ISSA Private Coach Certification Assessment (2023 Replace)

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My journey to changing into an authorized private coach started after I hit rock-bottom. Between utterly abandoning the gymnasium, spending an excessive amount of time sitting at a desk, and consuming absolutely anything I needed, I packed on quite a lot of kilos (about 70, to be actual) in the course of the first two years of the pandemic. With a wider-than-ever waistline and a lower-than-ever stage of self-confidence, I lastly needed to embrace the thought of doing issues otherwise.

Nonetheless, little did I do know that forming elementary habits like lifting weights a minimum of 4 days per week and chopping out processed meals would quick observe me down a completely new profession path. As I noticed the quantity on the size 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 folks obtain their very own bodily health objectives, I confronted the pivotal choice of selecting a private coaching certification program. After weighing my choices, I went with one which’s NCCA-accredited, gives a well-rounded curriculum, and presents a ton of helpful assets and examine supplies: the Worldwide Sports activities Science Affiliation (ISSA). I shortly realized why it’s probably the most fashionable certs within the health business. This ISSA private coach certification evaluation will provide you with an outline of this system design, spotlight its strengths and weaknesses, and tackle regularly requested questions so you will have all of the solutions.

ISSA Personal Trainer Certification

Flip your ardour for health right into a profession with the ISSA Private Coach Certification. With just one hour per day, you possibly can end in as little as 10 weeks and the ISSA ensures you’ll discover a job. Included within the Private Coach Certification Bundle are audio lectures, assigned readings, quizzes, a private success coach, and extra that can assist you succeed. 

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Key Takeaways

  • At a worth level of about $1,000, this private coaching certification program is a wonderful strategy to break into the health business, particularly for these and not using a formal training in train science.
  • ISSA clearly has your success in thoughts with many alternative methods to assist your studying journey. Along with an entire slate after all supplies, they’ve a job placement device, web site builder, consumer consumption varieties, 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 kinds. Plus, the ISSA web site has further assets for these excited about specializations like powerlifting and vitamin teaching.

Who’s the Worldwide Sports activities Sciences Affiliation?

The ISSA was shaped in 1988 by a workforce of health consultants with the objective of stemming the tide of physical decline and serving to aspiring professionals take pleasure in a profitable profession in health. Almost 4 many years later, the group stays a pillar within the health business, with greater than 400,000 graduates throughout 174 nations, per the ISSA web site.In addition to their private coaching certification program, ISSA presents 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 Businesses (NCCA) and the Distance Schooling and Instructing 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 industrial gyms and native health services that you just most likely already practice at, which suggests you realize that your certifications will maintain worth.

ISSA Private Coach Certification Course Highlights

Personal trainer Stephen Sheehan holding his certificate from the ISSA.
Holding my ISSA private coaching certificates at my residence gymnasium.

Whether or not you choose their Licensed Private Coach, Elite Coach, or Grasp Coach program, ISSA offers you entry to all of the instruments you should succeed, together with a complete guided examine program full with a textbook, audio and video lectures, and quizzes (one for every chapter). Though you will have six months to finish the CPT course, it usually takes about 10 weeks. The ISSA even presents a $99 Quick Monitor program that gives an accelerated examine information so you possibly can 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 packages. The textbook contained a wealth of knowledge on every little thing from vitality programs to train routines, and the lectures and quizzes strengthened these ideas.

Your whole onerous learning culminates in a ultimate examination that consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. You will need to earn a minimum of a 75 % (I scored a 91 %) to return out on the plus facet of the move/no move 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 moderately than merely memorizing muscle teams and macronutrient specifics, so it’s extra helpful to real-world eventualities.

From the time you join the certification program, the workforce — which incorporates enrollment specialists, successful coach, and bootcamp instructors — makes each effort to see you succeed with steering and assist. It’s as much as you to contact them if you would like or want additional assist. You’ll additionally want focus and a focus to element to not solely put together for the ultimate examination, but additionally 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 changing into an authorized private coach.
  • Individuals who wish to study at their very own tempo. The guided examine portion of this certification means that you can blast via the knowledge you’re snug with and take deep dives into new materials.
  • Those that wish to be their very own boss. ISSA contains various 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 stage will possible 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).
  • For those who simply wish to study extra about figuring out and lifting however don’t count on to work as a private coach, there are cheaper and directed methods to take action.
  • Those that solely wish to present eating 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 Value?

