How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

Strength and conditioning coaches are part of a competitive field. Whether you want to work in a collegiate setting, run your own gym, or coach in a well-known gym, you will have to gain the education and experience needed to stand out in the field.

This article will cover how to become a strength and conditioning coach. It will start with education and explore some of the traditional and nontraditional education routes. It will highlight the exact knowledge you must possess to be one of these coaches and it will also cover what experience you need to be competitive in the field. So here is how to become a strength and conditioning coach.

How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

The Education Needed

The first step to becoming a strength and conditioning coach is to get educated. The type of education you will need to get depends on your end goal. For this article we will use three different goals: getting a job as a collegiate strength and conditioning coach, opening your own gym, and coaching in a gym.

Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach

If you want to work in a collegiate program you will need a more traditional education. Most colleges will be looking for at least an undergraduate degree in exercise science or a related field. A graduate degree in the same area of study will increase your chances of success in the field.

Further, you will need certifications from NSCA, specifically the NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certification. To further set yourself apart from the competition, specialize in certain areas of the field that interest you. Example specialties include being a Performance and Sport Scientist or a Personal Trainer. 

Owning Your Own Strength and Conditioning Gym

You are not required to have any certain education to own a strength and conditioning gym. Does this mean you should run out and open one right now? No. Education is still vitally important and will be the difference between success and failure. But a four-year degree from an Ivy League school is not the gatekeeper to success in this market.

To open your own gym you need to understand exercise and how to work directly with clients. You also need to know how to run a small business. Even if you’re the best coach in the world, if you can’t turn a profit each month then your gym will go out of business. So look for an education that teaches you strength and conditioning principles, how to work with clients, and how to run a small business. Programs like these are great alternatives to a four-year degree.

Your education does not end once your gym opens. Further specialty courses and mentorship programs will help you stay on top of your craft.

Coaching in a Strength and Conditioning Gym

The education you need to work in a gym depends on the gym. Some might require a four-year degree in exercise science, while others will be more than happy to take a certified alternative education. But what all gyms are looking for is your ability to get their clients results. 

The best way to develop that skill set is by working with clients in person. This leads us to experience. Before applying for any jobs you need to gain hands-on experience working with clients.

Looking for a strength and conditioning education that will take less than four years? Sign up for a free coaching education course today and start learning the basics.

How to Gain Experience

Hands-on experience with clients is a prerequisite for any job in the strength and conditioning field. Therefore, you need to know exactly what experience you need and how to get it.

You need experience in progressing clients in strength training. Specifically working with a client from a starting point towards an end goal. To do this you need to be able to consult, assess, and use program design principles to create a progressive training plan.

To establish credibility and boost your confidence, you need proof that you know how to work with clients in person. That’s why programs like the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) require coaches to work with five clients before they can graduate.

How to Get Experience:

The best way for you to get experience will depend again on the end goal.

If you want to work in a collegiate program, then internships are a great way to get hands-on experience.

If you want to run your own gym or coach in a gym, then a great way to get experience is to coach family and friends. Make a simple post to your social media accounts. From there, work with anyone interested, and make sure to document their progress. You can either coach these clients remotely or work with them in a local gym. When it comes to experience there’s nothing better than time spent coaching clients.

Strength and Conditioning Coach Jobs 

Getting a Job as a Collegiate Coach

Getting a job as a collegiate strength and conditioning coach is very competitive. That is why you need a lot of education, networking, and hands-on experience to stand out amongst the other applicants. You can find these jobs on job boards, college websites, and via word-of-mouth from other people in the industry.

Opening Your Own Gym

Anyone can open their own gym. The market will decide whether or not you will stay in business. This is a higher risk than the other alternatives, but the rewards can be greater. 

Coaching in a Gym

If you want to coach in a you can find these jobs through industry-specific job boards such as the NSCA Job Board. You can also use sites like LinkedIn and Indeed.

What It Takes to Be a Strength and Conditioning Coach

If you want to work in a collegiate program you will need a four-year degree.

But if you want to coach outside of a college weight room then there are educations for a fraction of the cost and time.

For example, our Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) will teach you strength and conditioning principles, how to run your own business, and how to build a successful career in the industry. The best part—you can complete it in six months.

Download the free curriculum guide today and start your journey.


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