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Is ISSA Certification Worth It? Yes, and Here’s Why

Is ISSA Certification Worth It? Yes, and Here’s Why

Reading Time: 6 minutes 45 seconds


DATE: 2024-04-15

Are you interested in working as a fitness coach or trainer? Maybe your goal is to be a nutrition or health coach. You can get certified in each of these roles. 

Because certification does require an investment of both time and money, you may wonder whether it’s worth it. When it comes to ISSA certification specifically, it is. Here’s why.

International Sports Sciences Association Is Nationally Recognized 

International Sports Sciences Association, also known as ISSA for short, is a nationally recognized training organization. Its personal training certification is accepted at thousands of gyms. This is important for a few reasons. 

Choosing a recognized trainer academy means that a future employer is more likely to accept your certification. It also assures that you’ll obtain a standard level of education.

ISSA is affiliated with several other reputable fitness organizations, such as:

  • International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)

  • Yoga Alliance

  • National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE)

Earning your ISSA certification offers benefits related to these relationships. For example, ISSA’s yoga instructor course is approved by the Yoga Alliance. This partnership enables you to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) after completing the yoga certification course. Gaining this credential can further enhance your credibility as a yoga teacher. It helps build your fitness trainer resume.

Additionally, ISSA’s subsidiary, the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) offers several National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited exams, which enables ISSA to offer fitness professionals a wide variety of fitness certifications. The most commonly accepted personal trainer certifications are those associated with the NCCA.

ISSA has also been named one of the fastest-growing private companies in the southwestern U.S., earning a spot on the Inc. 5000 list. Getting your certification with ISSA makes you part of this growing fitness organization.

So, ISSA has a solid reputation within the health and fitness industry. That’s great, but this may still not answer whether ISSA certification is worth it for you. Before determining this, it’s important to be clear on what certification means.

What It Means to Be ISSA Certified

Having your certification means that you passed a competency exam. Some feel that the exam is hard, but it should be. Its goal is to make sure you know the information needed to work in a particular fitness role. 

The certification exam also ensures that you’re able to apply your knowledge in a real-world environment. So, it must cover a lot of information, some of it in depth. This can make the exam feel somewhat difficult. But it’s also necessary to make sure you’re ready for (and successful in) your desired role.

Before taking a certification exam, you must generally complete a training course. This course provides the knowledge and skills needed for that role. 

For example, let’s say you want a personal trainer certification. In this case, you need to know about anatomy, physiology, and how the body responds to exercise. You must also know how to develop an exercise program and how to modify that program based on a client’s individual needs. A certification training program provides all this information. 

Retaining your ISSA certification also requires that you take continuing education courses. These courses ensure that you stay current in the field. New research and advancements are occurring all the time. Staying up on these changes is important when training clients. You want to use the best approaches and methods based on what is known at the time.

Is ISSA Certification Worth It?

An ISSA certification is an investment. It takes some effort to complete a certification program. But this effort is worth it, for several reasons. 

Having an ISSA certification can expand your career options. Being certified tells employers that you can get their clients results. Some employers require this credential from their trainers and coaches. Without you, you may be limiting where you can work. 

Maybe your dream job is to train athletes. Being certified tells this clientele that you know how to improve their athletic performance. This makes you more of a “sure bet” as a trainer. They have greater trust and confidence in you from the beginning. (Trainers for pro athletes are also often paid more. So, they also typically demand higher qualifications—including certification.)

Another benefit of ISSA certification is that it validates your expertise. Put yourself in a client’s shoes. Imagine that you want to get fit. You can choose between a personal trainer and an ISSA-certified personal trainer. Who would you choose? Or maybe you want to learn to eat healthier. One coach has an ISSA nutrition certification, and the other isn’t certified at all. Which one do you select? You’re likely more drawn to a trainer or coach with certification. Your clients will feel the same.

ISSA certification also provides access to fitness mentors. You’re given a dedicated Success Coach to help you during your studies. You also gain access to nearly half a million others who’ve chosen an ISSA certification program. This gives you a huge network to draw from as you pursue your fitness career path. 

What If I Don’t Plan to Work as a Fitness Coach or Instructor?

