The United States Sports Academy is taking strides to provide a training program to prepare strength and conditioning professionals for the preeminent certification exam in their field.

The Academy is working to develop a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) approved preparation program to help strength and conditioning professionals as they take their Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam. The CSCS exam is the preeminent certification of its kind, but the average pass rate for it is 40 percent, with international candidates passing at significantly lower rates.

“We have learned that there is a need for a free standing training program to prepare strength and conditioning professionals for NSCA’s CSCS exam,” Academy vice president of academic affairs Dr. Tomi Wahlstrom said. “We decided to address this issue and develop an NSCA approved preparation program that we call Sports Strength and Conditioning Certification program (SSCC). The curriculum is just about ready and we are finalizing our memorandum of understanding with NSCA.”

The Academy’s SSCC program will be made up of 10 modules of instruction that are expected to significantly increase student passing rates for the exam, with a goal of 80 percent passing after completion of the program.

“The best part of this program is that even those students who do not have a bachelor’s degree can take these courses,” Wahlstrom said. “While they would not qualify to take the CSCS exam, they would still earn our SSCC credential.”

The Academy plans to roll out the program internationally in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, with negotiations already underway for the SSCC to begin in Thailand in 2020.

“We have already agreed to do a pilot program in Thailand in 2019,” Wahlstrom said. “We are also going to be offering the program domestically, and NSCA is very excited about the potential for this program and interested in expanding our role. We are planning to become a testing site for the CSCS as well as a site for NSCA’s CSCS exam prep clinic.”

Academy chair of sports exercise science Dr. Brian Wallace has been working to develop the 10-module program – a combination of lectures, quizzes, guided discussions, practice exams, reviews and practical, hands-on experience. The program will culminate with the student’s ability to pass the Academy’s SSCC Certification Exam. Continuing education units (CEUs) will also be available for those who need annual recertification credentials so they can stay at the forefront of their field.

“This is an extremely exciting initiative to be involved with and has significant potential to make a meaningful impact at the international, national and regional level for strength and conditioning education – one of the fastest growing disciplines in the life sciences,” Wallace said. “We will be working very closely with the NSCA in all aspects of this and other programs as we move forward.”