Become a Strength & Conditioning Coach

When you become a strength and conditioning coach, you will work with some of the world’s premier athletes, creating workout programmes designed to improve performance levels and physical fitness.

To help you gain a better understanding of this role and how you can pursue it, this article will detail:

If you want to create bespoke workout programmes for clients of all abilities enquire about OriGym’s Personal Training Diploma. Upon completion, you will be qualified to work with a wider demographic from gym goers to athletes.

Alternatively, you can download our free course prospectus to learn more about this course!

About a Strength and Conditioning Coaches’ Job

Strength and conditioning coach training

To understand how to become a strength and conditioning coach in the UK, you need to know what the role involves.

Strength and conditioning coaches primarily work with athletes, helping them to advance their physical fitness as they prepare to compete in events.

This form of training is extremely beneficial for athletes as it helps build their physical endurance and overall strength. In addition to this, it’s also been found to improve range of motion and significantly reduce the risk of injuries.

Female strength and conditioning coach training client

While working as a strength and conditioning coach, you’ll be responsible for fulfilling duties such as:

  • Writing tailored programmes for athletes
  • Creating periodised workout schedules
  • Carrying out team training and one-on-one sessions
  • Monitoring the physical and mental well-being of athletes
  • Liaising with medical staff to help with the rehabilitation of athletes

Keep in mind that the job description of a strength and conditioning coach and their corresponding responsibilities will differ depending on where you’re employed. 

Strength and conditioning coach duties

For example, some areas you could find employment include:

  • Gyms & Fitness Clubs
  • Schools, colleges and universities 
  • With professional sports teams

You may even decide you want to specialise in a particular sport such as football. This will help you to hone your niche and develop your training for those specific athletes.

Qualifications Required to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

Qualifications checklist to become a strength and conditioning coach

To become a strength and conditioning coach in the UK, you’ll need to undergo training and receive the correct qualifications.

There are two main pathways you can take when pursuing this career: either you can attend university and study for a higher education degree, or you can enrol on a vocational training course.

Let’s explore these options in more detail.

Complete a Vocational Course to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

Strength and conditioning vocational course

People have the misconception that completing a vocational course to become a strength and conditioning coach in the UK carries less value than holding a university degree.

However, these qualifications are just as valuable in the eyes of employers and have significantly grown in popularity among aspiring professionals. 

This is because vocational training courses are beneficial if you’re a student:

  • Operating on a budget – Most of these qualifications cost a fraction of what it would cost to study for one year at university. In addition to this, they can also be paid for upfront or in instalments to suit your financial needs. 
  • Wanting to qualify quickly – Many aspiring professionals are put off by the thought of studying for 3 or more years. With vocational training, you can qualify in a matter of weeks!
  • Looking to be in demand with employers – Employers will often list vocational training courses among their desired attributes of a candidate, some may even list variations rather than one specific certification.

Become a strength and conditioning coach with qualifications

To prepare you for a career as an S&C coach, you can earn a Personal Trainer Diploma. This course can be completed in as little as 4 weeks, and combines both:

With this qualification, you will be able to train large groups as well as work with clients on a one-to-one basis, creating bespoke exercise programmes that help them meet their unique goals.

When hiring for Strength and Condition coach roles, employers will typically ask candidates to hold a minimum of a Level 3 Personal Training qualification. This can be seen in the example below from T4 Physio Clinic: 

Become a strength and conditioning coach T4 Physio

For reference, CIMSPA (The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) is an accrediting body that endorses courses which meet the national standards. 

You should therefore choose a provider that has received CIMSPA endorsement, otherwise employers may not consider you for the position, believing your credentials to be invalid.  

Will I Need a University Degree to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

Strength and conditioning university degree

There are a select number of Universities across the UK that offer both BSc and Masters degrees in Strength and Conditioning Coaching and similar topics. But the question is, are these qualifications a necessity to work as an S&C coach?

The answer is no, you don’t need a higher education degree to become a strength and conditioning coach. 

Employers will still consider applicants who have completed these courses, but by no means is it a ‘necessity’. As stated in the section above, a vast amount of employers will also consider applicants who have completed a Level 3 Personal Trainer course.

Become a strength and conditioning coach with Level 3

The qualities of a desired candidate will always be made evident in a job application, so be sure to read this thoroughly to determine whether a degree or a vocational training qualification is needed. 

When deciding whether vocational training or higher education is right for you, there are a number of things to consider. First and foremost is the cost of university qualifications, we have listed an example price of annual fees for both UK and International students below: 

course prices at university to become a strength and conditioning coach

After completing this undergraduate course, you could be left with a minimum of £27,250 in debt! Interest rates could also inflate this number, meaning you’ll be paying back even more over time.

On top of this, you also need to consider the time commitment of studying in higher education. The average course takes 3 years to complete, which is a huge commitment to make, compared to vocational training which is entirely self-paced.

What Are Strength and Conditioning Coach Apprenticeships?

Strength and conditioning coach apprenticeships

Following your initial training, you will undoubtedly be eager to gain some workplace experience. Apprenticeships/Internships provide you with a great opportunity to get your foot in the door within this highly competitive field. 

