ISSA Training Certification Review - Tyler Read shows ISSA CPT certification review materials.

This ISSA personal trainer review is a collection of my experience when I signed up, studied, and passed the ISSA Personal Training certification program (ISSA-CPT).

I discuss where the certification fell short of, met, and exceeded expectations. I also discuss how the ISSA CPT compares to other personal training certification options on the market.

Within my ISSA certification review, readers will learn:

  • The quality of the ISSA CPT certification materials
  • Topical information such as pricing, deals, packages, and prerequisites
  • Pros and Cons, is the ISSA CPT meant for you?
  • How the ISSA CPT compares to other top CPT certs

When you finish reading this ISSA CPT program review, you will be ready to determine if the ISSA CPT is right for you.

I also highly recommend that you take the quiz and find out which certification is best for your career goals.

What type of Certification are you looking to get?
Tyler Read emoji thinking about the ISSA CPT certification

What is the ISSA Certified Personal Trainer (ISSA-CPT)?

ISSA is a legit National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited organization that runs several programs that include certifications in personal training, nutrition, health, and yoga coaching. They have been in operation for over 35 years which has made them a global leader in their area of expertise. 

what is the issa cpt? introduction to the ISSA training certification showing ISSA textbook

ISSA’s personal training certification is one of the top certs in the field. The credential equips ISSA-certified trainers for general population clients.

What does ISSA stand for?

ISSA stands for the International Sports Sciences Association and is among the industry-leading personal trainer certification companies. ISSA brings some of the highest value for your money and is a solid company for fitness professionals, new and old.

The ISSA began as a fitness company in 1988. A team of fitness experts founded it with the primary goal of combatting the increase in physical decline in the general population. 

ISSA’s vision is to “connect 100 million people to the power of healthy living by the year 2030.”

The basic mission is to bring healthy living to people worldwide through education and community.

This ISSA CPT will cover exactly what a personal trainer needs to be successful, including:

  • How to successfully motivate clients and achieve fitness goals
  • Deep knowledge of the muscles of the body and more exercise science foundations
  • Client assessment and building custom training programs
  • How to strengthen clients without leading to injury and pain
  • Pinpointing the most effective exercises to progress movements
  • Detailing exercise and diet’s relationship and how it can transform lives

These primary teachings of CPT certification will help trainers excel in their careers.

ISSA General Information

ISSA General Information

  • Exam cost: $828.00 (only purchased with study materials)
  • Study material cost: $69/month for 12 months
  • Prerequisites: CPR/AED, High School Diploma
  • Exam passing score: Scaled 550/800 – 90/125 Scored Questions
  • Exam pass rate: 70% (2019 data)
  • Average completion time: 3 to 5 months

ISSA credibility and reputation

ISSA is well-respected by employers and certified professionals as it has been around for decades and offers many different types of fitness programs.

Organizations with accredited certifications are always credible and reputable, with the NCCA being the best accreditation.

The NCCA accredits the ISSA CPT and a few other certifications from ISSA. You will find that all of the best CPT certs are NCCA accredited.

From my experience in gyms, ISSA is definitely a name that employers look out for and hire often.

Is the ISSA CPT worth it?

Whether the ISSA CPT is worth it depends on factors like your preferences, budget, and goals in the fitness industry. The level of knowledge presented in the certification is as high as the other top CPT programs. Furthermore, the deals ISSA offers when you bundle multiple certifications make it even more attractive.

is the issa cpt certification worth it - ISSA training certification - Tyler Read holding textbook deciding if ISSA is worth it

You can’t go wrong with the ISSA CPT.

By taking my quiz, you can triple-check which certification makes the most sense and which determines the right personal trainer program for your career goals.

ISSA Training Certification Review [year] - Is ISSA Worth It? 6
ISSA Training Certification Review [year] - Is ISSA Worth It? 7
  • Great emphasis on exercise technique and demonstration
  • Exercise science foundation stand atop the industry
  • CPT cert recognized and used internationally
  • Elite Trainer package offers the best value in the fitness industry
  • Minimal coverage for training special populations

  • Lacks a comprehensive program framework similar to competitors (NASM OPT, ACE IFT, etc.)

