ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review 2023

Today, I’ll be taking a deeper look at the Elite Trainer and Master Trainer package of ISSA in 2023.

In this ISSA Certification review / roundup, you’ll get to discover:

The big idea behind the Elite certifications
The Master certifications
All ISSA certifications and specializations

With 10+ years of working with ISSA fitness under my belt, you’ll want to read this.

Come along, let’s delve right into it!

ISSA Elite


Hey everybody, Coach Tyler here, and welcome back to yet another PT Pioneer review. This time I have something a little special for you.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into not one but two certification packages. Both these cert packages come from ISSA, the International Sports Sciences Association.

You can check out the Elite Trainer Package and Master Trainer Package from the ISSA site here.

Both of these come with multiple fitness certifications. The goal is to give ISSA Certified Trainers the option to specialize and diversify simultaneously, thus boosting career options and earning potential in a big way.

Also, don’t forget to check out my article on the top five personal training certifications, as well as my free ISSA study guide and practice test. For the most premium study materials, check out Trainer Academy. They will cut your ISSA study time in half.

Since you’re here, I assume you are already interested in ISSA and perhaps one of these packages. If not, then I strongly recommend you take this quiz and see for yourself which certification would be best suited to your vibe and career goals.

I also have full ISSA reviews for the ISSA CPT and their ISSA Nutritionist Certification, the cornerstones of the Elite and Master Packages.

I can answer any direct questions you might have within 24 hours, so please drop a line in the comment section below.

Now, let’s get on with it and dive into the worlds of the ISSA Elite and Master Trainer.

Remember that ISSA offers these specializations on this page as continuing education credits.

If you have not done so yet, take the quiz to determine which personal training certification is the best choice for you.

The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to your ISSA personal training. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours). Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

What’s the Big Idea Behind the Elite and Master cert.

Big Idea 1

So, what’s the big idea behind the Elite and Master certificate?

Join me in this section to find out.

Like I said earlier, these two certification packages give you the option to both diversify, as well as specialize.

“But Tyler, it’s impossible to do both,” you say. Well, just looking at the way these packages are structured, you’ll see what I mean.

Let’s take a look at the Master Trainer package first. This package comes with six certifications! Two will be the Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist Certs, and you have the option for four specializations.

That means you have an understanding and specialization in 4 key areas of fitness, but because of the multi-focus approach, it also means you can adapt and diversify.

For example, in one of the standard Personal Trainer Certification Program’s units, you will deal with training the elderly. There is an entire specialist certification with a focus on training the more senior members of the population. 

This means you have both the ability to specialize but also to diversify and cross-pollinate training concepts between different sub-certifications.

This aims to bring a new tier of professionalism to this new age of online personal training certs, a domain where ISSA stands at the pinnacle.

The Elite Trainer and the Master Trainer have major differences between them. Let’s look at them in detail.

ISSA Elite Trainer vs. Master Trainer, What’s the difference.

Both ISSA Elite and Master Trainer packages come standard with a CPT+Nutritionist cert combo. From there, you begin to see the difference.

While Elite has CPT + ISSA Nutrition certification and a third additional specialization of your choice, the Master package is the same. Still, instead of just one specialization, you get to pick 4! The value of this is impressive.

Let’s look at these individually to find out more.

ISSA Elite Trainer

Elite Trainer 1

As mentioned, the ISSA Elite Trainer package is a three cert package that includes 

ISSA’s Elite Trainer program is aimed at helping you achieve your average trainer career goals while also giving you the chance to focus on an area of interest or experience.

The big idea is to decide what you want to specialize in, then use the foundational knowledge of the CPT and Nutritionist certs as a backbone to a more dedicated approach towards what you’ve decided to specialize in.

An example of how you could fully utilize the Elite Trainer Package would be by combining the general approach of the CPT with a focus on nutrition, then using what you learn from the Nutritionist certification and streamlining it into a Bodybuilding Specialist scenario where you become a bodybuilding nutritionist.

This shows that you have a niche market that you may do better with and ensures that you are set apart from the public’s options of trainers.

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 11

You could get a specialized certification without the foundational grounding of the two staple certs, but that won’t do you nearly as much good unless you have vast existing knowledge and experience. You need to be able to handle the basic setting in the fitness world before you can become laser-focused on any one aspect.

So, in a nutshell, the course material preps you with the best possible assessment, training, and motivational approach with a general population cert plus the added advantage of focusing on one specialized population group.

