ISSA Private Coach Certification Evaluation (2023 Replace)

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My journey to turning into a licensed private coach started after I hit rock-bottom. Between utterly abandoning the fitness center, spending an excessive amount of time sitting at a desk, and consuming absolutely anything I needed, I packed on various kilos (about 70, to be precise) in the course of the first two years of the pandemic. With a wider-than-ever waistline and a lower-than-ever degree of self-confidence, I lastly needed to embrace the concept of doing issues in another way.

Nonetheless, little did I do know that forming basic habits like lifting weights a minimum of 4 days every week and reducing out processed meals would quick observe me down a wholly new profession path. As I noticed the quantity on the dimensions drop from an all-time excessive of 285 kilos into the 240s, I gained a brand new appreciation for the self-discipline and information it takes to construct muscle, lose fats, and reshape your mindset.

Impressed to assist different individuals obtain their very own bodily health objectives, I confronted the pivotal resolution of selecting a private coaching certification program. After weighing my choices, I went with one which’s NCCA-accredited, offers a well-rounded curriculum, and provides a ton of helpful assets and examine supplies: the Worldwide Sports activities Science Affiliation (ISSA). I rapidly realized why it’s some of the widespread certs within the health trade. This ISSA private coach certification evaluate will provide you with an outline of this system design, spotlight its strengths and weaknesses, and tackle incessantly requested questions so you may have all of the solutions.

Key Takeaways

  • At a worth level of about $1,000, this private coaching certification program is a superb approach to break into the health trade, particularly for these with out a formal training in train science.
  • ISSA clearly has your success in thoughts with many various methods to help your studying journey. Along with a whole slate in fact supplies, they’ve a job placement device, web site builder, shopper consumption kinds, and a step-by-step enterprise information — all of which come included together with your buy of the non-public coaching certification course.
  • A program design that features audio and video lectures, studying assignments, and a workbook accommodates all studying types. Plus, the ISSA web site has further assets for these focused on specializations like powerlifting and diet teaching.

Who’s the Worldwide Sports activities Sciences Affiliation?

The ISSA was fashioned in 1988 by a crew of health specialists with the aim of stemming the tide of physical decline and serving to aspiring professionals get pleasure from a profitable profession in health. Almost 4 many years later, the group stays a pillar within the health trade, with greater than 400,000 graduates throughout 174 international locations, per the ISSA web site.Moreover their private coaching certification program, ISSA provides health professionals a wide range of different certification choices, together with Nutritionist, Corrective Train Specialist, Bodybuilding Specialist, and Kickboxing Teacher.

The certifications issued by the ISSA are accredited by the Nationwide Fee for Certifying Companies (NCCA) and the Distance Schooling and Educating Council (DETC), each of that are nationally acknowledged accrediting organizations. They’re additionally affiliated with top-tier organizations just like the Worldwide Well being, Racquet, and Sportsclub Affiliation. ISSA companions with many business gyms and native health amenities that you simply in all probability already prepare at, which suggests you recognize that your certifications will maintain worth.

ISSA Private Coach Certification Course Highlights

Personal trainer Stephen Sheehan holding his certificate from the ISSA.

Whether or not you choose their Licensed Private Coach, Elite Coach, or Grasp Coach program, ISSA offers you entry to all of the instruments it’s good to succeed, together with a complete guided examine program full with a textbook, audio and video lectures, and quizzes (one for every chapter). Though you may have six months to finish the CPT course, it sometimes takes about 10 weeks. The ISSA even provides a $99 Quick Monitor program that gives an accelerated examine information so you may go at your individual tempo, skip the quizzes, and transfer on to the ultimate examination. 

I saved it easy by signing up for the usual CPT course, which took me about 4 weeks to finish with about two hours of examine time per day. At round $1,000, it’s cheaper than the Elite Coach and Grasp Coach applications. The textbook contained a wealth of data on every part from vitality techniques to train routines, and the lectures and quizzes bolstered these ideas.

All your laborious learning culminates in a closing examination that consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. You will need to earn a minimum of a 75 % to return out on the plus aspect of the go/no go grading system. However don’t sweat for those who get test anxiety — the check is each open-book and untimed (it took me about an hour and a half).

