Strength and Conditioning

Develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to maximize athletic performance.

In the strength and conditioning concentration, you assess athletes’ physical function and develop and implement programs to enhance strength, power, speed and endurance to improve sports performance. You will understand how the body responds and adapts to exercise through foundational courses in exercise physiology, biomechanics, neuromuscular control, and sport and exercise psychology. This knowledge will be enhanced with an array of strength and conditioning-specific coursework. You graduate prepared to be certified as a strength and conditioning specialist and to pursue related career opportunities.

Our Educational Approach

At Ithaca College, we pride ourselves on providing you with the theoretical knowledge to guide decision making, the space to practice and become proficient at the skills required to work in the field as an applied practitioner, and the opportunity to execute these skills in a real-world environment. You become proficient at:

  • Fitness Testing - You learn to implement tests to identify athlete's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Program Design - You learn to develop programs that help athletes peak at key stages of their competitive calendars.

  • Coaching - You learn to perform, teach, and coach resistance and Olympic weightlifting exercises.

A student in a dark shirt and shorts is standing and observing an athlete on the floor doing exercises with a large green exercise ball.

Tyler Kishbaugh ('19) while on internship at the University of North Carolina.

A unique aspect of our program is the requirement to complete 17 – 23 credits of pure strength and conditioning content. This far exceeds the level of strength and conditioning exposure offered at exercise science programs at other institutions. For example:

  • Strength and Conditioning Foundations – You learn basic elements of fitness testing and program design. You learn to manipulate things like training intensity, volume and recovery to help athletes achieve their goals. You are introduced to basic resistance training techniques and will fine-tune your performance of these.

  • Advanced Strength and Conditioning – This course introduces you to more advanced concepts relating to fitness testing and program design. You learn to devise periodized training programs. Practical content exposes you to up-to-date technologies used to monitor athletes. You also discuss considerations for working with special populations (e.g. Paralympic athletes).

  • Applied Practice in Strength and Conditioning – You apply your skills while working with IC’s varsity athletes in the Strength and Conditioning Department.

  • Practicums in Strength and Conditioning – Provides you with the space to develop your practical skills in areas of fitness testing, teaching and coaching of resistance exercises and Olympic weightlifting techniques as well as field-based conditioning modes (e.g. speed, agility and endurance training).

  • Strength and Conditioning Internship – This semester-long internship, places you in a strength and conditioning department at one of our affiliated institutions. You work alongside other strength and conditioning professionals and apply your skills to help improve athlete's performance.

Student Feedback About Hands-On Opportunities

“The internship process went great … an awesome opportunity! The practical experience has been outstanding and helped me develop to become more well-rounded as a professional. Additionally, I received a job offer before graduation and I have accepted. This experience surpassed my expectations and I would like to thank you for helping me along the way!!”  

- Brian Gill (‘19)

Partnership with Ithaca College Athletics

A unique characteristic of the Ithaca College strength and conditioning concentration is our partnership with Ithaca College Athletics. You will work within their Strength and Conditioning Department where you will apply your skills to enhance the performance of their varsity athletes. You progress from observing to teaching and coaching basic and advanced (gym- and field-based) skills needed to train athletes at their highest levels.

Our Graduates

Our graduates typically work as strength and conditioning specialists and coaches at high schools, colleges, universities, within the military, and at private training facilities. They also work as personal trainers (campus recreation, corporate wellness, health clubs) or are entrepreneurial business owners. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA), average salaries for strength and conditioning professionals range from between $49,000 - $76,000.  Some of our students opt to enter graduate and professional schools. Examples of the pathways of our recent graduates include:

A student in a white shirt and black pants is training a group of female athletes in a gym. They are using hand-to-hand combat.

George Crouch ('19) and Jacob Lewinson ('19) while on internship at Cornell University.

Job Titles

  • Performance Specialist

  • Personal Trainer

  • Strength and Conditioning Assistant

  • Strength and Conditioning Coach

Graduate Schools

  • Appalachian State University

  • New York Chiropractic College

  • Sacred Heart University

  • Springfield College


Dave Diggin, Assistant Professor
321 Center for Health Sciences
Ithaca College
953 Danby Road
Ithaca, NY 14850