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Strength & Conditioning: How to Earn the Highest Salary
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So you want to help athletes improve by becoming a strength and conditioning specialist. But how much can you expect to make in this exciting field?
Knowing the average strength and conditioning coach salary can help you decide whether this field is for you. It will also help you plan how to earn the best possible salary.
Salary Ranges for Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists
When considering the strength coach field, it’s important to know salary ranges for strength and conditioning specialist jobs. Salaries can vary widely.
Entry-Level Salaries for Strength and Conditioning Specialists
For new graduates or those changing career paths, $38,487 is a typical entry-level salary for strength and conditioning specialists.
Of course, this varies based on where you live. A higher cost-of-living state like California typically pays an entry-level salary of $42,990. But a lower cost-of-living state like Kentucky starts at about $36,000.
Average Salaries for Strength and Conditioning Specialists
On average, a strength and conditioning coach makes $45,062 a year. But again, this can vary a lot based on where you live.
To use the California–Kentucky example again, strength and conditioning specialists in California make $50,335 on average. Those in Kentucky make an average of $42,404.
Highest-Paying Strength and Conditioning Specialist Jobs
Nationwide, strength and conditioning specialists in the highest percentile of the salary range for this position earn about $71,500.
The highest possible pay for a head strength and conditioning coach tops out at about $83,000. These coaches usually work for a college or athletic team. A coach lucky enough to work with a pro sports league could make up to $600,000.
Factors That Affect the Salary for a Strength and Conditioning Specialist
The average salary for strength and conditioning specialists isn’t too high as salaries go. But you may be able to earn a much higher figure. It depends on a few factors. These include your location, the clients you serve, and the education and certification you choose to pursue.
How Your Location May Affect Your Salary
As the strength and conditioning specialist salary ranges mentioned show, your location is one of the biggest factors affecting your salary as a strength and conditioning specialist.
A higher cost-of-living area like California or New York typically yields a higher salary. A lower cost-of-living area like Kentucky or Alabama usually means a lower salary.
How Your Clientele May Affect Your Salary
Your clientele makes a huge difference in your potential salary as a strength and conditioning coach.
Coaches working with high school students will likely earn a low or average salary (around $40–50,000 a year).
However, if you’re a personal trainer for a professional sports league like the NFL, you can expect a salary in the low- to mid-six figures. A top salary could be $500,000 or more.
Additional Education and Certification to Achieve a Higher Salary
To work with a high school program or personal training clients, coaches need a strength and conditioning certification.
However, those who want to earn a higher salary by working with college or professional teams should pursue a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
And coaches who want to advance should consider a graduate degree. This is becoming a sought-after qualification as people move up in the strength and conditioning industry.
Demand for Strength and Conditioning Specialists
If you’re thinking about pursuing a job as a strength and conditioning coach, it’s important to consider current and future demand for the job. Fortunately for those who want to be strength and conditioning specialists, the job outlook in this field is very strong.
Areas That Need Strength and Conditioning Specialists
The job outlook for strength and conditioning specialists is good across the US.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, coaching, personal trainer, and fitness trainer jobs should grow 12 percent through 2029. This includes strength and conditioning coaching. This rate of growth is much faster than average.
Demographics That Need Strength and Conditioning Specialists
High school and college sports teams have a growing need for strength and conditioning specialists.
Every professional sports team—which usually includes athletes in their twenties—also needs a strength and conditioning coach to improve team performance.
In addition, professional athletes sometimes want to hire a strength and conditioning coach as a personal trainer.
How to Get the Highest Salary as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist
If you’re interested in becoming a strength and conditioning specialist or fitness trainer, there’s a lot of room to dream big. You can earn top dollar if you make the right career moves!
How to Earn the Highest Possible Salary as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Professional sports leagues pay the highest salaries for strength and conditioning specialists.
To get such a job, you should earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in exercise science. You should also gain a high-level certification.
Good entry-level jobs for professional sports-level strength and conditioning specialists include college-level coaching or private training positions.
How Long It Takes to Advance as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Advancing in the strength and conditioning field means taking the time to lay the groundwork you need at the beginning.
Top strength and conditioning specialists typically earn a four-year degree in exercise science. They then pursue a one- to three-year master’s degree in a related field.
They must also gain experience in the field during or after their education. This could be through volunteering, interning, or working part-time.
Strength and conditioning specialists must typically then work in lower-level positions for a few years before making it to the level they want.
Is Strength and Conditioning Coaching for You?
Now that you know all about strength and conditioning specialist salary ranges, you’re closer to making a decision about your career path. Strength and conditioning coaching is an exciting and rewarding career, no matter your niche within the field.
Ready to earn your strength and conditioning certification? Get started with ISSA’s Strength and Conditioning certification course today. This course will prepare you to help athletes achieve their optimal performance.
Strength and Conditioning
Sports are big business-profitable for athletes and individuals who prepare athletes for competition. Professional and amateur athletes at all levels -- from grade-school club teams to the National Football League -- need the assistance of expert personal trainers to excel at their sports.