An image featuring a personal trainer instructing a client in a gym setting. The trainer, wearing a blue shirt, is demonstrating proper exercise form, while the client attentively follows instructions. The left side of the image includes text that reads "Achieving Success with ISSA Certification" in bold white letters, with "Guide to ISSA Personal Trainer Certification" in a smaller font below it. The "INSURE FITNESS GROUP" logo is displayed in an orange rectangle at the bottom. This image is related to content discussing the benefits and guide to obtaining an ISSA Personal Trainer Certification.

The A to Z Guide to ISSA Personal Trainer Certification

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Personal trainers are in incredibly high demand as the fitness industry has exploded in recent years. For anyone who loves the gym, making the leap to personal training as a career can be an easy and rewarding decision. ISSA personal trainer certification is one of the most widely recognized certs in the fitness biz so we decided to take a deep dive into all the in’s and out’s of what it takes to secure the coveted “CPT” designation.

We’ll cover everything aspiring trainers need to know as they seek ISSA CPT certification and how this course can propel your career as a recognized fitness professional.

What is ISSA Personal Trainer Certification?

ISSA is the International Sports Sciences Association and has been around for decades now as a pioneer in health science and fitness education. ISSA offers a number of different speciality certifications but their core offering is the Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) designation which they describe as “blends science-based research with real-world application”. What’s really important about this certification and the others that ISSA offers is that they are independently accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). NCCA is pretty much the gold standard for fitness certifications so if you are exploring different programs and don’t see that, it’s a good idea to look elsewhere.

ISSA also offers a number of different routes to progress through its CPT program. There’s an intensive 4-week course that’s ideal for highly experienced trainers seeking to get certification to recognize all of their intrinsic knowledge. The more traditional approach is the twelve-month program with a current rate of $99.00 per month. ISSA also runs a number of different promotions throughout the year where additional classes are included at lower prices or even free with certain programs. For instance, their current offer for the ISSA Certified Personal Trainer 12-month program also includes a nutritionist course, a CPR/AED certification program, and a fast-track Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) program.

Benefits of Personal Trainer Certification

Having your CPT certification from a globally-recognized fitness educator like ISSA is a huge step in showcasing your professionalism as a personal trainer. Even if you have all of the experience in the world, that knowledge can be hard to convey to new clients.

A few of the many benefits you can expect from completing the ISSA certified trainer program can include:

  • Demonstrate Aptitude: Having that certification shows that you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to pass a comprehensive program that envelopes just about every aspect of effective training.
  • Learn Additional Skills: You can have years of experience as a trainer and still will most likely learn something you didn’t know from the program. There’s also additional opportunities to focus on specific areas of interest like powerlifting or group exercise.
  • Higher Earnings Potential: If all of that was not enough motivation, personal trainers with their certification make more according to the job site Indeed.

If you truly want to stand out among what can be a pretty competitive market, CPT certification is a great first step. Combined with investing yourself in providing great sessions and solid results, the certification provides an easier way to market the value of your services.

Information Covered During Personal Training Certification

The course covers a wide range of different topics on the road to helping you become a more well-rounded personal trainer. There’s training in how to assess a client’s fitness level and how to help them set goals that provide results, understanding of basic anatomy and movement, safety courses, diet and nutrition, exercise science, psychology of motivation, and even business and marketing skills taught throughout the course.

What to Expect During the ISSA Personal Trainer Course

The ISSA CPT program was set out to help trainers succeed. Yes, the content and coursework can be challenging at times, but just like your sessions with clients, pushing yourself and staying focused is going to provide the best results.

As you progress through the program you can expect:

  • To study and take exams at your own pace using the cutting-edge online education curriculum provided by ISSA.
  • To gain practical, real-world knowledge that can immediately be put to use in your everyday sessions.
  • Gain the support of ISSA staff trainers, who may love fitness even more than you do. They have something called “student success coaches” who are there just to provide you with support before, during, and even after you complete the program.
  • Gain more opportunities. ISSA is recognized globally so gyms and fitness clubs that see your certification will know it’s a solid one.
  • Opportunities for continuing education. ISSA has tons of additional courses and continuing education workshops for specializations.