ISSA CPT vs other top CPT certifications

The main competitors to the ISSA CPT will be the NASM CPT, ACE CPT, NSCA CPT, and ACSM CPT. Other organizations have some of the same accreditations, but the ones mentioned above are the first ones employers consider when looking at personal trainer certification.

If you decide to go with any of these certifications, you will have no problem getting a job and building your client base.

The organization most similar to the ISSA will be the NASM and its CPT certification. NASM also offers many different bundles and specializations, similar to ISSA.

ISSA and NASM are very similar in their offerings, as are many of the top CPT certs, but where ISSA stands above them is the deals they offer.

ISSA offers equally high-quality certifications, often for less than the price of other certifications bundled together.

Who is the ISSA certification meant for?

The ISSA CPT certification will be ideal for personal trainers that would like to train the average person in the general population.

Anyone looking to get into the fitness industry should consider ISSA.

The certification is not ideal for someone focusing solely on strength and conditioning.

If you are also looking just to be able to train in group fitness classes, then‌ the ISSA CPT isn’t ideal, and it would be better to go with their group exercise certification.

I believe the ISSA as an organization is beneficial for the vast majority of new and seasoned fitness professionals.

It is no mistake that over 475,000 people have chosen the ISSA certification to become certified personal trainers and sports nutrition coaches.

Employers and fitness professionals alike respect the International Sports Science Association. On top of that, ISSA offers fantastic deals on its products.

The ISSA Elite Trainer Bundle is the feature purchase that‌ makes ISSA worth it for anyone without a CPT certification already.

As a fitness professional with multiple certifications, I appreciate this and other offerings from ISSA.

With that said, let’s move on to the CPT-specific options from ISSA.

Great For:
  • Personal Trainers that want to train the general public
  • Learners looking to get into the fitness industry
  • Future trainers who also want a vast array of specializations
Not Recommended For:
  • An aspiring strength and condition coach
  • Future fitness professionals looking to train groups of people, specifically

I believe the ISSA as an organization is beneficial for the vast majority of new and seasoned fitness professionals.

It is no mistake that over 475,000 people have chosen the ISSA certification to become certified personal trainers and sports nutrition coaches.

The International Sports Science Association is as credible as it is highly respected among professionals, and they are known to offer fantastic deals on its products.

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers

Gold Standard Cert
NASM Gold Standard Personal Trainer Certification - Save 25&percnt off
Most Popular Cert
ISSA - Most Popular Online Personal Trainer Certification 3 Certs for
Best Study Materials
TA - Trainer Academy - Best Study Materials for Personal Trainer Certification Online - See MVP discount
A Good Option
ACE Certification- A Good Fitness Course Online Option - 25&percnt off
A Good Option
NCSF Certification - A Good Option - Save 25%
Best CPT for you?
Best CPT For You? Take the Personal Trainer Certification Online quiz and Get a Personalized Recommendation Just for You

The ISSA Elite Trainer Bundle is the feature purchase that, in my opinion, makes ISSA worth it for anyone without a CPT certification already.

As a fitness professional with multiple certifications, I appreciate this and other offerings from ISSA.

With that said, let’s move on to the CPT specific options from ISSA.

ISSA CPT costs and course options

The base price for the ISSA CPT package is about $2,300, but the cost can be lower if you factor in sales, promotions discounts, and coupon codes. On many occasions, you will find $999 deals, which are typically more than 50% off!

The ISSA personal training certification comes in as one primary course. Regarding the rest of the industry, this is a standard pricing model.

issa cpt costs and course options - ISSA textbook with gold coins on table

Included within the ISSA CPT certification will be the following:

  • Guided Study
  • Online Textbook
  • Quizzes
  • CPT Bootcamp
  • Exercise Library
  • CPT Downloads
  • ISSA CPT Final Examination
  • New Trainer Guide
  • Dedicated Success Coach
  • Online Student Forum
  • Free Professional Website

Where the ISSA personal training certification stands above the competition is in its bundle offers. The first main deal that many learners purchase is the ISSA Buy One Get One, which includes the ISSA Personal Training certificate and nutritionist certification.

ISSA Training Certification Review [year] - Is ISSA Worth It? 8

This two-certification combination combines the ISSA training certification, CPT, and nutrition certifications.