We will touch on the various types of specializations you can look forward to choosing from later in this article.

The last major noteworthy item to discuss is CPR certification, which ISSA recently has begun to offer through their Elite Trainer Package.

CPR/AED certification is required for 99% of the health and fitness industry jobs, and some CPT certification courses require them just to take their exams. This is a major addition of value for ISSA.

According to ISSA themselves, these are the top 4 reasons to become an Elite Trainer:

  1. Launch yourself from a general understanding into a more specialized field as a PT
  2. Increase your earning potential by increasing your accolades and honing in on a niche
  3. Gain new grounding and expertise in new and interesting fields
  4. Become an influential and motivational figure in your industry.

Let’s look at their largest bundle of certifications next.

ISSA Master Trainer

Master Trainer 1

To be a Master Trainer, you must run the standard gauntlet of the CPT and Nutritionist cert and not one, not two, not three, but four specialization certifications of your choice.

This is what I was talking about being diverse and focused at the same time. 

With the master trainer package, you can leverage yourself into multiple trainer roles, positions, and career options.

This will open you up to incredible revenue potential with the insane boost in your credentials and health knowledge.

You also have the freedom to get very creative and develop an entire fitness empire around a specialized training system with elements borrowed from all aspects of your education. You can also carve out a unique niche with high demand and very little competition.

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 12

The ISSA Master Elite promises some amazing opportunities if you take advantage of them, of course. These include the following:

  1. Become a known figure and present yourself to a wide audience with the might of ISSA behind your name
  2. Become known as an opinion and knowledge leader in the fitness community
  3. Have the freedom to work with a vast array of population groups, training scenarios, and locations
  4. Expect a significant rise in income potential and business growth opportunity.

As an ISSA Master Trainer, you are a full spectrum professional. You can weave your expertise through so many different fields of understanding, and you can be considered a fitness guru in a sense.

Whether it’s the Elite or the Master Trainer Package you go for, the main thing you’ll want to do is make sure you get the right specialization(s) for you.

To help you with that, we will take a look at the many certifications available under either ISSA Elite or Master Trainer.

Remember, you get to choose one with the elite package and four with the master trainer package.

The ISSA CPT and Nutritionist are included by default within these two packages.

ISSA Certifications and Specializations



In this section, you’ll learn why ISSA CPT is the bedrock of all ISSA specialization certifications.

ISSA CPT gives you the foundational grounding needed to become a successful personal trainer.

Find out more below!

Let’s start with the basics, the ISSA CPT. This is the bread and butter of ISSA, and I highly advise you to start with this before anything else ISSA-related.

The CPT course gives a good foundational grounding for work and knowledge as a personal trainer. It covers all relevant health and fitness topics in an informative but easy to grasp way.

The textbook and course material is split into 19 chapters.

The 200 questions multiple-choice exam is a unique challenge in that it tests your understanding rather than just your memory. Don’t let the 90% pass rate fool you into thinking the standard is low.

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 13

ISSA makes it their point to help the information sink in and stay in.

The ISSA CPT has an incredible suite of study materials, if you’re wondering. I do have a free study guide and flashcards you can also take advantage of. 

If you ask me, though, I highly recommend the Training Academy ISSA materials. This stuff is second to none.

This ISSA certification costs you $99 a month for 12 months (including free nutrition cert), which is great if you ask me.

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Is ISSA NCCA Accredited?

Technically, no. But, they offer a simple way to take the accredited exam through NCCPT, which is included with the purchase of these packages. Having this option only adds to the value of ISSA Training in CPT.

You can check out my full ISSA CPT review here for ISSA exam prep, and I have an ISSA FAQ exam article, an ISSA CPT exam prep article as well as my free study guide you should check out.

ISSA CPT Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA CPT are:

  • Online textbook
  • Study Guide and workbook
  • Online student forum
  • Exercise lab access
  • Audio and video lectures
  • Practice exams
  • Section quizzes
  • Final exam
  • Business support
  • Free NCCPT exam

ISSA comes with some decent study materials. But for the most premium ISSA study materials, check out Trainer Academy. They will cut your study time in half and guarantee you ace the exam.

ISSA Nutritionist

ISSA Nutritionist 1

Whether you opt for the Elite or Master Trainer package, you must also be a certified Nutritionist.

I’ll list below the core topics you need to understand before becoming an ISSA Nutritionist.

Learn more below!

