Sports & Wellness Certifications
To combine nutrition science with the fields of sports and wellness, students should plan to obtain specific certifications in addition to the academic degree in the Food Science and Human Nutrition, Sports and Wellness Option. Certifications to consider include:
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world with more than 30,000 members. The mission of ACSM’s Committee on Certification and Registry Boards (CCRB) is to develop, provide, and market high quality, accessible, affordable credentials for health and exercise professionals who are responsible for preventive and rehabilitative programs that influence the health and well-being of all individuals. Certifications available from the ACSM include:
Health Fitness Certifications
- The ACSM Certified Personal Trainer is designed for a fitness professional involved in developing and implementing an individualized approach to exercise leadership in healthy populations and/or those individuals with medical clearance to exercise.
- The ACSM Health Fitness Specialist® is designed primarily for leaders of preventive health programs in corporate, commercial, and community settings aimed at low- to moderate- risk individuals or persons with controlled diseases, such as hypertension, obesity, or asthma.
- The ACSM Certified Group Exercise Instructor® is designed for those interested in developing and implementing various exercise plans in an individual or group setting.
- The ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist® certification is for professionals performing exercise testing and training clients with cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic diseases. ACSM Exercise Specialists® are competent in graded exercise testing and exercise prescription, performing emergency procedures, and providing health and fitness counseling for patients in clinical settings.
- The ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist ® provides exercise management for patients with a broad spectrum of chronic diseases or disabilities. This national registry for clinical exercise physiologists catalogues allied health professionals who work in the preventive or rehabilitative application of exercise and physical activity for populations where exercise has been shown to provide a therapeutic or functional benefit.
- The ACSM/ACS Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer® allows a professional to work in an area developing exercise programs for those clients affected by all facets of cancer from diagnosis to treatment.
- The ACSM/NCPAD Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer® assists healthy or medically-cleared individuals with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities by developing and implementing specific exercise programs.
- The ACSM/NSPAPPH Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist® addresses public decision makers about the need for legislation, policies, and programs promoting physical activity in the public health system.
Additional information, including specific requirements for each of the previous certifications, can be found at the American College of Sports Medicine website.
National Academy of Sports Medicine
NASM offers both fitness certification programs and advanced specializations. These include:
- The NASM Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) certification was developed according to the current knowledge, skill, and abilities that must be demonstrated by entry-level credential holders in order to safely and successfully practice. NASM-CPT certification requires a comprehensive knowledge of human movement science, functional anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, as well as functional assessment and program design. Individuals wishing to become certified must be at least 18 years old, hold a current Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR) certification, and pass the certification exam.
- The Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) is designed for athletic trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists, coaches, and other sports professionals who want to work with players at all levels, from the secondary education and university tier, to professional and Olympic level athletes. Individuals applying for certification must have obtained the NASM-CPT certification and/or a bachelor’s degree in a health/fitness-related field and obtain a passing score on the PES exam.
- Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) provides the advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully work with clients suffering from musculoskeletal impairments, imbalances, or post-rehabilitation concerns. Individuals applying for certification must have obtained the NASM-CPT certification and/or a bachelor’s degree in a health/fitness-related field and obtain a passing score on the CES exam.
Additional information can be found at the NASM website
National Strength and Conditioning Association
- Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCSs) are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance. They conduct sport-specific testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs, provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention, and refer athletes to other professionals when appropriate. Certification requires at least a bachelor’s degree and passing the CSCS examination. Current CPR and AED certifications are also required of all CSCS candidates and for maintenance of the CSCS certification.
- NSCA-Certified Personal Trainers (NSCA-CPT) are health and fitness professionals who, by using an individualized approach, assess, motivate, educate, and train clients about their health and fitness needs. They design safe and effective exercise programs, provide guidance to help clients achieve their personal health and fitness goals, and respond appropriately in emergency situations. Recognizing their own area of expertise, personal trainers refer clients to other health care professionals when appropriate. Certification requires at least a high school diploma and passing the NSCA-CPT examination. Current CPR and AED certifications are also required of all NSCA-CPT candidates and for maintenance of the NSCA-CPT certification.
Additional information can be found at the National Strength and Conditioning Association website
Certifications Specifically in Sports & Wellness Nutrition
International Society of Sports Nutrition
- Certified Sports Nutritionist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (CISSN) provides health/fitness/medical professionals who work with athletes or active individuals a certification that requires a fundamental understanding of the adaptive response to exercise and the role that nutrition plays in the acute and chronic responses to exercise. CISSNs must have either 1) a 4-year undergraduate degree in exercise science, kinesiology, physical education, nutrition, biology, or related biological science or 2) the CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) credential from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Additionally, they must pass the CISSN certification exam.
- Body Composition Certification by the ISSN (BCC-ISSN) provides certification in the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of various body composition assessment techniques and their practical application and proper use. The certification exam prerequisites include either 1) a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, Nutrition, Biology, or related field or 2) the CISSN, CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), or NSCA-CPT (Certified Personal Trainer) certification.
Additional information can be found at the International Society of Sports Nutrition (issn) website.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Diploma in Sports Nutrition
- IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition is a two-year online distance-learning course of study that requires at least a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, dietetics, or related field of study. Student involvement is part-time (estimated at 20 hours/week). Delivery of the course will involve lectures in electronic format, web-based materials, paper-based reading, on-line “chat room,” and other Internet based activities and residential workshops. Each part of the program will consist of lectures in electronic format, supported by directed private study, and will include formal assessment elements. The Diploma course of study consists of two basic parts: Foundations of Sports Nutrition and Practical Sports Nutrition.
