Ocean State University would like to hire a couple of graduate assistants to serve as strength and conditioning coaches. Do these graduate assistants have to be certified in order to work with student-athetes?
Yes with conditions. NCAA Educational Column- 7/31/14 (updated May 8, 2015)- Proposal No. 2013-18 Athletics Personnel — Conduct of Athletics Personnel — Strength and Conditioning Coaches — Nationally Recognized Certification (I)- provides further clarification on the legislation regarding strength and conditioning coaches’ certification.
Editor’s Note: Question No. 5 of this educational column was updated March 27, 2015, and May 8, 2015, to provide additional clarification in order to avoid membership confusion. The original posting date was kept for ease of reference and to maintain a date link with other Q&A transitioned educational columns for proposals adopted at the same time.
This document contains questions and answers to assist the NCAA membership in its understanding of Proposal No. 2013-18 (nationally recognized certification of strength and conditioning coaches).
Question No. 1: Is a sport coach (e.g., head or assistant basketball coach) required to maintain strength and conditioning coach certification?
Question No. 2: May an institution pay for the nationally accredited certification program?
Question No. 3: Must outside fitness instructors (e.g., yoga, Pilates, zumba, crossfit, etc.) receive strength and conditioning coach certification in order to conduct their fitness programs with student-athletes?
Question No. 4: May a strength and conditioning intern or graduate student conduct strength or conditioning programs for student-athletes without receiving strength and conditioning coach certification?
Answer: It is permissible for a strength and conditioning intern or graduate student who is not certified to perform the duties of a strength and conditioning coach, provided he or she is under the direct supervision of a certified strength and conditioning coach who is present during the performance of such duties.
Question No. 5: What constitutes an appropriate nationally accredited strength and conditioning certification program?
Answer: A strength and conditioning certification program that:
a*. Is accredited by a third party organization that accredits professional certification programs (e.g., the National Commission for Certifying Agencies);
b. Requires an undergraduate college degree;
c. Requires a continuing education component; and
d. Requires current CPR and AED certification.
Institutions should note that a strength and conditioning coach who conducts voluntary weight-training or conditioning activities with prospective student-athletes or enrolled student-athletes is required to maintain certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
*The certification program itself must be accredited. The accreditation status of the organization is not relevant to the legislation.