The ISSA Nutritionist certification is the second component that comes standard with either the Elite or Master Trainer package.

They sell it as a single course on its own, but it is at the most value when in one of these bundles. It is easy to find with most courses as an add-on.

Maybe this is to try and keep the nutritional knowledge in line with the core training principles ISSA promotes.

Whatever the case, your focus here is nutrition. 

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 14

The ISSA Nutritionist certification comes with a fairly comprehensive textbook. It is split into 18 units divided into two study sections.

These units include

  • Nutrition
  • Cells, Organ Systems, and Digestion
  • Metabolism and Energy Balance
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water and Hydration
  • The Role of the Nutrition Coach
  • Stages of Change and Motivational Interviewing
  • Client Assessment and Goal Setting
  • Business In Nutrition Coaching
  • Dietary Guidelines
  • Product and Supplement Labels and Claims
  • Supplements
  • Navigating Successful and Trending Diets
  • Special Nutrition Scenarios

Topics range from the basic understanding of nutrition to the biochemistry of food, dietary habits coaching, and the business of nutrition.

It’s a full take on the world and science of nutrition, an aspect of personal training that’s often overlooked, despite nutrition being the most pivotal aspect of attaining client goals. Check out my full nutritionist review here.

Also, I have an article on the top nutrition certifications in the industry, which would be very helpful to read. If you are serious about becoming a nutrition coach, check out my article on how to become one.

ISSA Nutritionist Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA Nutritionist are:

  • Online textbook
  • Study Guide and workbook
  • Exercise lab access
  • Practice exams
  • Section quizzes
  • Library of client forms
  • Final exam

ISSA Transformation Specialist

Transformation 1

If you are interested in helping clients achieve significant body composition transformation goals, you are in the right place.

You’ll learn how to become a transformation specialist and a life mentor.

Let’s do this together!

As the name suggests, the ISSA Transformation Specialist certification is designated for those trainers who want to help their clients achieve significant body composition transformation goals.

To achieve body composition goals, a transformation in mindset is also required.

That’s why as an ISSA Transformation Specialist, you will be tasked with using the knowledge and understanding you gain not only to instruct but to motivate and influence coach behavioral change and fostering of transformative habits relevant to your client’s goals and needs.

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 15

This takes into account everything such as:

  • Nutritional habits
  • Exercise habits
  • Mental health
  • State of mind
  • Level of motivation and discipline
  • Daily routine and obligations (work, school, family)
  • Goals and perceived outcomes
  • Specific needs, strengths, and weaknesses

A transformation specialist becomes more than a fitness coach; they become a life mentor. That’s because you’re dealing with physiology and psychology in equal parts.

As a Transformation specialist, you’ll be equipped to:

  • Pinpoint signs of change
  • Describe the manifestations of each stage of change for client assessment
  • Understand the fundamentals of motivational interviewing
  • Define the skills used during motivational interviewing
  • Correctly apply motivational interviewing to influence change in clients
  • Design strength-based program that incorporates elements of flourishing
  • Characterize the five components of positive psychology
  • Incorporate specific skills to move the client from surviving to thriving
  • Describe ISSA’s “In” Phase

The ISSA Transformation Specialist goes for $799 stand-alone.

ISSA Transformation Specialist: Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA TS are:

  • Online textbook
  • Study Guide and workbook
  • Exercise lab access
  • Practice exams
  • Section quizzes
  • Final exam

This one is great for weight loss focused on clients and women post-pregnancy, for example. It’s also a great component to the next one I’ll be looking at, Corrective Exercise Specialist.

ISSA Corrective Exercise Specialist

Specialist 1

This section is dedicated to showing you how to help people fix what is wrong before it worsens.

Are you interested in contributing meaningfully to society?

No more stalling! Let’s move ahead.

One of my favorite fields in exercise science is corrective exercise. 

Helping people fix what’s wrong before it could potentially get worse is more important than helping people achieve superhuman performance or to look like superheroes.

To each their own, but to put it in simple terms, the ISSA Corrective Exercise Specialist aims to help you recognize the typical movement dysfunctions and deviations in a diverse array of population groups from the sedentary office worker to an elite level athlete.

People don’t often know what’s wrong until it’s too late (injury or loss of normal function). Even if they do, they don’t know what to do about it.

That’s where you step in with the Corrective Exercise credentials you will have the courtesy of ISSA.

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 16

Make sure to check out my article that goes over the top corrective exercise specialist certifications in the industry, including the ISSA CES and NASM CES.