Plus, ISSA stands out from different organizations by providing free retests. General, the examination is extra about making use of the ideas fairly than merely memorizing muscle teams and macronutrient specifics, so it’s extra useful to real-world situations.

From the time you join the certification program, the crew — which incorporates enrollment specialists, a hit coach, and bootcamp instructors — makes each effort to see you succeed with steering and help. It’s as much as you to contact them if you would like or want further assist. You’ll additionally want focus and a focus to element to not solely put together for the ultimate examination, but in addition have the arrogance and instruments wanted to teach future purchasers.

Who Ought to Get the ISSA Private Coach Certification

  • Anybody who desires to channel their ardour for well being and health into turning into a licensed private coach.
  • Individuals who wish to be taught at their very own tempo. The guided examine portion of this certification permits you to blast via the data you’re snug with and take deep dives into new materials.
  • Those that wish to be their very own boss. ISSA contains a lot of classes on advertising and marketing and gross sales so you can begin (and develop) your individual private coaching enterprise.

Who Shouldn’t Get the ISSA Private Coach Certification

  • Anybody who desires to teach on the collegiate or skilled degree will seemingly want a minimum of a bachelor’s diploma in kinesiology or train science and a private coaching certification from the Nationwide Academy of Sports activities Medication (NASM) or the Nationwide Energy and Conditioning Affiliation (NSCA).
  • When you simply wish to be taught extra about figuring out and lifting however don’t anticipate to work as a private coach, there are cheaper and directed methods to take action.
  • Those that solely wish to present food regimen and nutrition recommendation ought to go for the ISSA Nutritionist specialization or one other dietician-related certification.

How A lot Does the ISSA Private Coach Certification Price?

With none reductions, the ISSA private coaching certification usually prices round $1,000. Nonetheless, ISSA provides specials commonly that make it extra reasonably priced. The worth will be paid in full or damaged down into 5 or 11 funds with as little as one greenback to get began. 

From a price perspective, ISSA falls consistent with trade requirements. For instance, the NASM CPT course is just barely cheaper at $899. In the meantime, the American Council of Train (ACE) offers three private coach certification choices starting from $675 to $975. 

ISSA additionally provides two different CPT applications: Elite Coach (which prices about $1,200 and contains one specialty course of your alternative) and Grasp Coach (which prices about $2,000 and contains one specialised certification observe with 4 programs). As well as, for those who don’t have already got a CPR/AED certification (you’ll want one to be a CPT), you may receive one via ISSA for simply $49.

ISSA Licensed Private Coach Research Supplies

Two computer screens open with the ISSA personal training certification materials.

ISSA has all kinds of examine supplies starting from audio classes to guided readings to stay boot camps. Plus, signing up for the non-public coaching certification course offers you entry to 31 apply quizzes that can assist you get able to go the ultimate examination.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the completely different examine supplies and assets the ISSA offers for college students:

Foundations and Functions for a Licensed Private Coach Textbook

Out of all of the course supplies, the ISSA CPT textbook is by far an important. Not solely are the quizzes and closing examination largely primarily based on its contents, nevertheless it’s a worthwhile useful resource as a result of it covers a breadth of related matters. Obtainable in an easy-to-navigate PDF format or in a print model for round $40, the ISSA’s private coaching certification textbook contains the next chapters:

  1. Well being, Health, and Private Coaching
  2. Psychology of Conduct Change
  3. Motion Methods
  4. Supporting Methods
  5. Ideas of Biomechanics
  6. Power and Metabolism
  7. Shopper Assessments
  8. Components of Health
  9. Rules of Program Design
  10. Ideas of Flexibility Coaching
  11. Ideas of Cardiovascular Train
  12. Ideas of Resistance Coaching
  13. Train Choice and Approach
  14. Vitamin Foundations
  15. Supplementation
  16. Persistent Circumstances
  17. Lifespan Populations
  18. Enterprise and Advertising
  19. Security and Emergency Conditions

Clearly, the textbook covers nearly each matter a health coach must know. Whilst you may have a extra formal training for those who aspire to work with school or professional athletes (a highschool diploma received’t suffice at that degree), you’ll definitely be armed with the requisite information wanted to start out your profession within the area of non-public coaching.

