Within the field of health and performance-based professionals, there are certified strength & conditioning specialists (CSCS), registered dietitians (RD), licensed physical therapists (PT), licensed athletic trainers (LAT), and mental health/cognitive performance practitioners. Among these professionals, there is some educational overlap that allows them to communicate or coordinate, but it is important to understand what is in or outside their specific scope of practice. With this in mind, they operate as a team to utilize a colleague’s expertise for an individual’s needs rather than operating outside of their scope.
It would be frowned upon or, in some cases illegal, for a CSCS to develop in-depth nutrition plans or to diagnose an injury without the appropriate licensure. Similarly, it would be outside the scope of an RD or PT to provide a strength and conditioning program to their clients. That being said, CSCSs can provide basic, general guidelines for nutrition as well as aid in rehabilitation or injury prevention.
Finding someone with the proper licensing or expertise can be a task, in and of itself. When seeking a dietician for advice, it is key to find a registered dietitian. This ensures the RD has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (most have a master’s) in a dietetics-related field, has completed a lengthy rotation in various settings, and has passed the registered dietitian licensure. Keep in mind that a nutritionist is not the same as an RD.
When searching for a strength and conditioning coach or personal trainer, keep in mind, a simple CPT next to one’s name is not enough. Most, if not all, personal training certifications can be completed online with little to no formal educational background required. These certifications are very broad and tend to have a high pass rate due to their ease. The CSCS exam through the National Strength & Conditioning Association or the Strength & Conditioning Coach Certification through the CSCCa are the gold standard. These ensure that a certified strength & conditioning specialist, or CSCS, has the minimum of a bachelor’s degree (most have a master’s) in an exercise science or kinesiology-related field, have completed a 640-hour internship under approved mentors, and have successfully defended a science-based program.
Here at SLC Strength & Conditioning, we know our range of expertise which is why we maintain relationships with vetted health professionals who we trust. This enables us to refer our members with their best interest in mind.