According to them, here are some of the things you will gain through the Corrective Exercise Specialist program:

  • Know your legal and ethical boundaries as a fitness trainer vs those of a medical professional when it comes to treating and dealing with dysfunctions and deviations in the human body
  • Describe the structure and biomechanics of the skeleton and musculoskeletal system
  • Describe how the nervous system is built and operates
  • Explain the join systems and their corresponding muscles and connective tissue arrangements
  • Describe how movement occurs in respect to normal biomechanics
  • Explain 4 essential steps towards client preparation
  • Describe the necessity of motivation, client feedback, and training potential
  • Describe the steps in an exercise movement analysis
  • Describe the steps necessary for reinstating structural alignment from head to toe
  • Explain the best corrective exercises relevant to typical movement dysfunctions.

This is a great specialist cert not only for a lucrative career but also as a way to contribute meaningfully to society. The ISSA CES will cost you $799

ISSA Corrective Exercise Specialist: Study Material

The study materials you will get with the ISSA CES are:

  • Online textbook
  • Study Guide and workbook
  • Exercise lab access
  • Practice exams
  • Section quizzes
  • Final exam

ISSA Group Exercise Instructor

Group Specialist 1

Do you have what it takes to manage groups of people?

Come along and discover an ISSA certification that will help you utilize this skill properly.

Let’s get creative in dealing with clients, shall we?

Training a sizeable group of people is way different from a one on one situation. Firstly, it can be both frustrating and intimidating. 

Secondly, it’s much harder to keep tabs on form and technique while also taking safety into consideration. Imagine a whole gang of hyped-up gym rats all going through an intricate movement sequence?

That’s why training groups of people requires its own specific form of training. And for that very reason, ISSA brings you the Group Exercise Instructor certification.

This is one of, if not the most versatile certs you can get out of the specialist bunch. That’s because group fitness can be applied to almost all training modalities and across many population groups.

As a group fitness instructor, you will be equipped with the ability to manage groups of people and pinpoint dysfunction, deviation, and loss of form in the blink of an eye.

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 17

You will also learn the art of group psychology and ways of subtly establishing dominance and leadership above the obvious fact that you are the coach in charge.

This certification also allows you room to be creative and come up with cool and interesting programs. Be sure.

The ISSA GEI is perfectly matched with training youth and senior population groups. So it’s worth considering combining the GEI with one of, or both of those specializations.

Just like the other specialized certs, this one will set you back $799 on its own.

Don’t forget to check out my article on the top group exercise certifications to see if this certification is the right one for you.

ISSA Group Exercise Instructor Study Materials:

The study materials you will get with the ISSA GEI are:

  • Online textbook
  • Study Guide and workbook
  • Exercise lab access
  • Practice exams
  • Section quizzes
  • Final exam

ISSA Bodybuilding Specialist

Body Building 1

Apart from shedding weight, clients want a body with lean muscle.

I’m going to be sharing what you need to know to help your clients achieve their summer beach body goals.

If you are interested, let me show you how!

Bodybuilding or physique training is possibly the second most common client goal after weight loss. After losing body fat, gaining lean muscle is the most common ask you will hear from your average client.

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Bodybuilding is an art as much as it is a science, so prepare to get extra motivational and passionate about this one.

Bodybuilding by nature places a heavy emphasis on nutrition, so you will delve deeper into nutrition than you did with the general Nutritionist cert.

What the ISSA BBS will teach you can get even the most hardcore physique competitor stage ready, but more often than not, you will be helping clients out with their summer beach body goals.

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 18

Body transformation and hypertrophy are a big part of fitness businesses today. This cert is an amazing investment. According to ISSA, the benefits include:

  • Grasp the way in which the concepts of anatomy and biomechanics can be implemented in program design
  • Implement the optimal resistance training methodologies for maximized hypertrophy
  • Weigh out your clients cardio options as they relate to maximal muscle growth
  • Pinpoint and implement the positive factors that contribute to hypertrophy
  • Recognize and avoid the causes of overtraining and injury
  • Identify the best workouts for increased strength and hypertrophy
  • Apply the relevant nutritional principles (diet and supplements)
  • Understand the effect of exogenous aids such as anabolic compounds, how they can improve results but also pose a health and ethical risk
  • Recognize and implement the necessary psychological principles that can help optimize training and stage prep.

