ISSA Private Coach Certification Evaluation (2023 Replace)


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My journey to turning into a licensed private coach started once I hit rock-bottom. Between fully 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 actual) 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.

Nevertheless, little did I do know that forming elementary habits like lifting weights not less than 4 days every week and chopping out processed meals would quick observe me down a wholly 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 determination 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 provides a ton of helpful sources and research supplies: the Worldwide Sports activities Science Affiliation (ISSA). I rapidly realized why it’s one of the crucial standard certs within the health business. This ISSA private coach certification evaluation offers you an summary of this system design, spotlight its strengths and weaknesses, and deal with often 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 solution 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 various methods to assist your studying journey. Along with an entire slate after all supplies, they’ve a job placement instrument, web site builder, consumer consumption kinds, and a step-by-step enterprise information — all of which come included along 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 sources for these considering specializations like powerlifting and diet teaching.

Who’s the Worldwide Sports activities Sciences Affiliation?

The ISSA was fashioned in 1988 by a workforce of health consultants with the purpose of stemming the tide of physical decline and serving to aspiring professionals take pleasure in a profitable profession in health. Practically 4 many years later, the group stays a pillar within the health business, with greater than 400,000 graduates throughout 174 international locations, per the ISSA web site.In addition to 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 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 prepare at, which suggests you understand 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 fitness center.

Whether or not you choose their Licensed Private Coach, Elite Coach, or Grasp Coach program, ISSA provides you entry to all of the instruments that you must succeed, together with a complete guided research 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 usually takes about 10 weeks. The ISSA even provides a $99 Quick Observe program that gives an accelerated research information so you possibly can go at your personal 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 research time per day. At round $1,000, it’s inexpensive than the Elite Coach and Grasp Coach packages. The textbook contained a wealth of data on every thing from vitality programs to train routines, and the lectures and quizzes bolstered these ideas.

Your whole onerous learning culminates in a last examination that consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. You will need to earn not less than a 75 p.c to return out on the plus aspect of the cross/no cross 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 somewhat 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, a hit 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 need or want further assist. You’ll additionally want focus and a spotlight 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 prefer to be taught at their very own tempo. The guided research portion of this certification permits you to blast by way of the data you’re snug with and take deep dives into new materials.
  • Those that wish to be their very own boss. ISSA consists of various classes on advertising and marketing and gross sales so you can begin (and develop) your personal private coaching enterprise.

Who Shouldn’t Get the ISSA Private Coach Certification

  • Anybody who desires to teach on the collegiate or skilled degree will possible want not less than a bachelor’s diploma in kinesiology or train science and a private coaching certification from the Nationwide Academy of Sports activities Drugs (NASM) or the Nationwide Energy and Conditioning Affiliation (NSCA).
  • For those who simply wish to be taught extra about understanding and lifting however don’t count on to work as a private coach, there are more cost effective and directed methods to take action.
  • Those that solely wish to present food plan 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. Nevertheless, ISSA provides specials frequently that make it extra reasonably priced. The value will 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 according to business requirements. For instance, the NASM CPT course is just barely inexpensive at $899. In the meantime, the American Council of Train (ACE) gives three private coach certification choices starting from $675 to $975. 

ISSA additionally provides two different CPT packages: Elite Coach (which prices about $1,200 and consists of one specialty course of your alternative) and Grasp Coach (which prices about $2,000 and consists of 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 by way of ISSA for simply $49.

ISSA Licensed Private Coach Research Supplies

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

ISSA has all kinds of research supplies starting from audio classes to guided readings to dwell boot camps. Plus, signing up for the non-public coaching certification course provides you entry to 31 apply quizzes that will help you get able to cross the ultimate examination.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the totally different research supplies and sources the ISSA gives for college kids:

Foundations and Functions for a Licensed Private Coach Textbook

Out of all of the course supplies, the ISSA CPT textbook is by far crucial. Not solely are the quizzes and last examination largely primarily based on its contents, nevertheless it’s a invaluable useful resource as a result of it covers a breadth of related matters. Accessible in an easy-to-navigate PDF format or in a print model for round $40, the ISSA’s private coaching certification textbook consists of 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. Vitality 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. Vitamin Foundations
  15. Supplementation
  16. Persistent Situations
  17. Lifespan Populations
  18. Enterprise and Advertising and marketing
  19. Security and Emergency Conditions

Clearly, the textbook covers nearly each matter a health coach must know. When 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 general design of the textbook simple to learn, and the ISSA did properly to incorporate loads of diagrams and images for assist and added context. Given the complicated nature of among 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 invaluable. I began the course with a stable basis of weightlifting information and ample expertise experimenting with totally different food plan 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 learn 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 research on-line materials. The guided research lays out studying materials, audio and video classes, and a quiz for every of the ten weeks.

Upon completion of the guided research, you have to be able to take and cross the ultimate examination. Every week you possibly can count on 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, verify again to any data you had been not sure 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 research you’ll have to grasp to grow to be a well-rounded private coach.