This certification stack gives you a great head start on your overall fitness career.

Nutrition specializations also complete the recertification hours needed to recertify your CPT every two years. In this case, it is like taking out two birds with one stone.

I find a lot of value in these bundles.

The optimal one for most readers is the Elite Trainer Bundle, where there are three certifications for a new personal trainer you can pursue.

The Elite Trainer Bundle offers the ISSA CPT, Nutritionist, and Strength and Conditioning Coach certifications.

ISSA Training Certification Review [year] - Is ISSA Worth It? 9

These are three great certifications for a new trainer, all for just a little more than the price of the ISSA Personal Training Certification alone.

ISSA shows it wants its trainers to have an easy time and low cost when certifying with them.

If you purchase one of these bundles and complete the certifications, you will easily handle most of your clientele. Plus, you will knock out the main specializations right off the bat.

With both bundles, remember that you will have recertification covered due to the continuing education credits supplied by this certification.

ISSA CPT course layout

issa cpt certification course layout - ISSA textbook displaying table of contents

The ISSA trainer online course is laid out within an online study portal containing the following materials:

  • Guided Study
  • Online Textbook
  • Quizzes
  • CPT Bootcamp
  • Exercise Library
  • CPT Downloads
  • ISSA CPT Final Examination
  • New Trainer Guide

Based on this schedule, the Guided Study holds the recommended study time and what the typical learner will accomplish.

ISSA Certified personal trainer study schedule

The offerings within the weeks are easy to follow. For each week, I found great video lectures, links to the sections of the textbook covered in the week, and a quiz.

The video lectures can be a bit short, but they help organize some grander topics. It would be nice to have these more detailed and longer, and even an option for an audio version of the text in the future.

ISSA CPT exam prep quiz movement systems domain

The quizzes wrap up the chapters and study week. I feel they are solid tools you can easily return to in the future to refresh yourself before the exam.

The online examination is similar in format and layout to these questions, making them an effective studying tool for the real exam.

The main source of information and the primary study material is the textbook. The textbook comes in an online format. You can order the physical textbook for $40 if you prefer non-digital studying.

I prefer to study with a physical textbook. I went that route to mark up the text and study easier, but this depends on the person.

The online text has a more dated feel, but accessing it anywhere you have a computer definitely convenient. It is also easy to quickly search; they even offer a PDF form to download.

The ISSA CPT textbook is nearly 800 pages long, and this is broken down into 19 chapters, a significant change from the older 31-unit breakdown.

Let’s dive in and look at the main CPT sections.

Exercise Science

The ISSA Personal Trainer curriculum covers Exercise Science effectively.

The following chapters deal with ‌this primary topic:

  • Chapter 3: Movement Systems
  • Chapter 4: Supporting Systems
  • Chapter 5: Concepts of Biomechanics
  • Chapter 6: Energy and Metabolism

The ISSA does a great job of using pictures to represent the exercise science teachings. Visual learners will be happy to see the number of images in the text for ease of learning.

For me, a topic like anatomy and physiology requires accurate, helpful photos and diagrams, which is nice to see.

ISSA certified personal trainer curriculum diagram of muscle tissue

The ISSA training certification does a solid job of teaching exercise science foundations. 

Behavior Change Coaching

This ISSA trainer, online curriculum section, covers behavior change in Chapter 2: Psychology of Behavior Change.

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers

Gold Standard Cert
NASM Gold Standard Personal Trainer Certification - Save 25&percnt off
Most Popular Cert
ISSA - Most Popular Online Personal Trainer Certification 3 Certs for
Best Study Materials
TA - Trainer Academy - Best Study Materials for Personal Trainer Certification Online - See MVP discount
A Good Option
ACE Certification- A Good Fitness Course Online Option - 25&percnt off
A Good Option
NCSF Certification - A Good Option - Save 25%
Best CPT for you?
Best CPT For You? Take the Personal Trainer Certification Online quiz and Get a Personalized Recommendation Just for You
ISSA training certification smart goals chart

Only one chapter in the ISSA personal trainer online course covers behavior change. Thankfully, it has enough depth to be practical.

