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NSCA-CPT or CSCS?!?!!! HELP!!!!!!!

by Lauren
(Madison, WI)

I am an aspiring personal trainer. I have a degree in kinesiology and I don't know which to choose. CSCS, while it sounds the most prestigious, also sounds the most difficult. And it also sounds very specific in regards to mainly learning to working with high level athletes. The NSCA also seems to be a highly regarded title but more broad in the types of people you would work with.

1) Does a trainer with the CSCS cert also have enough knowledge to work with the general population of sedentary adults? (those ppl who typically need a trainer?) Or do you have to mainly focus your skills working with athletes? This population seems more difficult to get jobs...

2) Will it sounds a little easier to obtain the NSCA, would it be silly to NOT go for the CSCS since I have already gone the lengths to get a BS degree? Would it be taking a step down per se to just go for the NSCA since you just need to have completed HS?

**NOTE: I am also eventually pursuing a physical therapy degree. I am considering how these two could work together...on the one hand the NSCA might be good because it would complement my physical therapy knowledge and I could incorporate it in that setting. (especially with an elderly population if that is where I end up...) However, the CSCS cert would add variety to my skill set. (I also am very interested in sports and have coached gymnastics for ~7 years) OR, am I thinking about this way too much and either certification would look equally as good to an employer because you obtain similar knowledge....
ANY ADVISE WOULD BE FANTASTIC :)

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You need both
by: Anonymous

If you want to do personal training, you do need a personal training certification. Many gyms will not hire someone with the CSCS as a personal trainer, unless you can sell yourself as one for recreational athletes, etc. If you want to work with primarily athletes, then the CSCS is best. If I had a job in an athletic department, I would definitely earn the CSCS. However, if I needed to be able to eat and pay bills fast, I'd first earn the CPT and then later look at the CSCS, if necessary. I think the CPT is more versatile. I work with special populations, including recreational athletes--not professional ones. I also used a lot of the CSCS study materials to pass the CPT on the first try. Knowing the physiology and kinesiology makes me a much better personal trainer. I had to tell a client the other day, who is learning to jog, that she first must reach the two minute mark just make the exercise aerobic, to activate the aerobic pathway and to get out of the oxygen deficit. I can explain why that's the case.

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Can I work in a gym as a personal trainer with a CSCS?

I am currently a certified athletic trainer and many of my colleagues have their CSCS. Is this a recommended certification if I would like to work as a personal trainer at a gym?

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Good Question
by: Obasi

I was wondering the same thing.

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Call one and ask
by: Kathryn

I suggest rather than wondering, call all the health and fitness facilities in your area and ask them what they require. Also call a fitness gym at a hospital and ask what they require also. IMHO.

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CSCS
by: Anonymous

Yes! The CSCS is a better certification than any of the PT ones you will find out there. Look at what certs the professionals have the write the textbooks. More than likely most will have their CSCS.

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It depends
by: Dan M, CSCS

You don't need the CSCS to work as a PT in a gym. Most of the high-end gyms require PT certs from either the ACSM, NSCA, or NASM.

The CSCS prepares you to train athletes and is required by most Division 1 colleges

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NSCA CSCS Degree Requirement

by Chris

Do I have to have a degree related to fitness in order to enroll in the CSCS program? If not, then what is the need to have a degree at all?

Please advise.

Thank you

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Why have a degree? Here is why.
by: Scott Williams, CSCS

Yours is a legitimate question, and as a Fitness Director for a large facility, I hear it often. Simply put, the information gleaned from a college degree FAR surpasses that which you will be tested on by even the most rigorous certifications. The information I refer to includes college courses in the fields of biomechanics, exercise physiology, anatomy, tests and measurements - not to mention the courses that are the foundations for the above, such as general physiology, physics, statistics, etc.

Let me put it this way. As a Director in charge of a staff, and aware of legal and liability issues, I would (in theory) hire a trainer with a degree and no certification over one with a certification and no degree. Now, this is never an issue, since I require both before I even consider a candidate.

Lastly, and most importantly, with 8+ years of experience in this field, I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that, without a degree, a trainer will not have the tools necessary to handle many situations. I've seen a great many trainers throw up their hands and say, "We didn't cover anything like this in certification prep", when a basic knowledge of biomechanics or ex. phys. would have allowed the trainer to reason their way through the problem.

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I disagree
by: Anonymous

you are right in theory, go hire someone with a degree but no cert, its like asking someone the time and then they tell you how to make a clock. nice to know but I still dont know what time it is.

The best way to screen potential employees is with practical case studies with timed, observed prep time for their program. and when they say 'then I would do this' ask why over and over again till you realize the end of their knowledge base.

I ask potential employees what happens when someone asks them a question they dont know the answer to and then keep asking questions until it happens

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back on track
by: Anonymous

the original question was if you are going to get certified with a cscs do you need a fitness related degree before taking certification or not.

Off topic: I know a guy who is a director of a facility and a staff member who is certified and the guy has more fitness knowledge then anyone in the facility. Both of them are smart but the certified guy is smarter, so, you make the call.

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Please
by: Anonymous

Will someone answer the question?

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Here's your answer
by: Anonymous

No you do not need a degree related to fitness in order to get a CSCS. I know of a coach here at Florida Gulf Coast University who holds a business degree, but also obtained his CSCS.

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NY
by: J E Cres

All states have different rules, no? I'm in NY with a BA in Business Admin. NY is the is a stringent state when it comes to licensing and certs....do you think we should just call NsCa directly to get a positive answer?