Additional information can be found at the Sportsoracle website.
American Dietetic Association
- Certification as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) is a Board certification by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for registered dietitians (RDs) who have specialized education, training, and experience in sports dietetics. The CSSD designates specific knowledge, skills, and expertise for competency in sports dietetics practice. The specialty exam requires current RD status, maintenance of RD status for three years, and 1500 hours of experience in specialty practice. Currently, graduate education may substitute for up to 1200 hours of practice experience.
Additional information can be found at the Sport, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition website.
The Sports and Wellness Option in the FSHN program prepares students for a wide variety of possible career options. Students in this option can enhance their career opportunities by exploring the requirements for entry into professions of interest. In addition to specific university coursework requirements, various national certifications may be needed.
Possible career options:
- Wellness/Health Educator – health education and health promotion with HMOs
- Corporate/Workplace Wellness Educator - some larger companies
- Strength & Conditioning Coach - High School or Collegiate level
- Group Exercise Instructor - muscle conditioning, kick-boxing, yoga, etc.
- Personal Trainer - health club or independent
- Specialty Instructor - cancer exercise specialist, adaptive fitness instructor for people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities.
Schedule a meeting with a career counselor in Mānoa’s Career Center for more information.
Many students who select the Sports and Wellness Human Nutrition Option within the FSHN major can continue their education as Masters or Doctoral students in the biological sciences. More information about these programs can be found in this booklet and at the following websites:
The Sports and Wellness Human Nutrition Option within the FSHN major provides students with the opportunity to conduct independent research projects by enrolling in FSHN 499 with a mentoring faculty member. Students who have undergraduate research experience may pursue careers after graduation in nutrition research as study staff or laboratory assistants.
Graduate Record Exam
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are often required for graduate programs, especially for combined internship/graduate programs. The 4-hour general GRE test is administered at the University of Hawai'i in the Queen Lili'uokalani Center for Student Services in the Testing Center. The cost is currently $205. To prepare for taking the GRE you can either purchase GRE practice books and software from most bookstores and/or you can download a GRE practice test for free from the GRE website. For further information, contact the Testing Center at 956-3454.
Undergraduate FSHN (Council) Student Club
You are encouraged to join the Student FSHN Council for a nominal fee of $5.00/semester. You will have a chance to meet other students in your major and have the opportunity to share information and good times. Often graduating seniors leave behind jobs or career opportunities that are now available to you.
Useful Websites for Students Entering into the University of Hawai'i
All information for students covering how to apply, academic calendar, financial aid, catalog, transfer credit search, new database, on-campus activities, housing (dorms), parking, etc., can be found on the following websites:
MyUH Services is a mobile-optimized, one stop shop for UH business tasks, form, apps and more. It includes one-click access to services customized for students, faculty and staff across our 10-campus system.
STAR for students is the online degree tracking system for UH. You can view your degree requirements, register for classes, search for scholarships, and view your transcripts through STAR.
Use this website to make an appointment with our academic advisors. Advisors can assist you with developing a degree plan and making sure you’re taking the appropriate classes for graduation. Meeting with an academic advisor is mandatory every semester.
This website offers information about the world of CTAHR, including undergraduate and graduate programs, financial aid and scholarships, course requirements, publications, research projects, student council, faculty, and staff.
This web site shows the different programs, courses, and resources available within the HNFAS department. There is also a link to “Scholarships.”
The FSHN Council strives to nurture students' interest in dietetics, research, community wellness, food service and nutrition by providing the opportunity for students to network with other students, faculty, and professionals in food science, nutrition, and other health-related fields. In addition to enhancing fellowship and facilitating communication, student members are exposed to career information, scholarship opportunities, and community service activities.
UH Core requirements and class listings can be found at this site.
This web site shows information on residency requirements and how your credits transfer into UH Mānoa. The UH catalog can also be viewed from this site.
Student Academic Support Services
Access to student academic support services is important to ensure your success while a student at the University of Hawaiʻi. Below is a listing of some of these services that can also be found in the University of Hawaiʻi catalog.
- Office of Civic and Community Engagement offers UH Manoa students and community agencies the opportunity to participate in a partnership of volunteer service.
- First Year Programs familiarize students with the array of resources, programs and faculty available at UH providing opportunities to develop personal relationships and enhancing active involvement in the educational process.
- International Student Services provides assistance to international students who come from more than countries to study at UH. Students are advised and helped to adjust to the local and U.S. cultures.
- Kokua Program (Disability Access Services) provides disability access services to students with documented physical and/or mental disabilities. Services include alternative media production, counseling, early registration, note-taking, sign language interpreting, technology access, testing accommodations and campus transportation.
- Learning Assistance Center provides academic counseling and assists students in developing learning skills to increase academic success. Assessment, counseling and support services are also available for students with learning disabilities.
- Mānoa Advising Center serves as a first point of contact for advising and appropriate referrals for incoming students.
- Student Success Center at Sinclair Library offers students a place to study and provides information and skills and a place for students to work with librarians, mentors, tutors and counselors to meet individual needs.
- Student Support Services provides academic advising and planning, tutoring and mentoring to increase college retention, academic success and graduation rates.
- Mānoa Writing Center provide free services to equip students with appropriate writing skills so they can become better and more confident writers.
Do not hesitate to discuss your needs with your academic degree advisor who can help refer you to the appropriate resource.
FSHN Course Descriptions
Viewable online at the UH Manoa Catalog.