The Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam can be intimidating if you don’t know what you are getting into. Certainly, not everyone who takes it passes. So what is the pass rate for the CSCS test?
According to the NSCA, the pass rate for the CSCS certification exam is 63%. This is actually higher than the NSCA-CPT exam for personal trainers, which is just 58%.
The NSCA doesn’t specify if the 63% is for test-takers who pass both sections. You have to pass both sections to become certified. If you only pass 1 section, you can re-take the other.
It is somewhat surprising that the NSCA-CPT success rate is worse. Both certs have a lot of overlapping concepts, but the CSCS is obviously geared more towards strength and conditioning coaches who work with sports teams, while the NSCA-CPT is designed for personal trainers who generally work with more general population individuals.
The only major difference in the prerequisites of the 2 certs is that a bachelor’s degree, in any major, is required for the CSCS, while it is not required for the personal trainer cert.
The Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam has been around since June of 1985, after nearly 5 years of development by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
That first test had 168 individuals sit for it, of which 126 passed. That is a 75% pass rate. Obviously, many aspects of the certification test have changed since that time, but despite some rumors of very poor pass rates it is at 63% in total.
While a 63% pass rate may seem daunting if you aren’t confident in your abilities, it really isn’t that bad. Well over half of the people who sit for the exam pass it. It is good to keep the rates slightly lower to make it more valuable to those who achieve it. After all, if everybody passed, it wouldn’t be worth much. If you are looking to became certified, you can find more information here.