National Council on Strength & Fitness
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Setting Standards, Developing Professionals, and Serving the Public through Education and Certification

Rationale for Recertification

Rationale for Recertification

Certification boards have an obligation to continuously improve their programs in response to feedback from stakeholders, changes in the ways professionals practice, as well as growth in the fields through research and the use of new technologies. Keeping pace with these changes in a responsible and evidence-based manner is important and relevant to achieving safe and effective practices within the exercise professions. 5,9,10,11 Due to the constant evolvement and expansion in training practices and the technical nature of the associated professional competencies, it is very important that certified professionals continuously update their knowledge and related skills. In exercise professions, consistent with aligned professions such as athletic training, this need is broadened due to multiple role obligations. 1,2,7 The diversity and complexity in roles of the exercise professional exist across a continuum, from the supervision of exercise for individuals to coaching large collegiate and professional teams. 2,4,6,10 For this reason professionals need to stay abreast of changes within the profession and engage in life-long learning consistent with the demands of the field. New technologies and scientific discoveries consistently drive changes in the development of human performance and make the commitment to lifelong learning even more critical.


The amount of continued education necessary for re-certification, as well as breadth and scope of the knowledge, skills and abilities of professionals across a reporting cycle have been evaluated using evidence from similar and associated professions including athletic training and physical therapy.12,13 A key element identified in the literature is that both education and certifications have demonstrated impact on practice patterns as well as stakeholder outcomes. 3,7,8,9,10 For this reason, the NCSF Board for Certification has placed a requirement that continued education/professional development align with both the domains of the job task analysis (JTA) used for the certification program as well as ethic and practice standards required in highly professional environments. To recertify using continued education, certified professionals are required to complete 10 credits from approved categories of continued professional development. Credit allocation is applied based on the contact time, subject matter relevance, and manner of student engagement with documented assessment of learning outcomes being the most significantly weighted criteria. The minimum contact time required in a 24 month reporting cycle is 20 hours. All certified exercise professionals are required to submit recertification documents and proof of participation as well as demonstrate compliance with the required credits in Ethics and Professional Practices and current CPR Certification.


It is a certified professionals obligation to actively participate in the ongoing processes of continue development because it is beneficial to the individuals they serve, the profession, and the public interest. For this reason every certified professional is required to complete a recertification application and provide documentation of compliance with the requirements set by the NCSF Board for Certification for the certificants current reporting cycle. Any changes to re-certification requirements determined by the Board do not apply to certificants in an active recertification cycle until the following term.

  1. Brumels K1, Beach A. Professional role complexity and job satisfaction of collegiate certified athletic trainers. Athl Train. 2008 Jul-Aug;43(4):373-8.
  2. Duehring MD1, Ebben WP Profile of high school strength and conditioning coaches. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):538-47.
  3. Gallo GJ1, De Marco GM Jr. Self-assessment and modification of a division I strength and conditioning coach's instructional behavior. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jul;22(4):1228-35.
  4. Laskowski KD1, Ebben WP. Profile of Women Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Dec;30(12):3481-3493.
  5. Massey CD1, Vincent J. A job analysis of major college female strength and conditioning coaches. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Jul;27(7):2000-12.
  6. Massey CD1, Schwind JJ, Andrews DC, Maneval MW.An analysis of the job of strength and conditioning coach for football at the Division II level. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Dec;23(9):2493-9.
  7. Massey CD, Maneval MW, Phillips J, Vincent J, White G, Zoeller B.An analysis of teaching and coaching behaviors of elite strength and conditioning coaches.J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Aug;16(3):456-60.
  8. Radcliffe JN1, Comfort P, Fawcett T.The Perceived Psychological Responsibilities Of A Strength And Conditioning Coach. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Sep 22.
  9. Waryasz GR1, Daniels AH, Gil JA, Suric V, Eberson CP NCAA strength and conditioning coach demographics, current practice trends and common injuries of athletes during strength and conditioning sessions. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2016 Oct;56(10):1188-1197.
  10. Waryasz GR1, Daniels AH1, Gil JA1, Suric V2, Eberson CP1. Personal Trainer Demographics, Current Practice Trends and Common Trainee Injuries. Orthop Rev (Pavia). 2016 Oct 3;8(3):6600.
  11. Zenko Z1, Ekkekakis P. Knowledge of exercise prescription guidelines among certified exercise professionals. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2015 May;29(5):1422-32.
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