(800) 545-4772
Sign In
ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Strength & Conditioning: How to Earn the Highest Salary

5 Ways to Boost Your Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary

Reading Time: 4 minutes 1 second


DATE: 2024-02-21

In a 2022 survey of 1,000 professionals in the United States, more than half named pay as their most important factor when deciding whether to accept a new job (1). This highlights how important salary is to American workers—including those in coaching roles.

Whether you’re a new strength and conditioning coach and wondering how to earn the highest income possible or you’ve been in this role for years and simply want to make more, we share five ways to boost your salary potential. For individuals looking to get into strength and conditioning coaching, let’s go over what this fitness professional does.

The Strength and Conditioning Coach Role

A strength and conditioning coach helps athletes achieve peak performance. The coaching methods they use can vary. It all depends on the athlete's goal. Some coaches help increase the athlete’s strength, whereas others boost their speed. Methods can also be implemented to improve their endurance or power. 

Like other fitness coaches, a strength and conditioning coach also provides basic nutrition advice. You might teach the athlete how to make healthy food choices. Or you could talk to them about supplements and how they work. Sharing your knowledge with clients helps them do better in their sport. 

Strength and conditioning coaches work with a wide array of athletes. Some coach clients who are in high school. Others work with college-level athletes or those playing on professional teams. This coaching position is versatile, enabling you to choose your desired clientele.

While your coaching may be one-on-one, you’ll also likely work with other coaching staff in some capacity. This includes the player’s head coach, assistant coach, and athletic trainer. You may also interact with other professionals, depending on the sport. 

If you work with an athlete who plays football, for example, you may spend time with the offensive coordinator, offensive quality control coach, or defensive quality control coach. There are special teams staff too, like the special teams coordinator or assistant special teams coordinator. Even if you don’t have much to do with them, you’ll likely interact at some point.

There are many benefits of being a strength and conditioning coach. Your schedule is flexible, you get to network with other fitness professionals, and you get to help athletes excel within their sports. If you like to travel, some coaches enjoy this perk as well.

Average Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary

Salary.com reports that the average base salary for a strength and conditioning coach as of July 2023 is $47,855 per year. This represents a range of between $40,867 to $55,280 annually. (2)

This is slightly more than the median wage for a fitness trainer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people working in this type of position earn a median pay of $40,700 per year (3). A personal trainer and group fitness instructor would fall into this latter category.

Factors That Can Affect Your Coach Salary

It’s important to know that many factors can impact your actual conditioning coach salary. Realizing this upfront can help you set your expectations. 

Factors that may drive your coaching pay higher or lower include:

  • Your level of education. Some people get into coaching without any education. Others have a college degree. While a degree may not be required to provide strength and conditioning training, whether you have one can still impact your coach salary. According to BLS data, the average salary for someone aged 25 or older with a high school diploma is $853 per week. Yet, the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree is $1,432 weekly. Over a 20-year career, the person with a bachelor’s would earn over $602,000 more. (4)

  • Your level of experience. Experience can also impact your pay as a strength and conditioning coach. Have you been coaching athletes for years or are you new to this role? Coaches with a higher level of experience will typically earn more. They can charge higher rates because they have acquired more skills over time.

  • Your geographical location. Where you live and work matters as well. A coach in New York wouldn’t necessarily earn the same wage as one in South Carolina. Your pay as a strength and conditioning coach can also change depending on whether you are in an urban or rural area. Coaches working in large cities often earn more than those in smaller towns.

  • Your clientele. Do you work with high school athletes, or do you provide strength and conditioning workouts only to those in the pros? The higher the level of athlete that you work with, the higher your pay will usually be. A strength and conditioning coach working in the NFL earns roughly $500,000 to $600,000 per season (5).

  • Your position. Some coaches work for teams versus individual athletes. In this case, you could be the head strength and conditioning coach or the assistant strength and conditioning coach. Those with a ‘head’ or lead title generally make more.

  • Whether you have a certification. Whether you are certified can also affect your coach salary. Having your certification verifies your competence in this role. It adds authority to your ability to provide safe, effective strength and conditioning training programs. As a result, athletes and teams are willing to pay more for a coach with this credential. For some, a strength and conditioning certification may even be required. (This is generally in the section of the job post that talks about qualified applicants or job qualifications.)

5 Ways to Earn More as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist

If you enjoy coaching but want to earn more, you may be wondering what you can do. Here are five ways to boost your coach salary:

#1: Specialize in Coaching a Specific Type of Client

There are athletes in all types of sports. And they can all benefit from improving their fitness and performance. Specializing helps build your expertise for that specific demographic, and people will pay more for more specialized advice. (It’s like how a cardiac doctor earns more than a general practitioner.) 

Athletes play football, hockey, basketball, and soccer. But don’t be afraid to think outside the box as well. For instance, strength training is also important for runners. Aim to reach these prospects with targeted advertising. Let them know that you are the strength and conditioning coach for them.

#2: Go for the Pros

If you want to give your income a major boost, aim for the sky. Or, in this case, look for a strength and conditioning coach job working for professional or elite athletes.

Higher-level athletes often have bigger budgets to pay their coaching staff. In some cases, the team may pay the bill instead. Their budget is even higher, which is good for you.

#3: Network with Other Fitness Professionals

It’s often said that it’s not what you know but who you know that matters most. This is also true in coaching. 

Take the time to network with others in the fitness business. Ask personal training colleagues to let you know if they hear of any strength and conditioning coach job openings. The more people you have looking out for you, the easier it becomes to find a position that pays more.

#4: Get a Degree

If you want to be a six-figure strength and conditioning coach, you will probably need a degree. Elite athletes want (and need) the best coaching staff there is. This staff will generally have a higher level of education.

Degree fields that could help position you for top-paying strength and conditioning coach positions include those in:

  • physical education

  • exercise science

  • exercise physiology

  • kinesiology

#5: Get your Certification

Another way to boost your pay is to get your strength and conditioning coach certification. This certification provides validity to your knowledge and skills. It can also help set you apart from other coaches who lack this designation. 

Certification says that you took and passed a competency exam. It also suggests that you are serious about your role as a strength and conditioning coach. 

Increase Your Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary with Certification

One benefit of getting certified is that you can earn this credential in a matter of months, unlike getting a degree—which takes years. It’s cheaper as well.

To earn your certification, you first enroll in a strength and conditioning training program. Upon completion of the program, you take the certification exam. Pass the exam and you are a certified strength and conditioning coach.

ISSA offers Strength and Conditioning Certification. This course covers proven strength and conditioning techniques. You also learn the skills needed to be an effective coach.

Featured Course

ISSA | Strength and Conditioning Coach

ISSA's Strength and Conditioning course bridges the gap between science and application by giving students the "how" of helping athletes achieve any sport-related goal. With this course, not only will you learn the exercise science behind strength and conditioning, but exactly how to create the perfect training program for any athlete. Further, it offers one of the only accredited exams in the strength and conditioning space, making you a hot commodity to any employer.


  1. How American workers are combating inflation. Bluecrew Resources. (2022, September 27). https://www.bluecrewjobs.com/blog/inflation 

  2. Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary. Salary.com. (2023, August 27). https://www.salary.com/research/salary/recruiting/strength-and-conditioning-coach-salary 

  3. Fitness Trainers and Instructors : Occupational Outlook Handbook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, September 6). https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm 

  4. Education Pays, 2022 : Career Outlook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023a, May). https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2023/data-on-display/education-pays.htm 

  5. Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary NFL and College. The Football USA. (2023, July 9). https://thefootballusa.com/strength-conditioning-nfl 

Sign Up & Stay Connected

Receive $50 off your purchase today!