What is the CSCS Exam?

Sep 14, 2022

Photo Credit: Digital Buggu/Pexels

By: Danielle Abel, MSN, FNMS, CSCS(c)

CSCS stands for Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and it's an exam and certification offered from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). It's the gold standard in strength and conditioning and is a more difficult exam than traditional certified personal training (CPT) exams. 

The exam is based on the NSCA's textbook the "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning." The textbook will not only help you prepare for the exam, but it can serve as a great resource for you even after you pass the exam. 

Topics on the NSCA CSCS exam include advanced topics like:

  • Muscle Physiology
  • Program Design
  • Periodization
  • Exercise Technique

The textbook and exam primarily apply to strength coaches at the high school and college level, but much of the content also applies to sports rehab, personal training, and coaching. Often rehab professionals, trainers, and coaches will sit for the exam to gain a higher level of knowledge and expertise. 

If you're considering taking the CSCS exam and want support as you start studying, you might want to check out our "Strength and Conditioning Study Group" on Facebook here. 


Support & Courses Available

Ready for even more? Our 24-module CSCS Prep Course has exercise science terminology completely laid out for you with even more content than what we’ve provided here, plus chapter quizzes to help you pass the NSCA exam; click the link here to check it out.

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