This domain of study is essential for trainers, as I don’t think a trainer can be successful without ‌mastering these training fundamentals.

You must understand how to help clients set effective goals to advance them toward their fitness goals properly. This process involves advancing them through the various stages of behavior change.

The ISSA curriculum covers these topics with practical details and effectively conveys the information.

Exercise Screening & Assessment

Chapter 7: Client Assessments covers the various screenings and other assessments you conduct on new clients before beginning an exercise program.

The screening and consultation represented in the chapter are well done.

I find the number of charts for various assessments very useful for putting a client’s fitness levels in context.

ISSA personal training certification female step test norms chart

There are numerous tests for learners to note throughout this chapter, and their uses are explained well. I believe any professional would be well off starting their career with these assessment tools and graphs.

Program Development

This section breaks down into the following chapters:

  • Chapter 8: Elements of Fitness
  • Chapter 9: Principles of Program Design
  • Chapter 10: Concepts of Flexibility Training
  • Chapter 11: Concepts of Cardiovascular Exercise
  • Chapter 12: Concepts of Resistance Training
  • Chapter 13: Exercise Selection and Technique

Program design falls within the main personal training teachings. It deals with designing resistance, aerobic, and flexibility training programs.

One of the main differentiators for the ISSA CPT is the lack of a program design model.

For example, NASM has the OPT model and ACE has its IFT model.

In the future, ISSA should implement its model to help organize the program design.

ISSA training certification principles of program design

The curriculum covers incredibly detailed resistance, aerobic, and flexibility training.

The portal also has online exercise videos through ISSA that go with each area.


These chapters cover nutrition:

  • Chapter 14: Nutrition Foundations
  • Chapter 15: Supplementation

The foundations of nutrition are covered nearly to the level of nutrition specializations.

ISSA definitely has a solid grasp of these teachings, as they are well known for the ISSA Nutritionist certification.

In my experience as a personal trainer, you will get many questions regarding nutrition, so it is very important to get this part of the text down for the health and well-being of your clients.

I like the amount of detail the ISSA text puts into the many types of diets seen in the general population and even the details for all of the macro and micronutrients.

Special Populations

The following chapters of the ISSA personal training course cover special populations training:

  • Chapter 16: Chronic Conditions
  • Chapter 17: Lifespan Populations

The special population section of the ISSA text is one of the weaker offerings and ends up in our Cons column in this review.

As a personal trainer, I have found that you must know how to work with people with special conditions. You need to have a workaround for these individuals so you can safely train them.

I have had many types of clients that I have trained, and this is just like modifying a movement for someone, except with their program.

Business aspects of training

The ISSA personal trainer course covers business skills in the following chapters:

  • Chapter 18: Business and Marketing
  • Chapter 19: Safety and Emergency Situations

One of the highlights of ISSA that differentiates itself from other CPT certifications is the focus on business teachings.

I find the coverage of the various business models seen in fitness quite useful. I also appreciate the emphasis on specialization in specific areas, like group exercise.

Course Material Conclusion

The ISSA CPT offers some beneficial study materials and focuses that set it apart. Options like guided study and exercise videos help organize and simplify the learning process for new professionals.

Certain information may be lacking when compared directly to other programs. For example, the focus on special populations and the lack of a program design model.

ISSA training certification exam prep and study materials

issa training certification study textbook - ISSA textbook open to stretching chapter with highlight

The ISSA CPT has a solid amount of information and course materials offered in the ISSA CPT package.

ISSA recommends a timeframe of about 3 months for the typical learner to master the materials and follow through with the guided study program.

Many factors can change this and make it a much longer process, like when most people work another job while learning.

Proper studying for someone with a more filled schedule will take more than this 3-month timeframe.

Check out the free PT Pioneer ISSA CPT Study System for a quick boost to your studying. This prep package includes free materials like a study guide, practice tests, and much more.

If you want to cut your study time in half, I recommend seeking out study systems with flashcards, premium study guides, audio guides, and other premium materials.

Trainer Academy has an amazing study system for the ISSA CPT program for anyone that wants to become certified as quickly as possible.

Check out the Trainer Academy ISSA CPT for a better chance at passing on your first attempt and doing so in less time.


