A Review of The ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) Personal Trainer Course and Certification

I'll start this off and tell you that the ISSA Personal Trainer Course and Certification is the one I took to get my own fitness trainer certification. I'll attempt to review the program objectively.

The two primary reasons I took the ISSA course are firstly, the reputation of the company and secondly, that I could take the course at home on my own time.

Five years ago, when I completed it, the ISSA personal trainer course was essentially a correspondence course. The course materials, text and workbooks, were much the same as now. This option is still available but now ISSA offers an online version of the program where you can take your quizzes online.

Course Content:

  • Fitness: The Complete Guide (727 pages)
  • CFT Study Guide and Workbook
  • The Complete Guide to Fiscal Fitness-Marketing & Business Guide (soft-bound book)
  • ISSA Fitness Science, Nutrition and Sports Medicine Video featuring ISSA founders Dr. Sal Arria & Dr. Frederick Hatfield (online only)
  • CFT Practice Examination and Sample answers packet
  • Personal Training Certification Home Study Section Quizzes (Once you have submitted at least 66% of your course quizzes, you will be sent your official Home Study final examination.)
  • CFT Online Section Quizzes (Should you choose to complete your quizzes online, once you have submitted at least 66% of them, you will granted access to your final examination.)

ISSA is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), which is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency, and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Programs Offered:

  • Certified Fitness Trainer
  • Specialist in Performance Nutrition
  • Specialist in Sports Conditioning
  • Fitness Therapy
  • Youth Fitness Trainer
  • Specialist in Fitness for Older Adults
Program Features:

The ISSA Personal Trainer Course covers a broad range of relevent topics including anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, supplementation, personalized diet and exercise programming, flexibility techniques, and sports medicine for the fitness professional.

  • Continual Professional Updates

    Each day, new articles appear on the ISSA web site and every week, specific articles for fitness professionals appear on ISSA's Pro-Trainer web site. Members also receive free access to hundreds of health, fitness, and nutrition articles, as well as Medline and five other medical databases.

  • Technical Support

    ISSA provides you with toll-free phone support while you're studying, and even after you're certified. Specialists are available to assist you, either by phone or online, while you're studying. After you're certified, they are available to help you with any questions about training your clients.

  • Business Support

    ISSA is the only personal trainer course that offers a business guide that teaches you, step by step, how to turn your career as a Personal Trainer into a lucrative business. They also provide, at no charge, counseling and guidance on all the business aspects of personal training.

  • Flexibility of Study

    ISSA fitness trainer courses are offered through both independent study and weekend seminars. All courses are self-paced, allowing for individual differences in learning abilities.

Observations and Comments:

The ISSA Personal Trainer Course and certification was a challenge for me even though I had been involved with fitness and exercise for some time and had qualified as a YMCA Fitness Instructor.

The challenge was in the fact that the course materials went deeply into exercise science. We were taught the importance of understanding how the body responds to exercise so that, as a trainer, we could prescribe the right types of exercise, in the right amounts at the right times. This is very important in order to help people and not injure them.

Many quiz questions centered around what to do for given clients with various physical characteristics and limitations. How would we structure an exercise program?

That might sound tough and scary but the answers were taught to us in the text and getting it right became second nature. This was a huge confidence builder.

Well after graduating and starting my own fitness studio, I had a new client with very different physical limitations. While I was working out a program for her, I wanted another opinion just to confirm my own. I simply emailed ISSA with my question and proposed program and one of the instuctors quickly emailed back supporting what I was doing and adding a couple of suggestions. It is nice to have them as a knowledge resource even after the personal trainer course is done.

All of the personal trainer courses and schools reviewed on our site are top quality. ISSA is the one I took and can speak about with the most experience. I've now been in business for myself in my own studio for over 5 years and I'm as busy as I want to be, mostly from word-of-mouth referrals. ISSA gave me the confidence to do something I love.

I believe the various courses now cost $595. But I think there is a large discount in place of $100 for one course and $250 if you enroll in two courses but there is a time limit on the discount.

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