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ISSA not "Preferred"

by Mike

How do you feel about the ISSA certifications? Are they recognized by most companies? Where I am working here in San Antonio, TX (Spectrum), they don't recognize them as "preferred" which means you can't get promoted up the latter to Master Trainer, Master Pro trainer.

Have you ever heard these things?

mike

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They are not recognized by most major clubs
by: Anonymous

ISSA is a very good certification, but it is not enough! By the end of the day you should be able to feed the family and pay the bills! Even the people who have the highest level of ISSA certifications are ending up getting either ACSM or NASM or NSCA. Because no matter how many years you have been studying or holding your certification, you won't get paid as much as a person who carries one of the three certification that I mentioned before.

You get paid usually 1/3 of a person with a certification from ACSM. They don't even care for how long the person have been holding the certification, they just look at the name.

Same story is going on for every other profession! for example, you can be someone with bachelor degree in civil engineering, and having 10 years of experience, but when it come to the point that you want to get hired for a company, the 25 yr/o kid with the master degree will get hired with more money!

So even though getting certified through ACSM, NASM, NSCA is very difficult, it is better if you go for ACSM or NASM or NSCA from the first, then you will be saving so much time and money. Unless you own your business and you just want to have some certification, that still if that was the case I would go with the easiest one and the cheapest one.
Hope this information helps.

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I totally agree with the anonymous teller!
by: Cristopher

They usually hire you at most with 40% or 50%, means that you just get half of the money that the client has paid for the session! While people who carry specially ACSM get at least 75%!

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Funny
by: courtellis

It's funny how that works out, DETC certified program is not worthy of gyms. I guess the fact that I can actually get this course for little or nothing and take two years to complete it doesn't mean anything. I think learning the material may be a little more important than just trying to take a test on little or no information at all. This is a Nationally Accredited course and service member can benefit from it also as it fall in the accepted certification programs listed for them to be payed for by the government. I think some of us may want to rethink the position on ISSA and start looking at them as a key player in the fitness industry!!

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ISSA is an elite player in the field.
by: Mitch

No matter what some gym owners or trainers may say about ISSA in comparison to NCCA approved schools, ISSA is no slacker. The courses are laid out in such a way that you have to think. What is the big deal with proctored tests that are multiple choice anyway such as some of the other more expensive courses are using. Do they have to be as extensive as case studies and essay questions? No... recently I was telling an aquaintance who got his certification from NASM. He was amazed that ISSA was so tough, his exact words, "All I had to do was answer multiple choice questions, wow, you really had to do essays and case studies?"
ISSA is the real deal and most the trainers I know are certified through them, even the owner of my gym said if you are going for it, go ISSA.
I highly recommend. Might not have a bunch of dvds, cds, but the knowledge is sound and the school is very helpful. ISSA all the way!!!

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ISSA :(
by: Anonymous

I was formally certified with ISSA and now that I am looking to re-certify, I am going with NASM-- more widely accepted. Not to mention, I thought the ISSA program and test was kind of a joke-- of course, that was in 2001, but still... At that point in time, I was just a gym rat that woke up one day and decided I would get certified, since my friends all wanted me to train them anyways-- why not get paid for it? I got my test materials, briefly scanned them, and took the test about 30 days later. The questions were quite easy-- at the time, I held less than an associate's degree and any kid out of high school could just page through the book and pass their test. Easy peasy.

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ISSA easy? Think again.
by: Military Member

I have been pushing through ISSA's CPT material, and I can honestly say that it is quite comprehensive. In comparison to others with decades of personal training experience, I am not an expert. I am knowledgeable on physical training subjects, though, being a personal trainer in the military. I have found ISSA's material to be very rigorous and informative, and there's no way a "kid out of high school could flip through the book and pass."

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ISSA is tough for people who actually read the book
by: Doing ISSA

The ISSA CFT study material is scientifically grounded and up to date; a 700 page manual jammed to the margins with information and practical advice for working trainers.

This course isn't for people who just want a piece of paper. This course is for people who want an accessible introduction and thorough grounding in the knowledge necessary to be a respected fitness professional. Who want continued support in furthering their knowledge and career development with additional certifications.

The ISSA also supports its members with an incredibly supportive and active forum, and are just super nice people who not only give knowledgable advice, but lengthy, detailed, thorough feedback to any and all questions. It's clear that the priority of this organization is the well being of your client, and you, as an educated professional.