The ISSA CPT salary will vary depending on your location and employment arrangement. According to ZipRecruiter, the ISSA certified trainers’ salary varies from $37,099 to $67,871 across the United States on a state-by-state basis. Again, its highly variable, so your specific salary will depend heavily on the specifics of your situtation.

Taking the ISSA CPT certification exam

ISSA Trainer certification exam - Tyler Read taking notes for the ISSA CPT exam

The ISSA personal trainer certification exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions; if you take the online test, it is open-book.

I believe all certified personal trainers should go for the proctored ISSA exam. Passing the proctored exam shows that you learned the materials more than with the online exam.

The ISSA exam is not a piece of cake‌. You still need to make sure you are accurately prepared for it.

The pass rate is higher than the NASM and ACE exams, but not by much. Still, around 1 in 4 people will fail the exam.

I took the exam online and found it required much prep work.

I did pass my exam on the first try, but without my decade of experience, that might not have been the case.

Overall, the difficulty of the ISSA CPT is average, and because of this, the cert gets a solid rating in this category from me.

ISSA post-certification continued education (CEUs)

The ISSA CPT follows many of the industry standards regarding recertifying and renewing your personal training cert.

The ISSA CPT requires you to complete this process every two years.

Within these two years, learners will need to earn a total of 20 continuing education credits.

Continuing education is very important for the fitness industry. It shows that professionals stay current in their teachings and offer their clients the best programs possible.

I try to ensure I complete a few hours every month or so. I make sure to ‌remind all of my friends in fitness to do the same.

The ISSA certification renewal process will cost $99 for the renewal fee, which covers two years. You will be required to show proof of a current CPR certification, just like when you are getting certified initially.

This process is a very typical CPT certification renewal.

ISSA CPT program overall rating

ISSA CPT program overall rating - ISSA trainer textbook on table with ISSA overall rating displayed
ISSA Personal Trainer Certification
ISSA Training Certification Review [year] - Is ISSA Worth It? 10

Product Brand: ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association)

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 829

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:


  • Great emphasis on exercise technique and demonstration
  • Exercise science foundation stand atop the industry
  • CPT cert recognized and used internationally
  • Elite Trainer package offers the best value in the fitness industry


  • Minimal coverage for training special populations
  • Lacks a comprehensive program framework similar to competitors (NASM OPT, ACE IFT, etc.)

The ISSA CPT receives a total rating of 4.5 out of 5 from the team. Due to its value, I would even rank it past the likes of NASM and ACE if you are looking for the best bang for your buck.

Regardless, this is one of the best personal training certifications you could achieve for your career, and the potential for specialization from this organization is nearly limitless.

ISSA trainer certification frequently asked questions (FAQs)

ISSA trainer certification frequently asked questions (FAQs) - ISSA Certified Personal Trainer textbook displayed on table with ISSA FAQs on letterboard

What is ISSA?

ISSA stands for The International Sports Sciences Association. It is one of the top health and fitness certification organizations and was founded in 1988. ISSA is well-known and respected in the industry.

What is the average ISSA Personal Trainer salary?

According to Ziprecruiter, ISSA-certified personal trainers make an annual salary ranging from about $37,000 to nearly $68,000, depending on their state of residence. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual salary for fitness trainers is about $40,000 as of 2021.

How much time do you need to study for the ISSA CPT?

The typical study time for the ISSA CPT is between 10 weeks and 5 months. If you have an exercise science background, you will likely complete this faster than the average learner.

What specializations go well with the ISSA CPT?

ISSA offers many specializations to help further its trainers’ careers and continuing education. Some popular specializations include strength and conditioning certifications, nutrition certifications, group exercise certifications, corrective exercise specialists, and more.

How long does ISSA certification last?

ISSA certification lasts for two years. You are required to recertify afterward. You must get 20 continuing education credits from ISSA-recognized certifying agencies to recertify. If you get your CEUs from ISSA, your recertification is free.


  1. ISSA: Personal Trainer Certification.
  2. ISSA: Fitness Coach. 
  3. ISSA: Elite Trainer.
  4. ISSA: Master Trainer. 
  5. ISSA: NCCA Accreditation and NCCPT Exams. 
  6. ISSA: Job Guarantee. 
  7. ISSA: ISSA Continuing Education Requirements for Recertification. 
  8. Ziprecruiter: What Is the Average ISSA Trainer Salary? By State. 
  9. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fitness Trainers and Instructors: Occupational Outlook Handbook. 