Application processes may differ from one apprenticeship programme to the next, with each programme provider having their own unique requirements!

Some employers may ask you to submit a CV and cover letter detailing why you’re suited for the role. However, others may have a premade questionnaire you need to fill out in order for the employer to assess your suitability.

Strength and conditioning coach employment applicant questionnaire

If your application is successful, you will be able to work alongside strength and conditioning coaches, assisting in their day-to-day responsibilities. This helps you to develop specialist knowledge while also honing your practical coaching skills. 

During these positions, you will get to experience the day-to-day responsibilities of a strength and conditioning coach, working alongside industry professionals who are already employed in this capacity.

An example of one of these internship programmes can be found below from DoTraining, which lists the responsibilities a chosen candidate will have to take upon successful application: 

Become a strength and conditioning coach - do training

This is just one example of an internship programme currently running in the UK! But if you want to work with a specific athlete or even if you have a coach you admire and wish to train under, it’s always worth conducting your own research to find the right program for your needs! 

Do I Need to Gain UK Strength and Conditioning Association Accreditation to Find Employment?

Employment as a strength and conditioning coach

The UK Strength & Conditioning Association (UKSCA) is a professional body that aims to regulate strength and conditioning practitioners in the UK. In recent years, there have been a lot of misconceptions regarding this organisation and whether it’s necessary to receive accreditation from them.

Much like a university degree, while this accreditation is recognised by some employers, it’s not a necessity to become a strength and conditioning coach. 

For example, the job advertisement below highlights that some employers will consider this additional accreditation as a ‘desirable’ quality, rather than a necessity:

How to become strength and conditioning coach with UKSCA accreditation - job ad

Therefore we can confidently say that this accreditation is not a necessity in order to become a strength and conditioning coach. You can still apply for jobs and operate in the position without undergoing this process. 

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To find out more about how to become a strength and conditioning coach and succeed in the industry, check out these articles below:

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How Much Do Strength and Conditioning Coaches Earn?

As you can see below, Payscale states a Strength & Conditioning Coach can earn anywhere between £18,000 – £46,000 with an average of £25,000:

Strength and conditioning coach salary

However, these figures can vary depending on factors such as your location. For example, as a result of the higher cost of living in London, salaries will be higher here than elsewhere in the country. 

As you can see from this figure from Glassdoor below, the average salary of a Strength & Conditioning Coach in London is £33,000:

Strength & conditioning salary in london

These salaries are reflective of the area so while it appears on the surface that Strength & Conditioning Coaches in London are paid a higher salary, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have more income. 

Another factor influencing salary is who you work with. Roles which involve training athletes and serious sports professionals will have higher salaries than working in a regular gym.

For example, this post from Athletic Performance Academy is advertising for a Strength & Conditioning Coach at Bromley Tennis Centre with a salary starting at £30,000 per year:

Become a strength and conditioning coach with APA

When compared with a similar role at a general gym, you can see how much more lucrative this area of employment is:

Strength and conditioning coach salary

However, applying for roles such as this is the ideal way to gain experience so you can progress to more advanced positions training athletes.

To learn more about your earning potential, check out our in-depth article on ‘the average salary of a strength and conditioning coach’ here.

Where You Can Work as a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

Training clients when you become a strength and conditioning coach

As stated in the introduction of this article, you can become a strength & conditioning coach by finding employment at one of the following institutions:

  • Professional sports teams and athletes 
  • Gyms & Fitness Clubs
  • Schools, colleges and universities 
  • Your own strength and conditioning business

Let’s take a look at some of the responsibilities you’ll be required to carry out in each of these institutions and how much you could earn while employed in this capacity.

#1 – Professional Sports Teams & Athletes

Become a strength and conditioning coach for sports teams

If you’re researching ‘how to become a strength and conditioning coach’ it’s likely you desire to work with professional athletes at an elite level.

It’s understandable why this role is so attractive to many aspiring professionals. As an S&C coach at this level, you could earn between £35,000 – £40,000 or more per year, a figure which is highlighted below from British Swimming:

Job advert to become a strength and conditioning coach for British para swimmers

The role would require you to develop strength and conditioning programmes for para-swimmers. These programmes will then be used to strengthen, adjust, and taper their physical performances in preparation for competitions.

If you’re looking for other opportunities to work for professional teams, there are chances to work as an S&C coach for football, cricket, and rugby teams around the world.

Just be aware, due to the competitive nature of these roles the employer will likely prioritise applicants with more experience. So if you’re newly qualified, this may not be a role you can just jump into.

#2 – Gyms & Fitness Clubs

Become a strength and conditioning coach at a gym

Strength and conditioning coaches have become a popular feature of gyms and fitness centres. So much so, that these positions are considered the perfect entry point for newly qualified individuals.