As a stand-alone cert, the ISSA BBS costs $799

ISSA Bodybuilding Specialist Study Material

The study materials you will get with the ISSA BBS are:

  • Online textbook
  • Study Guide and workbook
  • Exercise lab access
  • Practice exams
  • Section quizzes
  • Final exam

ISSA Exercise Therapy Certification

Exercise Therapy 1

Below, you’ll learn how to assist your clients in dealing with difficulties such as injuries.

This is right in your niche if you love to help people move well.

Learn more on the certification below!

Sometimes people get hurt, and when that happens, you need to be prepared to handle the situation your client is currently experiencing.

Depending on the stage of the injury, your role from a therapeutic perspective is to improve function and adaptation while also taking care not to worsen the preexisting condition.

That’s where the ISSA Exercise Therapy Certification (ETC) comes in.

It will equip you with the knowledge to assist with rehabbing your clients from several injuries and dysfunctions.

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 19

One important caveat is that this cert in no way qualifies you as a sports medicine professional; you are advised to work close to your client’s existing physiotherapy program as administered by a medical professional or physiotherapist.

The ISSA ETC advantages include:

  • Describe exercise as therapy (rehab) and exercise as a form of injury prevention (prehab) and what fundamental exercises are involved.
  • Define the fundamental role of an exercise therapy specialist as it relates to a client’s goals
  • Discuss the aspects and application of functional fitness.
  • Explain the musculoskeletal system and its biomechanical functions
  • Describe how to manage clients with chronic conditions
  • Learn to identify chronic conditions and how to manage them
  • Design a plan that implements adaptive programming with consideration to chronic conditions.

Findings by the American Sports Data Company Inc state that many career opportunities are developing up in fitness facilities for trainers with a solid background and credentials in Post-Rehab exercise. 

Just under 1,000 medical centers in America have set up fitness facilities, with more to come.

This means that the amount of opportunity available is rapidly growing, and with it comes an increase in income potential.

The ISSA ETC goes pretty well with the CES certification. If your passion is in helping people move correctly, then those two are for you.

ISSA Exercise Therapy Certification Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA ECT are:

  • Online textbook
  • Online student forum
  • Study Guide and workbook
  • Exercise lab access
  • Practice exams
  • Section quizzes
  • Final exam

ISSA Lifespan Coach Certification

Senior 1

This Lifespan Coach certification is for those who wish to learn how to help all generations of people to get moving, stay active, and keep healthy.

With this certification, you will be able to create sustainable healthy habits within the many age groups you might train.

This certification partners best when looking to train both youth and senior age groups in fitness.

The certification can also be found on its own for the normal specialization price of $799.

The ISSA Lifespan Coach advantages include:

  • Learn to relay the important aspects of fitness nutrition,and exercise with your clients, regardless of their age group.
  • Learn better dynamic flexibility for client programs for different life stages.
  • Learn the best possible measuring and tracking of physical fitness levels in various age groups.
  • Create age-related disease, strength and cardiovascular development in children and seniors.
  • Discuss the specific changes in the human body as it ages.
  • Learn age-specific diseases and risks and how to deal with them as a fitness professional.

A lifespan coach stands out as a fitness professional who is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives, especially when they have a client base that lands in different age groups.

ISSA Lifespan Coach Certification Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA Lifespan Coach are:

  • Online course textbook
  • Free professional website
  • Online schedule study assistance
  • Online videos
  • Unlimited educational support

ISSA Strength and Conditioning Certification

Strength 1

What is the function of an ISSA Strength and Conditioning Specialist?

Come with me, let me show you how they help clients improve the quality of their lives and more.

I’m sure you’ll find it interesting and rewarding

Let’s take a peep into its workings!

If your clients want to take it to the next level, this is it. The ISSA SCC is tailored for high performance.

By applying the principles of power, endurance, and how to adapt strength progressively towards sports-specific goals, you can give your clients a tremendous boost in performance.

This specialty might be geared for the performance athlete, but in a general sense, strength and conditioning is great for everyone.

For your average joe, the functional boost from a good S&C program can drastically improve the quality of life.

That being said, the true intention with the ISSA SCC is the big leagues.

ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review [year] 20

If your journey sees you working with pro-sports teams and athletes, this is the cert you NEED. 

The world of professional sports continues to grow year by year, with the need for quality performance-boosting training. 

The competition is stiff, but with your help, your athlete’s muscles won’t be.

