library of member-only educational content including articles, videos, interviews, etc.
    • Eligibility for grants and scholarships
    • Discounted registration to NSCA events, the NSCA store and certification exams.
    • NSCA involvement through volunteer opportunities
    • Ability to vote for Board of Directors positions
    • Eligibility for awards recognition
    • Become a Fellow of the NSCA
    View Verification Form
  • What is the difference between Professional and Professional with Insurance?

    Certified Professional with Liability Insurance (CPI) Membership has the same benefits as the Professional membership, plus liability insurance. 

    CPI Exclusive Benefits:

    • Enjoy substantial savings through an exclusive NSCA arrangement Professional liability coverage – total limit up to $5,000,000
    • Add additional insureds (facility – non-owned) at no additional cost
    • Complimentary sample waivers

    Additional Benefits:

    • Electronic bimonthly subscription to the Strength and Conditioning Journal
    • Electronic monthly subscription to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
    • Electronic access to the NSCA CoachPersonal Training Quarterly, and TSAC Report
    • An online library of member-only educational content including articles, videos, interviews, etc.
    • Eligibility for grants and scholarships
    • Discounted registration to NSCA events, the NSCA store and certification exams.
    • NSCA involvement through volunteer opportunities
    • Ability to vote for Board of Directors positions
    • Eligibility for awards recognition
    • Become a Fellow of the NSCA
  • Am I a member if I hold a current NSCA certification?

    No, the NSCA is required to keep membership as a separate option from certification in order to be compliant with The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

    Learn About Memberhsip

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