I discovered the structure and total design of the textbook simple to learn, and the ISSA did nicely to incorporate loads of diagrams and images for help and added context. Given the complicated nature of a number of the matters — significantly the chapters on biomechanics and vitality and metabolism — I appreciated having visible supplies to depend upon.

Furthermore, the inclusion of formulation, tables, and pattern exercises made the textbook significantly worthwhile. I began the course with a strong basis of weightlifting information and ample expertise experimenting with completely different food regimen methods. Nonetheless, ISSA’s textbook taught me a lot extra about train and diet by offering complete lists of workout routines by physique half and giving easy-to-understand examples of find out how to calculate caloric and macronutrient wants.

Research Guides

Along with your buy of the Private Coach Certification bundle, you obtain the ISSA’s guided examine on-line materials. The guided examine lays out studying materials, audio and video classes, and a quiz for every of the ten weeks.

Upon completion of the guided examine, you ought to be able to take and go the ultimate examination. Every week you may anticipate to dedicate between two to 4 hours to check, relying in your pace and familiarity with the week’s matter. You’ll wish to learn the assigned chapters of the textbook, hearken to the audio lectures, then full the quiz for the week. After that, examine again to any information you have been not sure of and brush up on it.


There are 18 completely different quizzes on topics from the psychology of conduct change to shopper assessments to enterprise and marketing. The quizzes embody the entire areas of examine you’ll must grasp to turn into a well-rounded private coach.

In an effort to carry out nicely, you will want to depend upon the studying and lecture data from that week. Almost the entire multiple-choice questions pertain on to the fabric within the textbook, with a few of them containing particular phrases that may probably trick you to steer within the mistaken route. So, be diligent about studying the main points in every reply possibility earlier than you make your choice.

Fortunately, the quizzes don’t take lengthy to finish. Most took me about 15-20 minutes to finish, relying on the issue of the matters lined that week. I additionally appreciated that I obtained instantaneous suggestions on the questions I answered accurately and people I missed, which helped me acknowledge the areas I didn’t perceive so nicely and wanted to revisit.

On-line Discussion board

ISSA contains their CPT Instructional Bootcamp which runs a web-based assembly as soon as per week for 5 weeks that can assist you examine and get you acquainted with different aspiring private trainers. Every week focuses on a special matter and is designed to increase your information on the topic, similar to train choice. As well as, the instructors have open workplace hours every week the place they host a stay video Q&A session for one hour to present extra individualized consideration and examination prep help. 

Whereas I didn’t personally make the most of this useful resource, I feel it’s a plus to have it accessible. Getting one-on-one help and rising your community can solely result in a greater understanding of the fabric and the health trade as an entire.


The ISSA ensures that you simply’ll discover a job inside six months of finishing their private coach certification, or they’ll provide you with a full refund. When you take and go the certification exams, apply to a minimum of three gyms inside six months of finishing your certification and aren’t employed, ISSA will provide you with your a refund.

Fortunately, I didn’t run into any hassle discovering a job within the area. Throughout my transformation journey, I fashioned a bond with one of many managers on the native YouFit I labored out at. As soon as I let him know I had accomplished the ISSA health certification program, that instantly opened the door to a place with the corporate. Whereas being a longtime rugby participant and weightlifter definitely helped, having the ability to formally name myself a licensed health coach gave me credibility to get employed.

Ultimate Examination for the ISSA Private Coach Certification Program

The ISSA examination incorporates a complete of 200 multiple-choice questions and is damaged up into six sections: Fundamental and Applied Science, Shopper Assessment, Special Populations, Program Design, Nutrition, and Skilled Observe, Drawing-In Part, and Fiscal Health. As you may see, the sections are fairly different — identical to your job as a private coach can be, too.