In an effort to carry out properly, you will have to depend upon the studying and lecture info from that week. Practically all the 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 improper course. 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 coated that week. I additionally favored that I obtained on the spot suggestions on the questions I answered accurately 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 consists of their CPT Instructional Bootcamp which runs an internet assembly as soon as per week for 5 weeks that will help you research and get you acquainted with different aspiring private trainers. Every week focuses on a unique matter and is designed to develop your information on the topic, corresponding to train choice. As well as, the instructors have open workplace hours every week the place they host a dwell video Q&A session for one hour to provide extra individualized consideration and examination prep assist. 

Whereas I didn’t personally benefit from this useful resource, I believe 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 cross the certification exams, apply to not less than three gyms inside six months of finishing your certification and aren’t employed, ISSA offers you your a reimbursement.

Fortunately, I didn’t run into any bother 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.

Remaining Examination for the ISSA Private Coach Certification Program

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

It will possibly take wherever from an hour and a half to 2 hours or extra relying in your test-taking pace. 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 smart to put it to use as a useful resource to make sure you carry out properly throughout all six sections.

Anticipated Research Time

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

Move Fee

Though you want a rating of 75 p.c or higher to cross the ISSA CPT examination, the cross fee is about 90 p.c. Nevertheless, don’t fall into the lure of considering the ultimate examination is a cakewalk due to that. Certain, the very fact it’s an open-book check is a large 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 may have skipped among the preparation, or check anxiousness received the most effective 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 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, that you must show that you just’ve been maintaining with the newest science associated to private coaching and train. You are able to do this by offering proof of not less than 20 persevering with training items (CEUs) within the type of workshops, different certifications, seminars, or different authorized actions. Recertification takes place each two years, which provides you ample time to hit the 20-CEU threshold. 

As well as, the recertification value 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 by way of ISSA, they waive the recertification payment fully. 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 could appear fairly easy 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 any case, you don’t essentially must decide to solely working in a one-on-one setting in a company fitness center. Whereas that’s definitely an possibility, you too can parlay your private coaching certification into turning into a health heart supervisor, group health teacher, health coach, health author, exercise developer, or perhaps a health mannequin.

Incomes my private coach certification by way of ISSA instantly 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 advisor and model ambassador. Leveraging that hands-on expertise and my journalism background additionally opened up alternatives to jot down for varied manufacturers within the health/diet area, which in the end led me to hitch Breaking Muscle as a full-time workers author. 

Plus, don’t underestimate the ability and revenue potential of placing your private coaching certification to make use of by way of social media advertising and marketing. Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube provide countless prospects to share your information and fervour about every thing from dietary supplements to biomechanics in an easy-to-digest type. Or, you might begin a web site the place you promote personalized 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 an actual wage is sort of unimaginable when there’s such a variety throughout the health business. Whereas celeb 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 common private coach wage falls round $66,565. Nevertheless, that largely relies on location, training, and years of expertise. On the whole, a full-time private coach at your native fitness center will possible make nearer to the $50,000 mark.

In my expertise as an ISSA CPT, you even have to contemplate the revenue potential of working for your self vs. for another person. Constructing your personal coaching enterprise comes with some apparent dangers and bills like residence fitness center tools (for those who resolve to run what you are promoting out of your property, which is what I presently do), nevertheless it additionally comes with limitless monetary upside and full management. However, working in a company fitness center setting could provide extra stability, together with advantages like medical insurance, retirement, and the possibility to earn commissions.

Different ISSA Certification Applications

You possibly can enhance 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. Based on the ISSA web site, turning into an Elite Licensed Coach can assist you to make an additional $8,000 per yr.

For a extra sizable step up, you possibly can grow to be an ISSA-certified Grasp Coach. This program gives 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 possibly can earn certifications in areas corresponding to Energy & Conditioning Coach and Transformation Specialist, relying on which observe you select. Nevertheless, be ready to pay north of $2,000 if you wish to attain Grasp Coach standing.

A much less cost-prohibitive however helpful various is the Health Coach certification. This program consists of 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 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 have aspirations to work for an expert sports activities workforce or high-level school program, a NASM certification offers you a leg up. 

In contrast to ISSA, you do have a time restrict (120 minutes) to finish the NASM last examination. Though you solely want a 70 p.c rating to cross, the cross fee is considerably decrease (64 p.c) in comparison with the 90 p.c cross fee with ISSA. Plus, whereas ISSA gives free retests, NASM prices a retest payment of $199. 


Aimed toward group train fans 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 p.c), ACE has a considerably decrease passing fee than ISSA at 65 p.c. You’ve 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 solution to keep away from the recertification payment of $129. 

Parting Ideas on Getting ISSA Licensed

For those who’re seeking 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 every type 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 sources — from the train video library and pattern coaching plans to downloadable consumer kinds you need to use instantly — made investing within the ISSA’s program properly price it. Except you may have a need to teach on the NCAA or skilled degree, you must 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 p.c or higher, and offering proof of a present grownup CPR/AED certificates. All of those necessities are neatly laid out on the house display 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 possibly can acquire a printed copy of the ISSA private coach certification textbook for round $40.

Does the ISSA provide apply exams?

Along with the 18 quizzes you should full for the CPT course, the ISSA provides you entry to 31 apply quizzes that will help you put together for the 200-question last examination.

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