With none reductions, the ISSA private coaching certification usually prices round $1,000. Nonetheless, ISSA presents specials repeatedly that make it extra inexpensive. The value might be paid in full or damaged down into 5 or 11 funds with as little as one greenback to get began. 

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

ISSA additionally presents two different CPT packages: Elite Coach (which prices about $1,200 and contains one specialty course of your selection) 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 possibly can acquire one via ISSA for simply $49.

ISSA Licensed Private Coach Examine Supplies

Two computer screens open with the ISSA personal training certification materials.
The ISSA CPT textbook and program-design mannequin on my laptop.

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

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

Foundations and Purposes 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 ultimate examination largely primarily based on its contents, but it surely’s a beneficial 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 Habits Change
  3. Motion Programs
  4. Supporting Programs
  5. Ideas of Biomechanics
  6. Power and Metabolism
  7. Consumer Assessments
  8. Components of Health
  9. Ideas of Program Design
  10. Ideas of Flexibility Coaching
  11. Ideas of Cardiovascular Train
  12. Ideas of Resistance Coaching
  13. Train Choice and Approach
  14. Diet Foundations
  15. Supplementation
  16. Power Situations
  17. Lifespan Populations
  18. Enterprise and Advertising and marketing
  19. Security and Emergency Conditions

Clearly, the textbook covers nearly each subject a health coach must know. Whilst you might have a extra formal training for those who aspire to work with faculty or professional athletes (a highschool diploma gained’t suffice at that stage), you’ll definitely be armed with the requisite information wanted to start out your profession within the area of private coaching.

I discovered the format and general design of the textbook straightforward to learn, and the ISSA did properly to incorporate loads of diagrams and images for assist and added context. Given the advanced nature of a few of the matters — notably 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 notably beneficial. I began the course with a stable basis of weightlifting information and ample expertise experimenting with totally different eating regimen methods. Nonetheless, ISSA’s textbook taught me a lot extra about train and vitamin by offering complete lists of workouts by physique half and giving easy-to-understand examples of easy methods to calculate caloric and macronutrient wants.

Examine 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 move the ultimate examination. Every week you possibly can count on to dedicate between two to 4 hours to check, relying in your velocity and familiarity with the week’s subject. You’ll wish to learn the assigned chapters of the textbook, take heed to the audio lectures, then full the quiz for the week. After that, examine again to any data you have been uncertain of and brush up on it.


There are 18 totally different quizzes on topics from the psychology of habits change to consumer assessments to enterprise and marketing. The quizzes embody all the areas of examine you’ll have to grasp to turn out to be a well-rounded private coach.

With the intention to carry out properly, you’ll need to depend upon the studying and lecture info from that week. Almost all the multiple-choice questions pertain on to the fabric within the textbook, with a few of them containing particular phrases that may doubtlessly trick you to steer within the fallacious path. So, be diligent about studying the small print 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 immediate suggestions on the questions I answered appropriately and people I missed, which helped me acknowledge the areas I didn’t perceive so properly 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 subject and is designed to broaden 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 reside video Q&A session for one hour to present extra individualized consideration and examination prep assist. 

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


The ISSA ensures that you just’ll discover a job inside six months of finishing their private coach certification, or they’ll provide you with a full refund. For those who take and move 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 reimbursement.

Fortunately, I didn’t run into any hassle discovering a job within the area. Throughout my transformation journey, I shaped 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 an authorized health coach gave me credibility to get employed.

Closing 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: Primary and Applied Science, Consumer Assessment, Special Populations, Program Design, Nutrition, and Skilled Follow, Drawing-In Section, and Fiscal Health. As you possibly can see, the sections are fairly different — similar to your job as a private coach can be, too.

It could possibly take anyplace from an hour and a half to 2 hours or extra relying in your test-taking velocity. I used to be capable of full the examination in simply over an hour, although I did have prior CPT information earlier than enrolling within the ISSA program. General, you possibly can count on 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 properly throughout all six sections.

Anticipated Examine Time

ISSA says the certification might be accomplished in as little as 10 weeks and the guided examine is about up for precisely that. For those who 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 information in train science and biomechanics, you may doubtlessly full the course in just a few weeks for those who dedicate just a few hours per day to it.

