About the International Sports Science Association (ISSA)

The ISSA is the world leader in fitness education and delivers comprehensive, cognitive and practical distance education for fitness professionals, grounded in industry research, using both traditional and innovative modalities. Founded in 1988 by Dr. Sal Arria and Dr. Frederick Hatfield, the ISSA now offers 12 fitness certifications and has certified over 300,000 trainers in 143 countries.


Our Mission

Bring healthy living to everybody in the world through education and community.

Our Vision

Connect 100M people to the power of healthy living by 2030.

Core Values

  • Prioritize Personal Connection
    • We Serve Others
    • We Provide Exceptional Service
    • We Build Solid Relationships
  • Share Wellness
    • We Promote Healthy Living
    • We Have a Reciprocal Relationship with Wellness
    • We Actively Pursue Balanced Lifestyles
  • Live Grit + Resilience
    • We are Scrappy and Tenacious
    • We Tackle Obstacles Head On
    • We "Get It Done"
  • Enjoy the Drive
    • We are Results Oriented
    • We Embrace the Sometimes Wild Ride
    • We Have Fun

Accreditations and Affiliations

The IHRSA is a trade association serving the global health club and fitness industry. The mission of IHRSA is to grow, protect and promote the health and fitness industry, and to provide its members with benefits that will help them be more successful. The IHRSA is dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion.

The European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS) is an independent register of instructors, trainers and teachers working in the European health, fitness and physical activity sector.

EREPS recognises the qualifications and skills of exercise professionals and is an important assurance for the public and employers that their instructor or employee holds the appropriate qualifications to perform their role safely and effectively.

View our Certificate of Accreditation

The National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure to the public that qualified fitness professionals who have successfully passed the National Board examination have achieved an approved level of competency in the health and fitness industry. The NBFE promotes the services of qualified fitness professionals as a viable means of improving public health.

Since 1985 the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools has worked with the State's Governors, Legislature, elected officials and the numerous regulatory agencies to promote high quality education.

The New York Chiropractic College assists future doctors of chiropractic achieve their career goals, New York Chiropractic College offers a unique educational program that gives students access to many career possibilities. The mission of New York Chiropractic College is to provide leadership and academic excellence in all our degree granting programs through a commitment to quality education and patient care, research excellence, professional service, and the fostering of lifelong learning for all members of our community. ISSA is approved for continuing education credits for chiropractors through the New York Chiropractic College.

The Better Business Bureau's mission is to promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between businesses and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence. ISSA maintains a A+ rating with the BBB--the highest possible rating.

ISSA Timeline


At the age of 45, ISSA Co-Founder, Dr. Fred Hatfield, establishes a world record in the squat at 1014 pounds with a 255-pound body weight, making the achievement the most anyone had ever lifted in the history of powerlifting competition.

1988 — The International Sports Sciences Association

The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) is formed by a team of renowned fitness experts under the leadership of Sal A. Arria, DC, MSS, and Frederick C. Hatfield, Ph.D., MSS, to stem the tide of physical decline. ISSA is founded with the mission of increasing the fitness of the people on our planet by helping more fitness professionals enjoy a successful career in fitness.


ISSA launches Weekend Educational Workshops


Dr. Fred Hatfield is awarded the prestigious Alumni Citation Award from Southern Connecticut State University "In recognition of [his] extraordinary achievements and distinguished career."


The ISSA becomes the first fitness certification organization to mandate continuing education.


The ISSA sees the educational and information sharing potential and power of the Internet and launches its first online site at ISSA-USA

Summer 1995

ISSA launches ProTrainer Online Magazine

Fall 1995

Specialist in Performance Nutrition Course is launched


Strength & Conditioning Course is launched


Youth Fitness Trainer Course is launched


ISSA celebrates its 10-year anniversary


Specialist in Senior Fitness Course is launched

June 2000

Dr. Fred Hatfield is inducted into the Powerlifting Hall of Fame in York, PA


Certified Fitness Trainer final examination is offered online

Summer 2005

ISSA becomes a Provisional Affiliate of National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE)


8th edition of ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer is launched

Summer 2006

ISSA earns an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB)


New Study Guides added to all major certification courses

March 2008

3D Exercise Lab is launched


ISSA celebrates its 20-year anniversary


Public, Educational, and Provisional divisions are launched

January 2009

ISSA earns DETC accreditation

February 2009

ISSA gets listed with DANTES

April 2009

ISSA is the first fitness certification organization to receive approval from Marine, Navy, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard for Tuition Assistance for military active and reserve duty troops.

