The Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa) is a non-profit, professional, educational organization solely designed for collegiate and professional-level strength and conditioning coaches and for students and interns preparing for a career in strength and conditioning. The CSCCa is working in conjunction with the NCAA through the Sport Science Institute to promote a focus on important health and safety issues which are always a key concern in developing and implementing effective strength and conditioning programs.
The CSCCa was organized in 2000 with a small core constituency of collegiate strength and conditioning coaches from around the country. During the past 13 years, the organization has experienced tremendous growth. Over 1,600 collegiate and professional-level strength and conditioning coach members have realized the value of being part of an organization specifically committed to understanding and servicing the unique needs of their profession.
The CSCCa offers a comprehensive, three-part educational process to ensure that individuals holding the Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC) credential possess the necessary knowledge, skills, techniques, experience and expertise to be a competent and effective strength and conditioning coach. The first step in the certification process (SCCC) is completion of a 640-hour practicum/internship under the guidance and supervision of a CSCCa-approved mentor. The primary goal of the practicum/internship experience is to prepare the candidate to enter the strength and conditioning coaching profession well prepared and equipped to effectively meet the demands of being strength and conditioning coach on the collegiate or professional level.
In addition to completion of the 640-hour internship, the SCCC candidate must submit proof of CPR, First Aid and AED certification that is current on the day of the SCCC certification exam, as well as verification of attainment of a bachelor’s degree; candidates in the last semester of college are eligible to tale the SCCC certification exam upon the condition that they obtain their bachelor’s degree within the following 12 months. It is important to note that a large number of collegiate and professional-level strength and conditioning coaches hold a Master’s degree or higher.
The SCCC certification examination includes both a written and practical portion. The written portion is a comprehensive multiple-choice exam that includes questions of both a scientific and applied nature from five domains: Assessment of Performance Needs; Program Design and Development; Athlete Education and Training; Athlete Testing and Evaluation; and Organizational and Administrative Responsibilities. The practical portion is a hands-on demonstration of a variety of strength and conditioning skills and techniques, as well as an oral examination, including questions relevant to the strength and conditioning field, conducted by a panel of Master Strength and Conditioning Coaches. Each candidate is required to create and provide a sound rationale for the strength and conditioning program he or she has designed for a designated sport, and the rationale must be based upon periodization concepts and other solid, scientific principles.
The CSCCa offers a second level of certification: the Master Strength and Conditioning Coach (MSCC). In order to receive this title, an individual must be SCCC certified and have been a full-time collegiate and/or professional-level strength and conditioning coach for a minimum of twelve years. With all the coaching changes that take place each year across the country, only the best and most dedicated strength and conditioning coaches are able to reach this important milestone. The title of Master Strength and Conditioning Coach (MSCC) is the highest honor that can be achieved as a CSCCa strength and conditioning coach, and it represents the culmination of professionalism, knowledge, experience, expertise and longevity in the field. The coaches who achieve this rank are truly in a league of their own.
The CSCCa also has a comprehensive Continuing Education (CEU) Program to ensure that its certified members are continuously updated and informed about research and advances in the field of strength and conditioning. This program ensures that SCCC certified coaches stay current on the latest exercise science research and its practical application in the field, and that they are familiar with all NCAA rules and regulations affecting the design and implementation of strength and conditioning programs. Many aspects of the SCCC certification and CEU program deal with health and safety issues. The primary concern of the CSCCa and its member coaches continue to be protecting the health and safety of the student-athlete and providing appropriate and effective exercise prescription that will maximize athletic performance safely and effectively while reducing the risk of injury. Part of the CEU program also requires certified individuals to maintain current CPR, First Aid and AED certification.
The CSCCa is committed to bridging the gap between exercise science, research and its practical application in the field of strength and conditioning, and to providing opportunities for professional development in educational settings and with coaches practicing in the field. Each year the CSCCa holds a national conference featuring outstanding speakers and activities with direct relevance to strength and conditioning coaching. The May 2013 CSCCa National Conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri, was attended by over 1,000 strength and conditioning coaches from across the country. See exclusive videos from the CSCCa annual conference featuring interviews with Master Strength and Conditioning Coaches here.
This article was written for the Sport Science Institute by Dr. Chuck Stiggins, CSCCa Executive Director. For more information about the CSCCa and its certification program, go to www.cscca.org.Last Updated: Aug 8, 2013