Go Charge

Though you want a rating of 75 % or higher to move the ISSA CPT examination, the move charge is about 90 %. Nonetheless, don’t fall into the entice of pondering 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 also needs to be dedicated to really comprehending the fabric so you possibly can ship high quality programming to your purchasers.

Retest Value

Ought to you will have skipped a few of the preparation, or check anxiousness bought the very best of you, don’t sweat. Fortunately, ISSA is aware of that, and you’ll retake the ultimate examination — at no cost — inside 30 days. You’ll solely must retest on the questions that you just missed too because you already know the opposite stuff.

ISSA Persevering with Schooling Necessities

To resume your certification, you should show that you just’ve been maintaining with the most recent science associated to private coaching and train. You are able to do this by offering proof of a minimum of 20 persevering with training items (CEUs) within the type of workshops, different certifications, seminars, or different accredited actions. Recertification takes place each two years, which provides you enough time to hit the 20-CEU threshold. 

As well as, the recertification price is $99, which is among the many lowest costs within the business. 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 charge totally. 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

Using the train video library with the course supplies.

It might appear fairly simple that getting your cert is a pure step towards being a full-time private coach, however there are extra choices obtainable than simply that one. In spite of everything, you don’t essentially must decide to solely working in a one-on-one setting in a company gymnasium. Whereas that’s definitely an possibility, you can too parlay your private coaching certification into changing 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 instantly paved the best way 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 guide and model ambassador. Leveraging that hands-on expertise and my journalism background additionally opened up alternatives to put in writing for varied manufacturers within the health/vitamin area, which in the end led me to affix Breaking Muscle as a full-time workers 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 provide infinite prospects to share your information and fervour about every little thing from dietary supplements to biomechanics in an easy-to-digest kind. Or, you may begin a web site the place you promote custom-made coaching packages to purchasers around the globe. Both means, you possibly can make the most of your CPT certification to construct a enterprise designed for at this time’s tech-driven world.

Anticipated Wage

Pinpointing a precise wage is sort of unimaginable when there’s such a variety throughout the health business. Whereas movie star private trainers can simply earn six figures, that’s not precisely the case for many who work within the company gymnasium 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 gymnasium will possible make nearer to the $50,000 mark.

In my expertise as an ISSA CPT, you even have to contemplate 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 residence gymnasium tools (for those who determine to run your corporation out of your own home, which is what I at present do), but it surely additionally comes with limitless monetary upside and full management. Alternatively, working in a company gymnasium setting might provide extra stability, together with advantages like medical insurance, retirement, and the prospect to earn commissions.

Different ISSA Certification Applications

You possibly can 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 accordance with the ISSA web site, changing into an Elite Licensed Coach can mean you can make an additional $8,000 per yr.

For a extra sizable step up, you possibly can turn out to be an ISSA-certified Grasp Coach. This program gives six particular person certifications that ISSA claims may help your coaching enterprise earn $20,000 extra yearly. Whereas all three Grasp Coach tracks embody Licensed Private Coach and Nutritionist programs, you possibly can 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 selection out of the next choices: 

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

Even For those who solely join the usual CPT course, you possibly can 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 workforce or high-level faculty program, a NASM certification will provide you with a leg up. 

Not like ISSA, you do have a time restrict (120 minutes) to finish the NASM ultimate examination. Though you solely want a 70 % rating to move, the move charge is considerably decrease (64 %) in comparison with the 90 % move charge with ISSA. Plus, whereas ISSA gives free retests, NASM fees a retest charge of $199. 


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

Regardless of having a a lot decrease required passing rating than its opponents (simply 62.5 %), ACE has a considerably decrease passing charge than ISSA at 65 %. You will 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 strategy to keep away from the recertification charge of $129. 

Parting Ideas on Getting ISSA Licensed

For those who’re trying to construct a profession within the health business, the ISSA Private Coach Certification is a good 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 consumer varieties you should utilize straight away — made investing within the ISSA’s program properly price it. Except you will have a need to teach on the NCAA or skilled stage, 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 web model, you possibly can acquire a printed copy of the ISSA private coach certification textbook for round $40.

Does the ISSA provide follow exams?

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

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