ISSA CPT Review in Video Form

ISSA Personal Trainer Certification Review [2023] - Pros/Cons, Cost and Overall Value 🤔
Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read

All Posts

PTPioneer Editorial Integrity

All content published on PTPioneer is checked and reviewed extensively by our staff of experienced personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and other Fitness Experts. This is to make sure that the content you are reading is fact-checked for accuracy, contains up-to-date information, and is relevant. We only add trustworthy citations that you can find at the bottom of each article. You can read more about our editorial integrity here.

Ask me a question and I will reply ASAP

57 thoughts on “ISSA Training Certification Review 2024 – Is ISSA Worth It?”

    • Hey Bryan, that is true. The packages changed at some point and they only include the hard copy in bundles higher than the basic package.

  1. Hi Tyler! Really great article and helpful advices. Thank you a ton!
    Can you please approx. share how long it takes to complete the Elite Trainer Program? Is it like taking first the PTC (3+months), afterwards the Sports Nutr(3+months) and the specilization of your choice (which I am not aware of how long it takes)?

    And I guess you receive the materials for the PTC then you have to complete the exam and only then you are starting with the second part – receiving Sports Nutrition materials , study -> exam etc.
    Or everything comes in a bulk and you can prioritize based on your availability?


  2. It appears that the ISSA now gives the option to test NCCA closed book/proctored for 4 of their specialties including Group Cert and CPT.

    • This is true, overall they have five separate NCCA accredited certifications. They are a fantastic organization and I think they are definitely one to consider if you are starting your career as a personal trainer.

  3. Thank you for the tons of infos! Im very interested by this ISSA certification. But im not native english speaker, will be too chalenging you think ? Do you know a certification more easy for non native ? Thank you BR

  4. Greetings,
    If i choose the issa p.t.master certification and make monthly.
    That being said if I cannot afford the monthly payments temporarily anymore.
    What options would they give me so I will not lose all that time studying money I put into it?
    Thank you for your time and consideration answering this question

    • That’s a good question, you will definitely need to contact the international sports Sciences Association to see what you can work out with them. Sorry I couldn’t help more.

  5. Hello I’ve been studying to become a trainer but stuff happened and I had to change my career. Will I be able to cancel my account with ISSA even tho I still owe like 300$ ?
    Your respond will help me a lot
    Thank you.

    • I am not quite sure. You will definitely need to contact ISSA to see if you can get any refund on your personal training certification that you purchased. Good luck in your new career change.

  6. Hi Tyler!

    Thanks in advance for all your fantastic work! Is helping me a lot!! 🙂
    I live in Europe and I heard that here, it is important to validate your studies with EREPS. I did your quiz and I want to start ISSA at the end of this month, do you think it is possible to validate these studies with EREPS?

    -Is there any discount code for ISSA? CPT comes with Sports Nutrition FOR 799$ and is a bit expensive for me. I want to just do the CPT. I read on your page that it can be found for $ 699 and if there is also a discount code that would be perfect.

    • Thanks for the kind words about my website in terms of what you were talking about with the EREPS I’m not actually sure. You’ll have to check with them to see if it does validate or not. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

  7. I know over time things change so it’s possible they have since this was written, but I had only six months to complete my ISSA certification. Also, in the exam area, you mention 200 multiple choice but that is only a portion of the exam. Otherwise the article is pretty great!

  8. Is this certification valid in india? And can we get the hard copy of the course here in india after buying the course?

    • Hey there, you will definitely need to check with your local gymnasiums to see if they accept the international sports Sciences Association certification. Most of my information is targeted towards people in North America such as Canada and the United States.

  9. Hi Tyler, Thank you for your great information. I really appreciate it.
    For the ISSA final test, I’m wondering is it still open book, tested online with a unlimited time? And could I purchase exam separately? Sorry for so many questions, I didn’t find too much information on their webpage.