It might probably take anyplace from an hour and a half to 2 hours or extra relying in your test-taking pace. I used to be in a position to full the examination in simply over an hour, although I did have prior CPT information earlier than enrolling within the ISSA program. General, you may anticipate to reference your textbook all through the examination. Since it’s allowed, it solely is sensible to put it to use as a useful resource to make sure you carry out nicely throughout all six sections.

Anticipated Research Time

ISSA says the certification will be accomplished in as little as 10 weeks and the guided examine is ready up for precisely that. When you come into this program with completely no information, it might take you a bit longer. Alternatively, if you have already got a solid base of data in train science and biomechanics, you can probably full the course in a couple of weeks for those who dedicate a couple of hours per day to it.

Move Price

Though you want a rating of 75 % or higher to go the ISSA CPT examination, the go fee is about 90 %. Nonetheless, don’t fall into the entice of considering the ultimate examination is a cakewalk due to that. Positive, the actual fact it’s an open-book check is a big benefit, however you must also be dedicated to actually comprehending the fabric so you may ship high quality programming to your purchasers.

Retest Price

Ought to you may have skipped a number of the preparation, or check nervousness acquired the very best of you, don’t sweat. Fortunately, ISSA is aware of that, and you may retake the ultimate examination — without cost — inside 30 days. You’ll solely should retest on the questions that you simply missed too because you already know the opposite stuff.

ISSA Persevering with Schooling Necessities

To resume your certification, it’s good to show that you simply’ve been maintaining with the newest science associated to non-public coaching and train. You are able to do this by offering proof of a minimum of 20 persevering with training models (CEUs) within the type of workshops, different certifications, seminars, or different permitted actions. Recertification takes place each two years, which supplies you adequate time to hit the 20-CEU threshold. 

As well as, the recertification value is $99, which is among the many lowest costs within the trade. Different recertification prices vary from $150 to $300, relying on the group. Better of all, for those who get your 20 CEUs via ISSA, they waive the recertification payment solely. I already set myself as much as reap that reward by finishing the ISSA Nutritionist course shortly after acquiring my CPT certification. 

Potential Profession Paths With an ISSA Private Coach Certification

It could appear fairly easy that getting your cert is a pure step towards being a full-time private coach, however there are extra choices accessible than simply that one. In any case, you don’t essentially should decide to solely working in a one-on-one setting in a company fitness center. Whereas that’s definitely an possibility, you can even parlay your private coaching certification into turning into a health middle supervisor, group health teacher, health coach, health author, exercise developer, or perhaps a health mannequin.

Incomes my private coach certification via ISSA immediately paved the way in which for me to safe a place at YouFit, the place I constructed a loyal base of purchasers, expanded the high-intensity interval coaching (HIIT) group class program, and contributed to the corporate’s weblog and social media efforts as a advertising and marketing division marketing consultant and model ambassador. Leveraging that hands-on expertise and my journalism background additionally opened up alternatives to put in writing for numerous manufacturers within the health/diet area, which finally led me to hitch Breaking Muscle as a full-time employees author. 

Plus, don’t underestimate the facility and earnings potential of placing your private coaching certification to make use of by way of social media advertising and marketing. Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube supply countless potentialities to share your information and fervour about every part from dietary supplements to biomechanics in an easy-to-digest type. Or, you can begin an internet site the place you promote custom-made coaching applications to purchasers world wide. Both manner, you may make the most of your CPT certification to construct a enterprise designed for at the moment’s tech-driven world.

Anticipated Wage

Pinpointing an actual wage is almost unimaginable when there’s such a variety throughout the health trade. Whereas movie star private trainers can simply earn six figures, that’s not precisely the case for individuals who work within the company fitness center setting.

One estimate says the typical private coach wage falls round $66,565. Nonetheless, that largely will depend on location, training, and years of expertise. Typically, a full-time private coach at your native fitness center will seemingly make nearer to the $50,000 mark.

In my expertise as an ISSA CPT, you even have to think about the earnings potential of working for your self vs. for another person. Constructing your individual coaching enterprise comes with some apparent dangers and bills like dwelling fitness center gear (for those who determine to run your enterprise out of your own home, which is what I at the moment do), nevertheless it additionally comes with limitless monetary upside and full management. Alternatively, working in a company fitness center setting could supply extra stability, together with advantages like medical health insurance, retirement, and the possibility to earn commissions.

