Strength and conditioning

Strengthen your athletic training or exercise science major so you'll be uniquely qualified for a career as a certified strength and conditioning coach for a professional or university sports team, health club or fitness center. Emphases of the strength and conditioning career concentration include:  

  • Strength and conditioning program design and implementation
  • Facility and personnel management
  • Exercise and performance testing
  • Coaching and leadership


Certified strength and conditioning specialists must have a B.A. (kinesiology degree preferred), CPR certification, and must pass a two-part examination administered by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Top trend: fitness professionals

Among the “Top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends” listed in a recent issue of American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal are these:

  • Educated and experienced fitness professionals (1)
  • Fitness programs for older adults (2)
  • Strength training (3)
  • Personal training (5)
  • Wellness coaching (20)

In fact, educated and experienced fitness professionals has been the top trend for 4 years in a row, leading to a growing market for college graduates with degrees focused on fitness.

A score for Red Raider athletics

Northwestern’s strength and conditioning program benefits Raider athletes too because a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) not only teaches courses but also serves Raider athletics as a dedicated strength and conditioning coach. Students in the program participate in practicums with Raider teams, gaining hands-on experience.