You can expect to carry out a range of tasks, such as: 

  • Creating and delivering valuable training sessions
  • Maintaining and cleaning the gym space
  • Directing gym members to use equipment safely
  • Carry out gym inductions
  • Teach group sessions with relevant qualifications

This position can also offer a great starting salary. For example, the ad below for Beyond in Winchester shows the successful candidate will start earning at least £20,000 per year:

strength & conditioning/personal trainer job advert

If you’re new to the industry, working in a gym is a great way to gain experience in a fitness environment alongside like-minded individuals. This can go a long way to boosting your confidence, which will be needed when training athletes. 

#3 – Schools, Colleges, & Universities

Become a strength and conditioning coach at school

If you want to inspire the next generation of professional athletes, why not become a strength and conditioning coach within the education sector?

Here you can train students and help them improve their physical performance ahead of school competitions. 

Other responsibilities may include:

  • Planning and delivering individual workout programmes
  • Supervising the class or individual workouts for safety purposes
  • Liaising with students, other teachers, and parents 

For a better insight into what responsibilities are associated with this role, check out this advertisement for an S&C coach at Scarisbrick Hall School: 

scarisbrick high school strength and conditioning job advert

In this role, you could expect to earn between £23,000 – £25,550 as you train students who are passionate about pursuing sports in their adult lives. 

#4 – Owning Your Strength & Conditioning Business

Become a strength and conditioning coach with your own business

After years of working as a contracted strength and conditioning coach, you may decide it’s time to run your own business.

In this position, your earning potential is limitless and uncapped, influenced by factors such as the prices you set and the number of clients you take on. 

How to become a strength and conditioning coach with clients

Since you’ll become your own boss, you’ll need to put a lot of hard work to make your business a success, performing tasks such as: 

  • Securing clients
  • Marketing your business
  • Building brand awareness
  • Managing finances

Having previous experience in a contracted role will benefit you here. Once you have a loyal client base, you will be able to launch your own business with the reassurance that many of them will follow you.

Do You Need Insurance to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

Insurance required to become a strength and conditioning coach

Before you officially become a strength and conditioning coach, you’ll need to ensure you’re covered with the correct insurance.

While there are many insurance providers to choose from, you’ll specifically want to choose a provider who includes the following policies in their coverage:

  • Public Liability Insurance – This offers protection in the event clients claim any injuries or damage they’ve suffered are due to workouts you’ve set.
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance – This aims to protect you from instances where clients make claims that they were offered poor advice or an unprofessional service.

Certain employers may offer insurance as part of your contract, but this isn’t always guaranteed so it’s best to purchase this for yourself.

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Still want to learn more, give these articles a read:

How You Can Develop Your Business as a Strength and Conditioning Coach?

After you’ve become a strength and conditioning coach you can still progress your career by offering additional services that complement your existing practice.

In doing so, you can attract a new demographic of clients and increase your income! Here are some qualifications that can help you achieve these goals. 

#1 – Become a Personal Trainer

Become a strength & conditioning coach and personal trainer

Achieving a Level 3 Personal Trainer Diploma can help enhance your services as a strength and conditioning coach.

While on this course, you will learn how to plan and deliver bespoke training programmes designed to meet your client’s specific needs and goals. 

This can help you expand your business as you will be able to work with clients who have broader fitness goals, such as losing weight. You won’t be confined to specifically working with athletes looking to improve their performance. 

It can also increase your employment prospects with employers who are looking for a personal trainer and strength and conditioning such as The Fitness Boxx in Crewe:

personal trainer and strength and conditioning job advert

So, if you’re ready to learn a new set of skills to build on your knowledge as a strength and conditioning coach, be sure to complete a Personal Training Diploma to expand your business. 

#2 – Offer Nutritionist Services

Become a strength & conditioning coach and nutritionist

Through the completion of OriGym’s Sports Nutrition Courses, you can develop additional expertise in a field that complements your existing S&C services.

Once obtained, you will be able to offer nutrition advice and recommend meal plans that suit a client’s specific goals of improving their performance. This can also take into account what they should eat during basic training days, as well as before and after a competition. 

Offering this service will increase your overall value as a strength and conditioning coach, meaning you will be able to charge more for your services. 

#3 – Sports Massage Therapist

client being massaged by sports massage therapist

Becoming a Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy Course is a great rehabilitative skill to combine with strength and conditioning!

Once qualified, you will be able to offer sports massage treatments that reduce the risk of injury in athletes and even help to reduce their rehabilitation time. In addition to this, knowing what causes these injuries in the first place can improve your training programmes.

On top of this, you will be able to provide clients with treatments following their training sessions or competitions that have been tailored to improve their overall performance.

Before You Go!

Now you know how to become a strength and conditioning coach, you’ll be able to pursue a rewarding career training athletes for future competitions. 

Enquire about OriGym’s Level 3 PT Diploma and begin deepening your knowledge and developing the skills required to find success in this role.

Alternatively, you can download our FREE prospectus for more info about this and all other OriGym courses!

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About the Author: Liam Donohoe

liam donohoe origym authour
Liam graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing. He has also co-written a short film that has been featured in several film festivals. In October 2023, he ran and completed his first half marathon and for 2024, he's now training to complete his first metric marathon. In his spare time, Liam likes to teach himself German, read books, lift weights and listen to metal music that only passionate fans of the genre will understand.

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