    • Hey David,
      the exam to my knowledge is still open book and online. I know that they are looking to change that in the future and possibly have it be a proctored exam. But as of right now, I think it’s still the same. They have however switched to an all multiple choice exam instead of having the essay section Etc. I do believe that the exam is times now. I also do not think you can purchase the exam separately they only sell one package and it includes their study material and entrance to the exam.

    • The exam cannot be purchases separately as you must complete all sections and quizzes in order to even take the exam. This is due to the type of accreditation they hold. Which is also why it is seen as a reputable certification. With that said there IS an essay type portion of the exam and another section on top of multiple choice.

  10. They are accredited by the NCCA. I know it for a fact because I Took the proctored exam in June of 2019 and have the certificate proving it. I’m not sure where the discrepancy is.

    • Hello Megan. For a long time they were not accredited by the NCCA. At the moment I believe they have a nonaccredited version of the exam (the one that is purely taking online) and a fully NCCA accredited version of the certification you would need to take in a proctored exam facility.

    • Hello Michael, the information provided by the international sports sciences Association should work both on iPads as well as other tablet devices just fine. You should not be able to tell a difference between these two.

  11. I’m a pediatric nurse practitioner and am looking into CPT with a child/youth focus to be able to better serve the growing number of obese patients I see. NASM has a youth sport training component but it seems small compared to the youth training program through ISSA. If I’m specifically working with kids and teens, discussing nutrition and exercise to help bring BMI to normal ranges, would the 3 for 1 training with ISSA (CPT, nutrition, youth) or the NASM CPT with their youth specialization be the best option for working with this population? I’ve read through your comparison posts for these but I’m still undecided. Thanks!

    • Hello Genevieve,
      yes I think that the 3 for 1 that is provided by the international sports sciences Association would be a fantastic choice especially if you pick up the youth training program as your third option. That way you will have the personal training certification, the nutritionist certification and the youth training program which would be a very helpful combination for working with kids and teenagers. Good luck with all the studying

  12. Amazing! Very well explained. Got answers to all the questions I had lingering in the back of my mind! I greatly appreciate your time and effort you invested to helping me and other. Tank you!

    • Hey Marija,
      Glad to hear that I can help you answer some questions about the international sports Sciences Association. They are overall a fantastic personal training certification. GoodCaptain luck with all the studying!

    • Hey Danielle,
      That is 100% correct. Instead of having essay questions, case studies, true and false questions as well as multiple choice. Now they just have a 200 question multiple-choice exam. They are making some big changes and I did feel like the essay questions and case studies were super helpful for thinking critically about program design. That is important for becoming a good personal trainer. I do understand the changeover to only multiple-choice because it makes the testing process much easier and all of the other big certifying agencies also only do multiple-choice exams.

  13. Hi, I can’t find any mention of the DEAC tie with Issa. They talk about the NBFE on the website that I’ve read elsewhere that that organism wasn’t recognized by IHRSA. I am very confused. Wherever I look NCCA seems the way to go. What about Europe and Italy. I would like ultimately to work there as a trainer. Thank you.

    • Hey Alice, giving recommendations for certifications outside of the United States can be tricky. Every single country usually has different requirements for their personal trainers. A lot of the times each country has their own set of certifications that are preferred. Actually, the majority of the times this is the case. Some gyms only accept NCCA certifications, but as time goes on this is decreasing. The majority of locations will accept your ISSA certification if you decide to go this path. But, I still recommend calling the places that you want to work at and asking which training certifications they prefer and which ones they accept to be 100% sure.

  14. I am considering getting my CPT from Issa…Your website is so helpful. Do you know anything about the new test coming out in October 2019? What kind of changes have they made?

    • Hey Lori,
      Yes, I have heard some things through the grapevine in terms of the changes to the exam for the international sports sciences Association. They are getting rid of the essays, case studies, true false and matching questions as well. It will purely be 200 multiple-choice questions from what I’ve been hearing. They are not very open to divulging all of the details as of yet. I think in the future there will be an option to have an all online exam as well as a proctored exam as well. If you were to purchase right now, you would take the 200 question multiple-choice exam instead of the old version.

  15. Awesome review. Now that they have an Associates and the a newly added Bachelor’s of Exercise degree programs, I am more inclined to sign up.

