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ISSA Personal Training Certification Review: Pros & Cons

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Workout equipment is placed on a blue background with the words "ISSA Personal Trainer Certification Review" written over top of the image.

Globally recognized and rated number one in fitness certification, the International Sports Science Association (ISSA for short) is a trusted source for personal trainers. Whether you are looking to start your career in health and fitness, or wanting to further your knowledge and grow your business, ISSA is a leading competitor in personal trainer certification.

Curious to know more about the ISSA personal training certification program? Insurance Canopy is taking a look at what you can expect from the program, the costs, the pros and cons, and how it can benefit you on your journey to becoming a better trainer.

What is the International Sports Science Association (ISSA)?

ISSA is a globally recognized program with a mission to bring healthier living to 100 million people through education and community by 2030. They are dedicated to helping fitness professionals find and enjoy successful careers.

By offering fast tracked certifications and the assistance of a Success Coach, ISSA certified personal trainers have a higher rate of finding jobs after their program and jump starting their fitness career. They even have a risk-free job guarantee!

About ISSA Personal Training Certification

ISSA created the first personal training certification program in 1988 and has since served hundreds of thousands of personal trainers around the world. They help trainers establish successful careers through their trusted, science-based education programs and specialized course offerings.

One thing that sets ISSA apart from the competition is the ability to choose a Fast Track personal trainer program. Instead of taking 12 weeks to complete the certification courses, you can now finish them in just four weeks. This helps trainers get into the field faster and begin their careers.

A young man sits at a desk in a fitness room while he works on his personal trainer certification program from his laptop.


To enroll in the ISSA personal training certification program, you need to be at least 18 years of age and show proof of current CPR/AED certifications.

In order to obtain an ISSA personal trainer certificate, you must:

  • Complete the Certified Personal Trainer program
  • Submit all of your course quizzes
  • Have a score of 70% or higher on the final exam
  • Have current CPR/AED certificates


All of ISSA’s Certified Personal Trainer programs include online practice exams, workbooks, the option to Fast Track your program, and more. While the basic version of the program will give you the tools you need to become certified, you have the option to specialize your learning with additional courses.

The ISSA personal trainer certification costs are as follows:

  • Certified Personal Trainer: $69/month or $828/year
  • Fitness Coach: $79/month or $948/year
  • Elite Trainer: $99/month or $1,188/year
  • Master Trainer: $149/month or $1,788/year

Compare each of the ISSA personal training programs here on their website.

Specialized Certification Programs

ISSA strives to help fitness professionals take their careers to the next level. With a wide variety of health and fitness specializations, you can stand out in your field with additional courses and certifications.

You can choose to enroll in any of the following ISSA Specialization Courses:

  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • Strength & Conditioning (+ NCCPT Exam)
  • Bodybuilding Specialist
  • CPR/AED Certification Program
  • Glute Specialist
  • Kickboxing Instructor
  • Performance Enhancement Coach
  • Powerlifting Instructor
  • Tactical Conditioning Coach
  • Corrective Exercise Specialist
  • DNA-Based Fitness Coach
  • Exercise Recovery Specialist
  • Exercise Therapy Specialist
  • Health Coach
  • Transformation Specialist
  • Yoga Instructor (+ NCCPT Exam)
  • Group Exercise (+ NCCPT Exam)
  • Group Personal Training
  • Indoor Cycling (+ NCCPT Exam)
  • Lifespan Coach
  • Weight Management Specialist
  • Youth Fitness Instructor
  • Senior Fitness Instructor

Continuing Education & Recertification

Every two years you will need to complete a recertification process to keep your ISSA personal training certification status active. To renew, you must:

  1. Complete 20 hours of CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
  2. Have a current CPR/AED certification
  3. Submit payment for renewal fees

Renewing your certification keeps you at the top of your game and allows you to further your education in the fitness and health industry. This helps you grow your expertise, your business, and your opportunities. Your clients will also benefit from receiving accurate and current information from you as their fitness instructor.

Pros & Cons of ISSA Personal Training

ISSA is only one of many options for personal training certification. Here are some of the pros and cons you can find with the ISSA Certified Personal Trainer program.


  • ISSA uses a science-focused education in their programs.
  • Over 475,000 students have used ISSA in 174 countries, giving them international recognition.
  • ISSA boasts an 89.9% pass rate for the personal training program.
  • Some CEUs include business training courses, allowing you to gain additional skills to help you grow your client base and increase your income.
  • ISSA has the lowest retest fee in the industry at $50.
  • New trainers have access to more industry information and study materials.


  • Study materials can be more costly and lead to additional fees you may not want to pay for.
  • There is a lack of focus on corrective exercises in specialized courses.
  • Recertification fees apply every 2 years.
A woman sits on the floor of a fitness center as she happily works on her personal trainer certification on her laptop.

How ISSA Personal Training Certification Benefits You

Insurance Canopy recognizes and recommends ISSA as the best certification program for brand new personal trainers who are receiving their personal training certification for the first time.

The ISSA personal trainer certificate program is filled with highly valuable information for first-time trainers. With unlimited access to a personal Success Coach, online materials, and detailed expansion packs, new trainers have the ability to start their careers off strong.

One thing not offered directly through ISSA is personal trainer insurance—and having liability coverage is highly recommended or required by many locations you choose to train at. Luckily, Insurance Canopy offers top-rated and affordable personal trainer insurance policies designed to help you meet these requirements.

Accidents can happen when training with clients, and it’s best to be prepared with financial protection to help you pay for claims. If someone is injured, damages property at a rented facility, or the extra gear you provide to clients is stolen, our policies can help you cover most (if not all) of the costs. We even cover online and virtual trainers!

Many gyms, private studios, and rented spaces ask to be named as an additional insured on your policy to help protect them in the case you receive a liability claim. With Insurance Canopy, you can have an unlimited number of additional insureds on your policy for just $30. That allows you to train at multiple locations on just one insurance plan.

Start your career with ISSA, and begin taking your business to the next level with Insurance Canopy today.

Frequently Asked Questions About ISSA Personal Training

ISSA has over 10,000 five star reviews for their personal trainer certification program. They created the first ever personal training certification and has almost 500,000 students.

The ISSA Certified Personal Trainer program costs $828 a year. You can pay in full, choose a 6 month payment plan for $138/month, or a 12 month payment plan for $69/month.

The ISSA Certified Personal Trainer program can take anywhere from 4–12 weeks to complete, depending on your choice of the Fast Track or self-guided program. You have six months from the purchase of your program to complete the certification exam.

To be ISSA certified, you must complete 4–12 weeks of online courses and pass a 200 multiple choice question exam. Recertification is done every two years and requires CPR/AED renewal and the completion of 20 CEUs.

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