The majority of employment opportunities exist at the professional and collegiate levels. All professional and collegiate teams, from baseball to soccer to football, have strength and conditioning coaches on staff. Employers at this level expect candidates to have a master's degree in a health science, as well as work experience. Those holding a bachelor's degree and having little work experience may still find employment, but only at an assistant's level.
Coaches working with high school teams may be required to hold an education degree as some schools require their coaching staff to teach classes as well as condition athletes.
A growing number of employment opportunities can be found with private clients. Many intramural teams encourage their players to attend camps to work on speed, agility, and overall fitness. Such companies offer private sessions and group camps to help athletes from many different sport backgrounds improve their overall sports performance. They tailor their programs to meet the specific demands of each sport. Their clientele includes adults as well as children as young as 11 years old.
Participating in an internship program while in college is an excellent way to make contacts and land your first job in the field. Internships may be arranged by your college or offered by professional associations. The National Strength and Conditioning Association and Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association both offer internship programs to student members, as well as offer job listings at their Web sites.
Advancement for strength and conditioning coaches depends on the individual's position, skills, and work ethic. Success for coaches can also be quantified by the success of the individuals they coach (for example, a basketball player who is able to double his or her playing time and scoring because he or she is in better condition), the number of athletes they coach (advancing to coach college athletes in multiple sports), or the type of employer (moving from the collegiate level to employment as a coach for a Major League Baseball team). Some coaches may advance by becoming well known enough to write books or produce how-to videos. Others may become college professors.
Read Strength and Conditioning Journal, NSCA Coach, and the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (all available at https://www.nsca.com/education/journals) to learn more about the field.
Join the Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) to take advantage of networking resources, publications, and member-only benefits.
Talk with strength and conditioning coaches about their careers. Find out how they got started, and what they like most and least about their profession.
The CSCCa and NSCA offer mentorship programs for young coaches. They are a great way to develop your professional and personal skills and make valuable industry contacts.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings: http://cscca.org/careers and https://nsca.careerwebsite.com.