If strength and conditioning certifications are something that interests you, make sure to check out my article on the top strength and conditioning certifications in the industry today.

Also, I have a free study guide for the CSCS exam, one of the most prestigious just strength and conditioning certifications.

With the ISSA SCC, you will be able to:

  • Use the principles of metabolic activity, biomechanics, respiration, and adaptation to maximize the desired training effect
  • Design programs taking into account how different tissues and organs will interact with training stimuli
  • Describe how the systems of the body coordinate to optimize performance
  • Define the different energy systems and pathways at play and how they can be optimized
  • Evaluate, observe and manage an athlete’s adaptation and progress towards performance goals
  • Identify and implement different exercises for speed, power, strength, endurance, and flexibility
  • Create both general and sport-specific workout programs
  • Describe and implement the psychological aspects of a good S&C program
  • Describe and implement the nutritional aspects ideal for optimized performance
  • Identify and eliminate the causes of overtraining and overreaching
  • Identify and eliminate injury risk.

The ISSA SCC with set you back a standard $799

ISSA Strength and Conditioning Certification Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA SCC are:

  • Online textbook
  • Online student forum
  • Study Guide and workbook
  • Exercise lab access
  • Practice exams
  • Section quizzes
  • Final exam.

ISSA Powerlifting Instructor Certification

ISSA Nutrition 1

If you are looking for specialization to learn how to utilize proper powerlifting techniques and increase a client’s overall strength, look no further than this excellent specialization.

Powerlifting is one of the many fitness modalities today, and you likely have some client interest when you are training people.

As a powerlifting specialist, you will easily assist your clients with using these movements to build foundational strength and help with lifting and everyday activities.

This specialist certification will set you back $799 like the others.

With the ISSA Powerlifting Instructor Cert, you will be able to:

  • Understand and explain the basic human movements.
  • Assess and dive into the current physical ability of clients, and then progress their goals.
  • Fidn issues with movement and prevent future injury.
  • Craft well-made programs based on everything you learn about the clients that is tailored to their starting level, goals, and needs.

Advanced Powerlifting Specialists will usually desire to improve people’s daily lives and their strength for all activities.

After this program, you will become one step closer to helping people improve their strength and life.

ISSA Powerlifting Instructor Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA SCC are:

  • Online textbook
  • Online videos
  • Textbook downloads
  • Free Professional Website
  • Unlimited Educational Support

ISSA Certified Glute Specialist Certification

Group Specialist 1

Glutes are considered to be the hardest area to train and the most desired area for more information on training.

This current fitness trend makes the desire for a glute specialist that much more intense.

This is one of the only certifications like this in the fitness industry, and it can be found through ISSA only.

Getting bigger glutes is not just squatting; there is so much more that is needed. If you take this specialization, you will know all of the secrets to training your clients and explain everything as they are going through it.

With the ISSA Certified Glute Specialist Cert, you will be able to:

  • Understand glute-focusing trends in training
  • Know in detail the movement patterns of all relevant exercises
  • Help with the common dysfunctions of the hip and glute
  • Use anatomy, activation, strength, and hypertrophy exercises to enhance glute training

You will be able to offer your clients training and results as they have never seen.

ISSA Certified Glute Specialist Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA CGS are:

  • Online textbook
  • Guided and Structured Study
  • Library of client forms
  • Chapter quizzes
  • Online final exam
  • Lessons at your own pace
  • Unlimited Educational Support

ISSA Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor Certification

Specialist 1

Indoor cycling is an ever-growing popular group fitness class that is loved by fitness fanatics and casual gym-goers.

A certified indoor cycling instructor will be an expert in this style of fitness class. They can apply some of the learned skills to their personal training markets as well.

With the ISSA Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor Cert, you will be able to:

  • Be an expert in one of the fastest growing services out there in fitness
  • Give clients effective results in group settings
  • Expand the services you offer as a trainer
  • Earn more money
  • Perfect your training programs

ISSA Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA CICI are:

  • Online textbook
  • Library of 30+ instructional videos
  • Guided, Self-Paced Studying
  • Free NCCPT Accredited exam
  • Unlimited Educational Support
  • Online Open-book Exam

ISSA Certified Tactical Conditioning Specialist Certification

ISSA Nutritionist 1

This certification will best serve clients who wish to pass fitness readiness exams for organizations like the military, police, and first responders.

These physically demanding jobs have created a niche market for special considerations when it comes to certified fitness trainer choice.

