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Strength and Conditioning Qualifications in US, Canada and Australia

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April 26, 2019
tim saye

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Following last week’s blog on the benefits of taking strength and conditioning courses and UK-based Strength and Conditioning curse providers, this week we’re going to look at the major strength and conditioning providers in the US, Canada, and Australia. Strength and conditioning qualifications offer career progression for personal trainers, helping them to attract more clients and provide services in new areas.

United States of America

The National Strength and Conditioning Association

The National Strength and Conditioning Association is an American, not-for-profit institution that is dedicated to helping fitness professionals, personal trainers and strength and conditioning coaches to advance their careers. The organisation offers up-to-date and industry-leading qualifications across a range of educational opportunities. There are more than 45,000 in the NSCA community, including trainers, strength coaches, educators and researchers.

Certificates you can acquire via the NSCA are CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), CSPS (Certified Special Population Specialist), TSAC-F (Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator). They also provide their own personal training qualification; NSCA-CPT (NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer) and numerous educational materials for continuous development.

Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association

The Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association is an organisation based in the US designed to help meet the needs and challenges of collegiate-level strength and conditioning coaches. The organisation aims to have strength and conditioning coaches at every college and university across the US and, eventually, even high school involved in competitive athletics.

There are two levels of certification you can obtain through the CSCCa. The SCCC (Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified is claimed to be the most comprehensive certification that aims to help aspiring coaches in the US who have the skills, knowledge technique and expertise to become a certified entry-level S&C coach on the collegiate and professional level.

The MSCC (Master Strength and Conditioning Coach) certification is available for strength and conditioning coaches who have been practising their trade full-time for at least 12 years. Other eligibility criteria include being an active member of the CSCCA and having already acquired the SCCC certificate.

ACE (American Council on Exercise)

ACE is a leading exercise professional and health coach certification organisation based in California that is on a mission to get more people moving. The provider emphasises its commitment to science and research, basing its training on the latest evidence in journals about what works, and what doesn’t. Their focus is to educate and certify aspiring professionals so they can help their clients achieve their fitness and health goals.

However, they also provide specialist courses in a variety of fields. If you don’t have intention to become a full-time strength conditioning coach, but you’d like to be able to serve your clients better with their S&C needs in injury prevention, functional independence and longevity, check out these courses to see how hey could benefit your career progression.


Canadian Strength and Conditioning Association

The Canadian Strength and Conditioning Association helps to create and promote the standards that any S&C coach needs to meet. The organisation says that coaches can use them at any point during their professional careers and can help private and public employers hire the right coach for the job.

The aim of the Canadian Strength and Conditioning Association is to help budding coaches connect with other people in their industry across a range of institutions, including universities, schools, community centres and independent operators.

The Canadian Sport Institute

The Canadian Sport Institute, in partnership with the Coaching Association of Canada offers a range of coaching certifications, including National Coaching Certification, Advanced Coaching Diploma, and other courses for strength and conditioning coaches. The organisation believes that coaches are among the most critical influences on the careers of high-performance athletes. It offers an elite coaching development plan that attracts coaches from all over the globe.

Canadian Centre for Strength and Conditioning

The Canadian Centre for Strength and Conditioning offers a range of mini courses for strength and conditioning coaches that allow them to improve their skills and get better at what they do. These include training on things like hypertrophy, optimal body composition, increasing strength, and building better programmes for clients.

The organisation also offers coaches help and training for selecting optimal nutrition packages, and how nutrition affects training. Trainers and coaches can attend online courses through the organisation, negating the need to travel.


Australian Strength and Conditioning Association

The Australian Strength and Conditioning Association is a non-profit organisation that helps strength and conditioning coaches based in Australia to improve the quality of their services. The organisation provides support to coaches of all levels, whether just starting out or with many years of experience in the industry.

The ASCA has programs that are part of the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme, administered by the Australian Sports Commission. The scheme ensures that all coaches meet a minimum standard for accreditation during any strength and conditioning program. A diverse board runs the ASCA with members from industry, people employed in the S&C sector, and researchers. The ASCA says that this helps to keep it at the forefront of current practice.

Edith Cowan University

Edith Cowan University is listed as a recognised by the ASCA as a course provider of level 2 strength and conditioning coaching. The university prioritises respect, rational enquiry and personal excellence.

Currently, the university allows coaches to train online. You can either study full-time for a certificate in exercise science (strength and conditioning) for six months or do a part-time course over a year. If you're interested in attending the university, you can find out things like admission deadlines and minimum entry requirements on the institution’s website.

Australian Catholic University

The Australian Strength and Conditioning Association also recognises Australian Catholic University as a certified provider of S&C coaching. The university offers a bachelors in high-performance sports, which includes several strength and conditioning modules that coaches might be interested in.

These include nutrition and exercise, strength and conditioning: fundamentals of athletic preparation, and strength and conditioning: prescriptions for athletic performance.

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