There is still value in earning an ISSA certification if you don’t plan to work as a trainer or coach. The main benefit is that you can apply what you learn to yourself. 

Maybe you want to lose weight. Or you want to build muscle or improve your athletic performance. The ISSA personal training certification course covers all these areas. You can take what you learn and design your own workout program. You will also know how to modify your training as your fitness improves.

Or maybe you have a chronic health condition and want to feel as good as you can. ISSA’s health coach course teaches you several effective strategies. It covers some of the most common health conditions and the lifestyle modifications that can help. If you are recovering from an injury, you can learn helpful exercises in ISSA’s exercise therapy certification course.

You can also use information from an ISSA certification course to improve the lives of your loved ones. You don’t have to charge them for your time. But imagine how good it would feel to give them some evidence-backed fitness advice. This would make an ISSA certification program more than worth it!

It can also be worth it if you simply have a passion for fitness. Some people just enjoy learning. They want to know everything they can about fitness, nutrition, and other health topics. An ISSA certification course can help quench this thirst for knowledge. 

ISSA Certification Review Ratings and Comments

Online reviews provide even more insight. They suggest that countless people who’ve earned an ISSA certification have found these programs helpful. 

ISSA has a 4.7-star rating on Trustpilot. That’s after more than 13,000 reviews. Some of the reviews of the personal training courses include:

  • The courses are very simple to study but very good and to the point information.” C. Lopez

  • The student success team was awesome with answering questions and guiding me through my courses.” A. Brown

  • Simply the best way to get your certifications!” T. Peretz

  • The course material is well written, and the support from the ISSA team is outstanding.” P. Glodis

One ISSA review sums it up by saying, “Upon finishing the course you will feel knowledgeable and ready to train.” That is the goal of each ISSA certification program.

ISSA Certification Options

International Sports Sciences Association offers several certification options. The most foundational is its personal trainer certification. This course covers basic fitness and exercise topics. It also discusses nutrition and supplements.

ISSA offers additional courses beyond its personal trainer certification. This enables you to learn more about (and earn a certification in) a specialized area. 

Some of your ISSA certification options include:

  • Group Exercise Instructor Certification

  • Yoga Fundamentals Certification

  • Glute Specialist Certification 

  • Bodybuilding Specialist Certification

  • Powerlifting Instructor Certification

  • Corrective Exercise Specialist Certification

  • Exercise Therapy Specialist Certification 

  • Exercise Recovery Specialist Certification

  • DNA-Based Fitness Coach Certification

  • Senior Fitness Instructor Certification

  • Tactical Conditioning Coach Certification

  • Online Coach Certification 

  • Health Coach Certification

  • Nutritionist Certification

  • Weight Management Specialist Certification

How to Choose the Best ISSA Certification for You

With so many certification options, you may have trouble choosing one. If you plan to work as a trainer or coach, it helps to consider what type of client you’d like to work with. 

For example, a certified personal trainer can work with a broad range of clients. But maybe you’d love nothing more than train military personnel or first responders. In this case, becoming a certified tactical conditioning specialist could help you achieve this goal.

Also consider what type of help you want to provide. Want to help your fitness clients with their diet as well as their exercise? As an ISSA nutritionist, you can provide them with personalized eating plans. This helps them attack their goals in a couple of different ways, improving their results.

Another question to ask yourself is how you want to train your clients. Do you want to meet them in person or offer virtual sessions? If it’s the latter, ISSA’s online coach certification teaches the ins and outs of being an online personal trainer.

You also don’t have to choose just one certification program. You could take several ISSA courses. International Sports Sciences Association offers a few different trainer certification bundles:

  • Fitness coach bundle, which includes 3 certification courses 

  • Elite trainer bundle, which includes 6 certification courses

  • Master trainer bundle, which includes 7 certification courses

Being an elite trainer or master trainer tells both employers and clients about your expansive expertise. It also enables you to pursue multiple certification options at a discounted rate. Both the elite trainer and master trainer bundles cost less than purchasing each course independently.

If you’re new to the fitness world, ISSA Personal Training Certification is a good place to start. This course provides the foundation needed to work as a fitness professional. It’s also the perfect stepping stone to other specializations, whatever your fitness career goals.

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