May 2009

ISSA earns official charter for Honor Society Delta Epsilon Tau

June 2009

ISSA launches new Specialist Fitness Nutrition course authored by John Berardi

August 2009

ISSA receives GiJobs Military Friendly School honor

August 2010

ISSA receives GiJobs Military Friendly School honor for the second year in a row

November 2010

ISSA launches 10 week Guided Study On Track lecture and audio series


ISSA launches LIRN library for College of Exercise Science

April 2011

ISSA begins offering Members Free Professional Website for business purposes

June 2011

ISSA Launches Public Division For the Health of It monthly newsletter

July 2011

ISSA becomes official SOCs member

August 2011

ISSA receives its third consecutive GiJobs Military Friendly School honor

September 2011

ISSA earns VA approval

October 2011

ISSA earns licensing from CA BPPE

November 2011

ISSA earns full Affiliate status with the NBFE


ISSA launches Thank a Vet — Hire a Vet national campaign


Champions Youth Fitness teams up with KidShape 2.0 and ISSA to boost youth fitness


ISSA achieves National Accreditation through DEAC


ISSA busts the myth that one-size-fits-all diets work


Huffington Post names ISSA one of the top Personal Training Certifications in America


ISSA recognized as DEAC Outstanding Distance Education Program


Andrew Wyant, former National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) president, becomes President and CEO of ISSA. The global leader in fitness and nutrition education shapes ISSA's new headquarters in Arizona


ISSA launches first certification for DNA-Based fitness training programs


ISSA Certified Trainer Shannon Decker receives 2019 DEAC Famous Alumni Award


Rich Brown joins ISSA from Digital Air Strike as the new CIO


ISSA releases Fitness Certification Program tailored to military veterans and their families looking to make fitness training a career


Rachael Cordova joins ISSA from Manifest as the new CFO


ISSA launches partnership with leading online fitness and allied healthcare professionals organization, MedFit Network and MedFit Education Foundation


DNA-Based Fitness Coach program is launched


ISSA acquires NCCPT (National Counsel of Certified Personal Trainers), adding accredited


Yoga Certification course is launched


Weight Management Instructor course is launched


Powerlifting Instructor course is launched


Online Coaching Certification course is launched


Lifespan Coach Certification course is launched

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Hear how ISSA has helped students like you

Eva Ebersole

The book is well illustrated and supported with diagrams and photos helping to clarify the information in each unit.

Eva Ebersole

Brendan O'Day

I found ISSA, and let me tell you it changed everything. I'm now a product of my passion, I get to share my love with my clients on a daily basis.

Brendan O'Day

Hear how ISSA has helped students like you

Yudishteer Seewooruttun

The ISSA certified personal trainer program is the best experience of my life.

Yudishteer Seewooruttun

Kshitij Mishra

I thank ISSA, their entire team for designing such a course and helping me to make my passion a Profession.

Kshitij Mishra

Ryan Milton

I simply have not ever enjoyed a certification as much as I did this one. This is by far my favorite and I thought the entire program was very well worded and engaging.

Ryan Milton

Alisa Wagner

Thanks to ISSA, I am able to compete and win in bodybuilding competitions despite my day job, and I am honored to help others achieve their personal health aspirations amid their busy schedules.

Alisa Wagner

Walter Sadiq Daniels

I have no complaints and I will always proudly display my certification and recommend you to all I know. You have given me a foundation for my future.

Walter Sadiq Daniels

Helene Bingley

I have already recommended ISSA to people who have reached out to me inquiring about my satisfaction and thoughts and I will continue to do so.

Helene Bingley

Joel Bunche

I highly recommend anyone who is in this field or career and to take ISSA, they are very helpful, professional and they help you expand in the personal training, fitness and healthy lifestyle.

Joel Bunche

Camila Xavier

Although English is not my first language, I can tell you all that it was easy to assimilate all the terms and accomplish the course.

Camila Xavier

Eva Ebersole

The book is well illustrated and supported with diagrams and photos helping to clarify the information in each unit.

Eva Ebersole

Tanya Feliciano

The ISSA courses are wonderful. I love being able to work at my own pace. They have so many certifications to choose from. ISSA has really helped take my career to the next level.

Tanya Feliciano

Melissa Remoli

I found it to be challenging, informative, and very current. ISSA provides great communication and they are always there from start to finish.

Melissa Remoli

Omar A. Mahgoub

Being in ISSA family is my first steps in my international career, gold's gym trust Issa trainers, all world.

Omar A. Mahgoub

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