    • Hey Ebony,
      I definitely agree, It is a fantastic program to join in the international sports and science Association is growing rapidly with the amount of amazing certifications they are coming out with. Good luck with all the studying

  16. Hi Tyler, I agree with everything you said on this post! And I really enjoy reading them too. I also read on another PT post that you said all certifying test should be monitored and proctored. Do you think the way ISSA has their test formatted is reason enough to believe that this certifying body is one of the best even though the test is not proctored? Thank you!

    • Hey Jeffery,
      I have slowly been changing my mind over this fact for the last few years or so. Although it does make sense for an exam to be monitored or proctored, I do believe that ISSA is one of the better personal training certifications out there. Although is not monitored, they do require you to pass different phases of their final exam such as essay questions and mock personal training client program designs. I think this is how all personal training certifications should test. A really shows that you know the knowledge by passing these written portions as opposed to only multiple-choice. This is why I think that although is not monitored in a test taking facility, it really tests your knowledge that you need in order to become a good trainer.

  17. I couldn’t get a job. I don’t think the Issa is really credible in my areas or with the gyms I’m around. I wouldn’t recommend it.

    • Hello Matthew,
      you should always check with the gymnasium that you would like to apply for before getting any personal training certification. That being said, ISSA should be accepted worldwide as it is a very legitimate and accredited certification.

    • Hey Volker, I see what you were talking about but actually they currently are not accredited by the NCCA. I don’t know why they have this page on my website because I know for a fact that they are not. However, they are working towards getting a version that is accredited by the NCCA. This would mean that the student would need to go into a test-taking facility in order to pass the exam and hold the NCCA accredited version of the ISSA exam.

  18. Hi Tyler super glad I found this review of yours, was skeptical about the ISSA and wanted to find more info so I wouldn’t be wasting my money. your article hit the right points with me and I appreciate all the hard work you put into writing thank you so much and look forward to visiting your page more often.

    • Hey Jesus,
      I am glad that you find what you are looking for in terms of the information on ISSA. Good luck with all your studying for your personal training certification and if you have any other questions, you know where to find me.

  19. Hi dude iam kesav from India i am looking for a job as a personal trainer at canada if i do issa means do i get a good opportunity over Canada can i apply for Canadans gyms directly from India then who will take care of my visa please reply me dude

    • I always recommend people to contact the gyms that they are applying for in order to see which certifications they accept before they get certified. That being said, ISSA is a fantastic certification that is accepted by almost every fitness facility I have contacted in the United States. I am fairly sure that Canada has the same view but you should always double check by contacting potential employers.

    • Hey Kevin,

      Yeah I think it can be worth it for some people that like to have a better explanation of the material. What type of learner are you? Do you do good studying right out of the ISSA textbook? If not, this can be a big help overall.

  20. Hi Tyler,
    Everything you are stating about this certification I wholeheartedly agree with. I was informed of me passing the ISSA Personal Trainer Certification on the 14th of this month. I have test anxiety really bad and that was one of the main reason why I chose this certification. However, I have my Bachelors in Health and Wellness and was able to use what I have learned to assist me with the exam. I also took what I have learned while going through the exam to test myself. Each chapter I would quiz myself before taking the quiz and reading the materials to see how much I had retained. I did that for every chapter which helped me to see where my areas of weakness were. The case studies by far were a challenge, but again it tested my knowledge to the utmost. Again, the information here is on point, thanks!

    • Hey Cholottie,

      I’m glad that you liked my review and agreed with a lot of my points. A lot of people have test anxiety and it is one of the reasons I recommend ISSA. I’m glad that you are able to get through it and are now a certified trainer so that you can begin your career helping others! Thank you for the genuine feedback and I wish you all luck!

  21. Hello Tyler!

    I love this information and I would like to take this personal training certification. Can you tell me pls how long it took you to do it? Thanksss! 🙂

    • Hey Edward,
      I hope everything on my site helped you a lot in choosing the right personal training certification for you. Good luck on your studying and with the training you will be doing in the future!


Find the best Cert for you

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The CSCS Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACSM Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Nutritionist Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NCSF CPT Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CNC Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM PES Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CES Exam


Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the ACE CPT


Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the NASM CPT


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NSCA CPT Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACE Exam