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CSCS or CPT

I am trying to decide which cert to obtain and am wondering if I should go for the NSCA CSCS or CPT? I do have a BA, but it's in an unrelated field and my knowledge of physical fitness and training is limited to what I've picked up training, running, and doing sports the past few years.

That said I am passionate about fitness and want to turn it into a career. I have the time and I believe the stamina to study for the CSCS, but to those who've been there and tested should I start with the CPT first and then work up to the other given my limited experience?

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CPT first...
by: Will

Start with the CPT first even though the CSCS is more valued! Honestly, I find the material in the CSCS quite daunting even after completing my NASM CPT, CES, and PES.

My CSCS exam is on Tuesday so wich me luck!!

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CSCS
by: Bruce

I passed the CSCS in 1990. Having a bachelors degree in something unrelated to exercise will not qualify you for the CSCS. The NSCA requires you to have your college or university send sealed transcripts of all of your course work. They review it and if it does not have the anatomy and physilogy, exercise physilogy, kinesiology and other related courses in it you will not qualify. This is why the NSCA offers the CPT certification.

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Inaccurate Info
by: Anonymous

Actually you still can take the CSCS if you have a bachelors in any field. They will be changing that in 2012 though so if you want to take it I suggest you do it soon.

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CSCS Is Outstanding But Perhaps Misunderstood
by: Georgert

I passed the CSCS exam two years ago. I have found it to be of benefit in what I do primarily, which is to coach young adults in a club sport environment. This past year I started knocking on doors to see if I could get a job as a personal trainer. I know how difficult and comprehensive the exam was and seriously doubt whether there are many other programs as demanding to accomplish. Nevertheless the CSCS is primarily aimed at trainers who work with athletes or athletic teams. I got the impression that many gym managers with whom I spoke did not understand the meaning of that certification when they were looking for personal trainers or group fitness instructors. It seemed they were looking for someone with, say, an ACE certification. I now have a PT job at a respected club on the basis of my CSCS, but the initial forays into the club world was not only disappointing but frustrating because I would stake my cert against any other, but the club managers just did not seem to get it.

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PT acronym?
by: Anonymous

When you say PT, do you mean Physical Therapist or Personal Trainer at the club you are working at now?

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CSCS vs CPT (Looking for CSCS Exam Materials to buy)
by: ACE Fitness Tutor on Facebook

Thanks for the insights on your experience. I have been certified with ACE since 2003 (PT, LWMC, Kickboxing) and tutored thousands of ACE exam applicants to excel.

Now I am considering the CSCS exam to complete to continue training athletes. I would also like to create a study guide on that giant textbook I love "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning". In my experience, universities and sports teams clearly understand the CSCS designation.

Knowledgeable trainers would also know the distinction. However, I agree that less knowledgeable trainers and managers may not appreciate the difficulty of completing the CSCS and would prefer a cert called PT.



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CSCS Studying Compared to NSCA-CPT

by Isaac Way
(Honolulu)

I passed the NSCA-CPT last May on my first try. I am now looking to take the CSCS. I just ordered the main book and the Exercise technique manual for a good deal on half.com

I have a BA in International Studies. So not much education in this field other than my NSCA-CPT.

I studied for the CPT by reading the book twice and marking and post-it noting a good deal. I bought the 3 practice exams and reviewed them all, 3-4 times, until I knew why the correct answers were correct. I finished by reviewing my notes in the book one more time and ordering the exam review package offered by this site.

How much harder is the CSCS going to be? From what I have read, it sounds like quite the deal.

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difficulty with college course work

Is the NSCA certification the right program for someone who seems to know all the right things about fitness programs, particularly strength training, but has difficulty with the science classes in college that are required to get a college degree in exercise science?

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Not a problem
by: George

Science courses in college use a lot of guided discovery to foster curiosity and analysis. i.e., determining molecular concentrations from canned experiments, or graphing accelerations using telemetry, etc. While there is a lot of scientific information you will need to know to pass the CSCS exam, it is information that is simply stated in the textbook. Concepts that seem a bit murky you can look up online for clarification. But basically, it's a matter of memorizing a lot of detail, and not so much a requirement that you are able to decipher or analyze raw data. Hope that helps.

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Have a 4 yr degree- how much time needed to study?

by Renee
(North Carolina)

I have a 4 yr degree in exercise and sports science and currently working as a physical therapist. I believe I want to start with the CPT and transition into the CSCS certification. My questions are:

1)Do you think 3 months would be enough time to be successful in understanding the content and successfully passing the exam? If not, are there any other certification I should consider starting with and later transitioning into NSCA?

2)what study materials are the best to concentrate on? Does anyone have any materials they would like to sale or even donate?

3) Is there anyone with a similar career path as mine (health field) that has any advice?









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You'll Do Well
by: George

With a degree in physiology and kinesiology, you're off to a great start, but you will need to read the textbook from cover to cover. The questions on the exam can be so nuanced, that only be remembering what was stated in the text will you be able to nail the question.

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Don't stress about studying
by: Anonymous

It depends. Some people need to study for months, others can just go in and take the test. I'd recommend getting NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training. Its a big fat textbook that goes over everything you need to know. Get it, skim it, and review the sections you don't have down pat. A practice exam can't hurt either.

Basically if you know your material you'll pass it with flying colors. And if you review the book you'll know your material. So get the book, review it, and study as much as you need to.

If you have a degree in an appropriate field you should have learned most of the material in class. So assuming you didn't sleep in class you won't have to pull any all nighters or anything.

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