Tactical athletes need programs that match their need for power.

An ISSA Certified Tactical Conditioning Specialist will be able to:

  • Decide how one should train for the high demands of tactical occupations
  • Make use of neuromuscular anatomy
  • Perfect the need for strength, power, and speed in these intense occupations
  • Perfect functional training, core strength training, injury prevention, and make the program designs completely unique

As a Certified ISSA Tactical Conditioning Specialist, you’ll offer clients fitness training and results like never before.

ISSA Certified Tactical Conditioning Specialist Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA CTCS are:

  • Online Exercise Lab
  • Section Quizzes
  • Online Student Forum
  • Online Exam

ISSA Certified Yoga Instructor Certification

Specialist 1

A certified yoga instructor is another in-demand form of group certification. It also may apply well to personal training sessions.

This specialization takes out any chance when it comes to yoga teachers, as there has historically been no way to know how good someone may be.

Now, this certification ensures that professionals are the best in the industry.

An ISSA Certified Yoga Instructor will be able to:

  • Gain recognition as an expert in the field of yoga
  • Deliver training that is targeted to the individual
  • Become an Accredited yoga professional
  • Offer a unique service to clients and gyms

ISSA Certified Yoga Instructor Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA CYI are:

  • Online Textbook
  • Guided, Self-paced Study
  • Video Lecture Library
  • Unlimited Educational support
  • Online, Open-Book Exam
  • NBFA accreditation

ISSA DNA-Based Fitness Coach Certification

Senior 1

Personal trainers with an ISSA DNA-Based fitness Coach certification will be able to eliminate the need for guesswork when it comes to genetic factors.

This can allow for the most in-depth and individualized programs that exist in the fitness industry.

An ISSA DNA-Based Fitness Coach will be able to:

  • Deliver the best customized training programs to clients
  • Get the most effective and quickest results
  • Expand on their existing services and earn more money
  • Offer a new and unique fitness persepctive for clients

A DNA-Based Fitness coach is able to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience to clients, and that is something that sells itself.

ISSA DNA-Based Fitness Coach Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA CYI are:

  • Online Textbook
  • Guided, Self-paced Study
  • Sample DNA Brochure for Marketing
  • Unlimited Genetics Support
  • Online, Open-Book Exam
  • Affiliation With Genetic Direction for Testing

ISSA Exercise Recovery Specialist Certification

Transformation 1

Clients all desire to perform as well as they can, but intense exercise can diminish their ability.

Personal trainers who use exercise recovery techniques within their sessions and programs will often have the most holistic health and fitness programs in the industry.

Mastering this topic will place you well above many other trainers who are less versed in recovery.

An ISSA Exercise Recovery Specialist will be able to:

  • Help clients to train more often and for longer terms
  • Earn more money due to increased training knowledge
  • Stand out among other trainers
  • Perfect programs for proper recovery from training

You’ll be able to help clients with their fitness goals during training and well after the session is over.

ISSA Exercise Recovery Specialist Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA ERS are:

  • Online Textbook
  • Guided, Self-paced Study
  • Chapter Quizzes
  • Online Final Exam
  • Video Demonstrations
  • Practical Applications for Structuring Your Clients’ Recovery Plan

ISSA Health Coach Certification


This Health Coach Specialization is for personal trainers that desire to help clients overcome mental and physical barriers and achieve optimal wellness.

Not all problems are due to the gym, and it is a good idea for a trainer to be able to tackle those issues as well. Teaching the client how to overcome things outside the gym will often lead to increased success inside the gym.

An ISSA Health Coach will be able to:

  • Set better goals for clients that lead to long term success
  • Use positive psychology with your clients to enhance their goals
  • Prevent conditions like heart disease and other lifestyle-related issues
  • Boost mental health through fitness and non-gym routines

Health Coaching is a quickly growing part of the health and fitness industries, and ISSA is an excellent option to start.

ISSA Health Coach Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA Health Coach are:

  • Online Textbook
  • Guided, Self-paced Study
  • Chapter Quizzes
  • Online Final Exam
  • Video Health Coach Demonstrations
  • Unlimited Educational Support

ISSA Online Coaching Certification

Strength 1

Personal training can now be just as effective when the programs are implemented online.

This is a newer and fast-growing part of the fitness industry, so it is a good idea to get a grip on how to start your own online coaching business.

An ISSA Online Coach will be able to do all aspects of personal training through an online training business and be just as effective as in-person training.