The bottom line, the program is exhaustive and you will cover a lot of ground throughout your coursework. With a self-paced curriculum, you are the master of your own fate and can create a manageable course load that gets you across the finish line on your own timetable.

How the ISSA Personal Trainer Certification Course Works

Once you sign up for the ISSA training course and pay your dues, you get instant access to the program and all the coursework. There are online textbooks that you can jump into from day one to start your studies. The ISSA website states that studying 1-2 hours per day helps most students finish the course in 8-10 weeks. Audio and video lectures help keep you engaged as you work through an online workbook. There are student forums to help discuss the material you’re learning and even a full CPT education boot camp to help you map out successfully completing the program.

Along the way, you’ll need to complete practice quizzes to help make sure you are absorbing the material. These act as a great way to help prepare for the final exam. When you reach the end of the course, you take an open-book, untimed exam that’s cumulative for everything that’s covered. Depending on the program you choose, there are also bonuses included like a free NCCPT accredited exam, an acceleration tool to help you find new clients fast, help sessions, practical skills assessments, and even live training experience. The cherry on top is a free professional website to help jumpstart your new business.

Different Programs Available to CPTs from ISSA

Just within the certified personal trainer sphere, you have a lot of different choices with ISSA. There’s the base certified personal trainer, an elite personal trainer, and even a master personal trainer course. Each of these levels provides the base certified trainer certification and then advanced classes are taught with each ascending level.

ISSA also has many different “bundled” programs out there like CPT plus nutritionist. Since clients are often asking you what you recommend in terms of diet and exercise, these bundles can be a no-brainer and are quite affordable.

Aside from these, there are dozens of additional specializations from ISSA. Everything from Tactical Conditioning Specialist to Senior Fitness Certification can be obtained to help you stand out in the specific niche of fitness in which you choose to operate.

Job Guarantee After Graduating ISSA CPT Program

One of the best values we saw with ISSA is their “Find a Job or Your Money Back Guarantee”. Once you pass the ISSA personal trainer exam and the NCCPT accredited proctored exam, you just need to interview with at least three gyms in six months. If you’ve met the basic requirements for employment like background checks and drug tests, and you still don’t have a job after six months, ISSA will refund the cost of the course fee in full.

Evaluating Your Readiness to Begin the ISSA Certified Personal Trainer Program

Even with everything that comes with CPT certification from ISSA, it’s still a big decision to decide to take the program on. There’s a monetary cost, as well as time, effort, and energy that will be required for the next several months of your life. However, if you’re serious about turning your passion for fitness into a career, certification through ISSA is a great place to start. They even provide a free evaluation course that can help you evaluate whether the decision to proceed is right for you.

Starting a Personal Training Career That’s Solid From Day One

Insure Fitness Group is all about supporting fitness professionals at every step of their career and if certification through ISSA can help you become a better trainer, then, we’re all for it. But having all of the credentials out there and tons of experience can evaporate in an instant if you don’t set up safeguards from the very beginning. That’s where personal trainer insurance comes in.

Insurance is a risk management tool you can set up as a wall of protection around your new career. Fitness training is exceptionally involved and personal trainers, unfortunately, face a lot of risks. Insure Fitness helps you to cost-effectively get all-inclusive insurance made just for personal trainers. In just a few minutes online, you can secure millions in coverage, instant access to plan docs, and tons of great benefits included free.

Meet The Author:

Parker Franklin

Parker, IFG’s Brand Manager since 2022, began his wellness journey in 2020, leading to a significant personal transformation. He holds a journalism degree from Murray State University and started his career as an award-winning journalist in western Kentucky before transitioning into marketing and PR. At IFG, Parker is responsible for writing content, managing The Fit newsletter, and overseeing promotions and collaborations with affiliate fitness organizations.