ISSA Personal Trainer Certification Review: Pros and Cons, Costs, and Overall Value

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Review Summary:

Are you passionate about fitness and physical activity? Are you interested in inspiring others to embrace a more active lifestyle and find fulfillment in their workouts? Are you seeking a fresh career path or aiming to enhance your existing one? Or perhaps you’re simply enthusiastic about acquiring new knowledge? If any of these resonates with you, ISSA offers a flexible online platform, a comprehensive curriculum, and a supportive community of professionals.

  • PROS:
  • Wide recognition
  • Specialization options
  • Practical emphasis
  • Business support
  • CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Competitiveness among trainers who hold ISSA qualifications
  • Large time investment
  • Less recognized in some markets

Quick Facts:

Founded: 1988
Price: $999-$2,388
Beginner Friendly: Yes

Risk of Injury: Minimal
Founded by: Sal Arria Frederick Hatfield
Target Audience: All levels

Benefits Expected?: Get a job guaranteed, NCCA accredited, accepted at 10,000 gyms, highest customer reviews


When it comes to choosing a reputable and recognized certification for becoming a personal trainer, the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) is hands-down one of the best options in the game. 

ISSA has been a key player in the fitness industry, offering certification programs that prepare individuals for a successful career in personal training. Nearly half a million trainers and fitness lovers from 174 countries chose ISSA. 

Let’s discuss the details of the ISSA certification, its pros, and cons, associated costs, and whether it’s worth pursuing. We’ll also touch on other certification options, reviews from individuals who have obtained the ISSA certification, and address some common FAQs.

What Is An ISSA Certification?

The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) is an organization that provides fitness education and certification for individuals aspiring to become personal trainers. Their certification programs cover a wide range of topics that encompasses a diverse range of subjects, including:

  • Exercise science
  • Nutrition
  • Program design
  • Injury prevention
  • Client communication. 

Founded in 1988, ISSA has emerged as a leading authority in the field of fitness education and certification, fostering a legacy of producing competent and knowledgeable fitness professionals. ISSA’s certification is recognized globally and holds significant credibility within the fitness industry.

Increasing your experience can help you to deliver your client’s safe and effective exercise programs and usage. This will ensure that the exercises go smoothly, without any injury or complete exhaustion.

How to Become a Personal Trainer with ISSA

To become a certified personal trainer through ISSA, you need to complete their certification program. This typically involves the following steps:

  • Choose the certification program that suits your goals (e.g., Certified Personal Trainer, Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, etc.).
  • Enroll in the chosen program.
  • Study the provided materials, which may include textbooks, online lectures, and practice quizzes.
  • Pass the final exam, which may be taken online, untimed, and open-book
  • If you fail, the re-test costs $50 per re-take, unless you purchased one of the study, plans with unlimited re-tests.
  • Once you pass the exam, you will receive your ISSA certification.

ISSA Certification Benefits

  • Flexibility: ISSA offers online certification programs, allowing you to study at your own pace from the comfort of your home.
  • Comprehensive Content: The ISSA curriculum covers a wide array of topics, equipping you with well-rounded fitness knowledge.
  • Global Recognition: ISSA is recognized in many countries, which can enhance your employability worldwide.
  • Business Support: ISSA provides resources on how to start and manage your personal training business.
  • Continuing Education: ISSA offers opportunities for continuing education to keep your knowledge up-to-date.

According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, personal trainers can motivate their clients, and provide psychological enforcement in the profession toward goal attainment. Therefore, a career with ISSA can help you provide essential value to fitness enthusiasts and gym-goers everywhere.

ISSA Certification Disadvantages

  • Self-Study: Online learning requires self-discipline and motivation, which can be challenging for some individuals.
  • Less Hands-On Experience: While ISSA covers practical aspects, some other certifications might offer more practical training components.
  • Varied Quality of Trainers: The quality of ISSA-certified trainers can vary based on individual study efforts and dedication.

Cost of ISSA Certification

The cost of ISSA certification varies depending on the program you choose. You can take a survey the find the perfect program for you. Generally, prices can range from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars. See ISSA Specialization Courses below:

  • Certified Personal Trainer: $83.25/month
  • Nutritionist: $53.27/month
  • Bodybuilding Specialist: $53.27/month
  • Online Coach: 53.27/month 
  • CPR/AED Certification Program: $49.00

The monthly plans are for 12 months (interest-free). Ready to earn the job… and the respect of fitness professionals? Enroll now with massive savings using our exclusive discount link

Is the ISSA CPT Worth It?

Whether ISSA certification is worth it depends on your goals, preferences, and budget. ISSA offers a comprehensive curriculum and global recognition, making it a valuable choice for those looking to become personal trainers. 

We would rank this certification in our top three. Yes, ISSA provides excellent value and is certainly worth the cost, but you may be able to find superior value with other brands such as the NCSF. However, individuals seeking more hands-on training might consider alternative certifications.

Other Personal Certifications

There are several other reputable certification options in the fitness industry, such as NASM, ACE, NSCA, and ACSM. Each has its own strengths and focuses, so it’s important to research and choose the one that aligns best with your career aspirations.

Luckily for you, we’ve done a best personal certification round-up review on these courses and ranked them based on the NCCA accreditation, Get A Job Guarantees, and customer reviews. 

ISSA Certification Reviews

Reviews from individuals who have obtained the ISSA certification are mixed. Some praise the flexibility and comprehensive content of the programs, while others feel that more practical experience would have been beneficial. It has over 12,100 customer reviews averaging 4.7 stars across the net—pretty good if you ask me. 

Take Your Training Further With Gymless

At Gymless, we specialize in bodyweight training, otherwise called calisthenics. It allows you to train anywhere and anytime with minimal equipment. We have plenty of resources and tutorials on pushing, pulling, core, and lower body exercises for you to model and program for either yourself or your clients.

Think of this as a library of the best bodyweight exercises demonstrated with articles, infographics, and videos and help you become fitter and stronger in a shorter amount of time. 

Whether you want to become a personal trainer or simply get in better shape, advanced knowledge of calisthenics exercises such as those listed above can help you get there.

ISSA Certification Frequently Asked Questions (5 FAQs)

Most gyms accept ISSA-certified trainers, but requirements can vary.

This varies based on your pace, but it can typically be completed within a few months.

No, ISSA programs are designed to accommodate both beginners and experienced individuals.

ISSA strives to keep its curriculum current, but it’s recommended to cross-reference with the latest fitness research.

ISSA Personal Reviews: Our Final Thoughts

We believe that the ISSA certification truly opens up an amazing journey toward becoming a personal trainer and becoming more knowledgeable in fitness. Its worldwide recognition, diverse curriculum, and dedicated business guidance come together to create an invaluable choice for those embarking on a fitness career.

Nonetheless, the self-paced learning approach and the possibility of limited practical exposure might not suit hands-on learners. As you weigh the option of ISSA certification or another, such as the prestigious NCSF certification, remember that the key lies in harmonizing your decision with your career aspirations and the way you best absorb knowledge.

Overall, the ISSA certification is worth the cost and we would rate this a 9 out of 10 —however, it’s up to you whether your learning style suits their self-directed approach. 

If you want to become the personal trainer you wish you had once upon a time, we recommend trying out ISSA. The certification is accepted in over 10,000 gyms globally and you will get lots of support along the way. Enroll today using our exclusive discount link here.

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