ISSA Online Coaching Study Materials

The study materials you will get with the ISSA Health Coach are:

  • Over 80 Tutorial Videos and Downloadable Templates
  • A Free Professional Website
  • 2 Downloadable Textbooks
  • Unlimited Educational Support
  • Guided and Structured Study
  • Online Final Exam

Elite Trainer vs. Master Trainer Cost

EM cost 1

With the Elite and Master Trainer package, a combination of different specialized certifications gives you an excellent value.

Read on to enjoy the deal on each package!

The cost of the two packages is obviously different. 

The main thing to look at is how much savings you’re making by either taking the Elite or Master Trainer package vs. just purchasing each certification separately.

So as you will have gathered, all the specialist certs go for $799

The Elite Trainer Package goes for a list price of $2,397, which at the time of writing was reduced to $996

The Master trainer package has a list price of $4,794 but is currently, at the time of writing, going for $2,997.

So let’s crunch the numbers. Say you were to get all the components of an elite package separately. That means a CPT, Nutritionist, and one specialist certification.

You would pay $1,598, a steal compared to the list price, but not much of a deal if you consider the current price.

Now let’s look at the Master Trainer package. If you bought all six components separately, you would spend $3,995. Again, this is way cheaper than the list price but stacks poorly against the current discounted figure.

So why would they make a bundled package more expensive than purchasing the components? 

I suspect it might be to do with the Nutritionist cert. It is only available bundled with one or more of the other certifications. 

If we make it out to be $799, just like the rest, we find that the list price and the total cost of buying separate certifications are EXACTLY THE SAME!

That means the list price isn’t a bundle price; it’s just the total individual cost. In any case, they have deals on each package, so I guess that’s great.


ISSA Conclusion 2 a

There you have it, everything you need to know from A-Z on the Elite and Master Trainer package.

You have more than enough info to decide on which of the certification suits your career goals.

I’ll advise you to get started asap.

You can achieve it just like I did.

Wishing you all the best!

Before we jump to the conclusion, make sure to take the quiz to see if ISSA is the rate personal training certification for you or if another certifying agency is more your style.

So there you have it, folks, an in-depth breakdown of the Elite and Master trainer packages available through ISSA.

Is ISSA certification worth it?

Looking through all of this, I can see the crazy potential for a great PT career. If you have a very specific focus and don’t want too much on your plate, I would say go for the Elite package.

If you have big dreams and want to have your finger in many pies while also being good at it, I would say go for the Master trainer.

When it comes to the master trainer, try to mix and match the specializations you get so that they best complement each other.

For example, I would get A corrective exercise, exercise therapy, senior fitness and strength, and conditioning bundle and focus on helping out older adults.

You could also do something like combining the youth cert with the group training cert, strength and conditioning, and sports nutrition, and boom, you’re ready to coach the world’s best little league team.

All resources for all certifications, including the final exam, are accessible completely online and are 100% self-paced.

And for some extra help with the studies, I suggest you head on over to Trainer Academy and check out what they have for ISSA.

Any other questions or suggestions, just drop me a line in the comments below; I’ll be sure to get back to you within 24 hours! 

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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8 thoughts on “ISSA Elite Trainer and ISSA Master Trainer Package Review 2023”

  1. PTPioneer User

    Hey Tyler,

    Would the Master trainer program be the equivalent of the NASM guided study with the Nutrition certification and with the weight loss specialist? Looking at pure money value the master trainer program from ISSA is a better deal that the three program combo from NASM I stated, but is ISSA as reputable? I want to get the most out of my money and my decision on which route I want to take.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Michael,
      you can definitely come by and a lot of certifications from the National Academy of sports medicine into a master trainer program. You can read more about the master trainer program from NASM to see what is required. We will definitely be spending more money, but more people in general still think that NASM is the highest sought-after certification.

  2. PTPioneer User

    Do I need valid ID to order my courses or do I just need it to become certified..recently my driver’s licence expired…because of covid govt shut downs and a move that complicates the proccess it may take me a month or more to successfuly get a new one but I am ready and anxious to get underway with my training now.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Pay that is a very good question I definitely recommend contacting the international sports Sciences Association to ask that specific question. Good luck with your personal training career.

  3. PTPioneer User

    I want to ask if I go for elite trainer program there will be individual exam paper for each certification/specialization??

    Moreover will I get a combined certificate for qualifying elite program or separate certificates for each of the courses included?

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