The accelerated graduate-level Strength and Performance Coaching (SPC) Certificate program at Hastings College is designed for coaches, health care professionals or physical educators who want to advance their knowledge and skills to implement high-quality strength and conditioning programs. 

Program Overview

This Hastings College Strength and Performance Coaching Certificate program helps you gain the skills necessary to create and execute strength and conditioning programs for athletes or general health improvement.

You’ll gain the necessary skills and materials to design, implement, modify and precisely prescribe training programs. These evidence-informed programs will give your team or client the ability to meet their goals and reach new feats that seemed impossible or unrealistic.

As you work through the SPC Certificate program, you’ll learn through practical application from faculty who’ll support you and encourage you as you advance and grow your expertise.

In addition to improving your understanding of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and designing effective programs, you’ll apply these concepts with your current team or with prospective clientele (i.e. private training, youth, master’s athletes, etc). The outcome of the SPC program is to master the scientific principles of strength and conditioning while connecting and applying these concepts to the overarching principles of training and coaching.

Nationally Recognized Program

erp 653 logo smallThe National Strength and Conditioning Association approved Hastings College for its Education Recognition Program. 

Hastings College is currently the only GPAC school in Nebraska with this recognition and one of only three other Nebraska institutions that have received acceptance into the Education Recognition Program.

Academic Components

This Strength and Performance Coaching Certificate includes four courses that are online and one course that’s partially online and partially in residence at Hastings College.

Each course is 7 weeks long and follows the Hastings College academic calendar.

All courses are taught by faculty who hold advanced degrees within the field of Exercise Science (Ph.D. and masters), multiple certifications (CSCS, USA-W, TSAC-F, etc), and who have hundreds of hours coaching clients of all backgrounds. The pace and format of the courses were created for working professionals and will provide you the opportunity to apply your learning at your current place of employment.

Program Outcomes

  • Develop an appropriate vocabulary to describe and understand phenomena related to kinesiology.
  • Understand and apply anatomical, biomechanical, physiological, psychological and coaching principles and theories related to skillful movement, physical activity and general health.
  • Critically evaluate and analyze the scientific body of literature surrounding strength and conditioning.
  • Successfully complete all components of a needs analysis prior to designing a performance program.
  • Design and implement an evidence-informed strength and conditioning program.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in coaching primary barbell lifts (squat, press, bench press, deadlift, and clean) as well as assistance exercises.

Admission Requirements and Cost

Admission to the Hastings College SPC program requires:

  1. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree or permission of the Program Director.
  2. Sufficient technological skills to participate regularly and effectively in an online learning management system, such as Canvas, Google Meet and/or Zoom. Students must be competent with Microsoft Office software (PowerPoint, Word, Excel, etc).
  3. A completed application, including a letter stating your goals for earning the certificate and your resume. A non-refundable deposit of $100 is required after acceptance into the program. 

The cost of the full program is $250 per credit hour — or $5,000 total, as each course is four credits. Payment plans and billing are by semester (spring, summer, fall). 


Contact Sarah Nottage-Tacey at

Program Curriculum

Courses for the program are included here. Full descriptions for each course are below; just click the header to view. 

Course Code Course Title Course Dates (approximate)
PEHP 500 Kinesiology & Functional Anatomy Mid-January to late February
PEHP 520 Physiology of Performance Late-March to mid-May
PEHP 540 Program Design June to August
PEHP 560 Coaching Practicum Mid-August to mid-October
PEHP 580 Coaching Seminar Mid-October to mid-December
(partially on campus)

This course will explore the structural and functional significance of the major muscle groups and joints specific to strength and performance. An in-depth analysis of the hip, knee, ankle, trunk, shoulder and elbow will be emphasized. Upon completion, students will be able to understand and apply the role of joints and muscles utilized in human movement patterns and their application to sport. 

This course will explore the application of human physiology during exercise. The major physiological systems including metabolism, cardiovascular, respiratory and neuromuscular responses will be emphasized. The student will understand both acute and chronic adaptations to all types of training and athletes. Understanding how the body responds to stress is of utmost importance for any health professional who is designing sport or general health programs. Upon completion, students will be able to design a strength and conditioning program that is supported by scientific principles.

This course will address the principles of designing training programs aimed at improving outcomes for athletes or clients. Students will examine different methods currently in use within the field and discussed in the literature on selected topics. Students will demonstrate an appropriate implementation of a novice, intermediate and advanced training method program. Upon completion of this course, students will have created and applied a training program for a specific team or client base. The ability to critically analyze and modify a training program will be explored.

This course will provide practical application of previous coursework into an athletic team setting or within a current client base. Previous coursework has provided a stable foundation for the student to create and understand the scientific concepts related to strength and conditioning focused on theoretical application. Therefore, the student will implement their program in a real-world setting and will further critique and make modifications through empirical evidence. Consistent reflection and frequent discussions among peers and instructors will provide each student with a network of strength and conditioning professionals to use as round table discussions. Additional practical concepts will be explored relating to leadership, effective coaching practices and culture development.

This seminar course will be a combination of online course work and on-site coaching experience with other students in the cohort and the instructors. During the on-site portion of the class, students will demonstrate effective coaching in the barbell lifts, the ability to program for various levels of competition and training age, and be proficient with concepts and terminology relating to anatomy, physiology, motor development and biomechanics. If possible, current undergraduate students and/or clients will be brought in from the campus or surrounding area to be coached by the graduate students to provide an authentic coaching environment. Various lectures will be covered throughout the weekend including, but not limited to, nutrition, coaching theory, programming, current trends within the field, implementing technology, injury prevention and corrective exercises. A final question and answer session with the staff will be offered to conclude the on-site experience.