Different ISSA Certification Packages

You’ll be able to increase your incomes potential by including extra ISSA certs to your resume. Their hottest is the Elite Coach program, which incorporates entry to the NCCPT Accredited CPT Examination. In response to the ISSA web site, turning into an Elite Licensed Coach can will let you make an additional $8,000 per yr.

For a extra sizable step up, you may turn into an ISSA-certified Grasp Coach. This program offers six particular person certifications that ISSA claims might help your coaching enterprise earn $20,000 extra yearly. Whereas all three Grasp Coach tracks embrace Licensed Private Coach and Nutritionist programs, you may earn certifications in areas similar to Energy & Conditioning Coach and Transformation Specialist, relying on which observe you select. Nonetheless, be ready to pay north of $2,000 if you wish to attain Grasp Coach standing.

A much less cost-prohibitive however helpful different is the Health Coach certification. This program contains the CPT course and one specialization of your alternative out of the next choices: 

  • Nutritionist 
  • On-line Coach 
  • Corrective Train 
  • Bodybuilding
  • Energy & Conditioning
  • Glute Specialist 
  • Group Train 
  • Operating Coach

Even When you solely join the usual CPT course, you may earn a Health Coach certification by finishing a specialization sooner or later. 


In comparison with ISSA, NASM is best suited to a graduate of an train science or associated program who desires a scientific-style mannequin for coaching. So, when you’ve got aspirations to work for an expert sports activities crew or high-level school program, a NASM certification will provide you with a leg up. 

In contrast to ISSA, you do have a time restrict (120 minutes) to finish the NASM closing examination. Though you solely want a 70 % rating to go, the go fee is considerably decrease (64 %) in comparison with the 90 % go fee with ISSA. Plus, whereas ISSA offers free retests, NASM costs a retest payment of $199. 


Geared toward group train fanatics who wish to add private coaching ideas to their courses, ACE provides three ranges of their CPT course. In comparison with ISSA, the worth is extra reasonably priced, with the least-expensive program coming in at lower than $700. 

Regardless of having a a lot decrease required passing rating than its rivals (simply 62.5 %), ACE has a considerably decrease passing fee than ISSA at 65 %. You may have 180 minutes to finish the ultimate examination, and the retest charges vary from $199 to $250. Like ISSA, you want 20 CEUs to recertify each two years. Sadly for ACE college students, there’s no approach to keep away from the recertification payment of $129. 

Parting Ideas on Getting ISSA Licensed

When you’re seeking to construct a profession within the health trade, the ISSA Private Coach Certification is a superb place to look. They provide top-notch preparation supplies for all sorts of learners and even provide you with a week-by-week information to maintain you on observe. The ultimate examination was difficult and thorough in its scope, forcing me to rigorously assess the query and reply choices.

General, the gathering of assets — from the train video library and pattern coaching plans to downloadable shopper kinds you should utilize immediately — made investing within the ISSA’s program nicely value it. Until you may have a need to teach on the NCAA or skilled degree, it’s best to really feel safe about spending the money and time on acquiring your private coaching certification from an organization that’s helped numerous fitness-minded people kickstart profitable careers.


What’s required to get my ISSA private coaching certificates?

You will need to meet the factors set forth by the ISSA which incorporates submitting all course quizzes, passing the ultimate examination with a rating of 75 % or higher, and offering proof of a present grownup CPR/AED certificates. All of those necessities are neatly laid out on the house display screen of the portal for you, and the ultimate examination is locked till you full all of the quizzes.

Can I get a printed copy of the textbook for the ISSA private coach certification?

Though most college students make the most of the net model, you may receive a printed copy of the ISSA private coach certification textbook for round $40.

Does the ISSA supply apply exams?

Along with the 18 quizzes you could full for the CPT course, the ISSA offers you entry to 31 apply quizzes that can assist you put together for the 200-question closing examination.

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