If you want a piece of paper, Photoshop one yourself. If you want knowledge and professional transformation, ISSA is worth every penny. While any system can be gamed by cheaters, for people who take their career seriously, ISSA will take you as far as you are willing to go.

Fitness training is easy. Fitness training well is hard.

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ISSA Cert
by: Mr. X

I have passed the NCSF exam and about to take NSCA. I have also taken the ISSA exam. Having done so, I do not consider ISSA a legit certification...and it has nothing to do with their textbook or curriculum. The reason is that the exam is open book, online, save as you go. So basically if you can look at the textbook index and are capable of going to the corresponding chapter/pages, you can pass this exam. Some have mentioned other certs such as NSCA, NCSF, NASM, and ACSM under the premise that ISSA is just as good. This is simply not true due to the fact that a person must truly understand and be able to pull from memory information from all the varioius topics in a limited time frame when taking any of these tests. I have actually had want-to-be trainers approach me and offer to pay me to take the ISSA exam for them so that they can be "certified", simply because they know I have had to study hard and truly understand the various elements of training to pass my certifications. ISSA's textbook is good and the material is fine, but their testing format is such that I would never accept a person who only had this certification.

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Wow, Mr.X
by: Kris

Not trying to start anything, but I think you are being kind tough on ISSA certified individuals. While I can understand your thinking to a point, never considering hiring one seems kind of harsh. I find that to be kind of offensive. This was a very intense course for me, as I studied hard and read and re-read. I don't take things like this lightly. Education is not cheap. I have to be honest, I have a BS degree in Biology(Pre-Med track), and although I graduated with honors, this course took me back to school. Big time. Not only that, I am very serious about my health and fitness, the struggles I have had, and my desire to help others.

It would be more fair to evaluate trainers individually as opposed to lumping them all into one category simply because you think they all cheat.

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ISSA is Good
by: Anonymous

ISSA is a very good and national certification. The only thing that makes ISSA different than certifications like NSCA and ACSM is ISSA is not NCAA approved and but is approved by U.S. Dept of Education. ISSA also offers a AS degree in exercise science with an emphasis in Personal Training. ISSA is accepted by many major facilities including LA Fitness, Golds, 24/7 Fitness, SNAP. ISSA also offers better business development for its members. The testing can be done from your own home but 80% of your exam is case studies and essays which forces your to actually read the material and research outside sources and conduct personal evaluations. Some exams also require as part of the final exam a video to answer questions.

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ISSA Exam opinion
by: Anonymous

ISSA Specialist in Strength and Conditioning certification.

I have just completed my exam and mailed it in, I have not yet found out if i passed yet or not but I would like to say that those people that believe that the ISSA exam (atleast for the SSC exam) is easy, they are wrong. 7 case studies (program design, explanation, how to approach it from the business side of things etc...) for all types of athletes, some case studies deal with healthy athletes, others deal with athletes coming off of serious injuries. The program design case studies will demontrate what type of trainer you really are. 4 essays. to research and demonstrate your knowledge on very important and relevent topics in the training industry. Training video: demonstrating youe knowledge as a trainer, how you interact with the athlete in the video, your exercise choices, your teaching ability to the athlete for specific lifts.

and lastly the "easy" part of the exam, 100 m/c questions and 100 T/F questions. All of which can be found in the text book, but in looking for the answers you automatically review the material that was studied throughout the course.

Also unlike other certifications you MUST complete chapter quizes in order to complete the course, you cannot just walk in and challenge the exam. They force you to learn before you go for your exam.

Also, after completeing the course and exam the trainer/potential trainer will have a good knowledge base/understanding of several topics in training. I would not say this certification would make you an automatic expert but it gives you an excellent base of knowledge to start (besides, no certification in the world makes you an "expert", unless that certification requires you to have in field experience, a degree etc...). Any trainer that becomes ISSA certified will have gone through a good quality education program and will also have unlimited resources to find out the information that he/she doesnt already know.

In reality a trainer will not sit down with a client at a consultation and write a GOOD program infront of that client. Every trainer has the ability to gather information, go home or to the office and strategically plan a successful program for the client, with this the good trainers should continuously reference textbooks and training techniques because event the brightest of people forget little details from time to time.

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ISSA is good and I worked for Spetrum in San Antonio
by: Anonymous

I like how people think because some exam seems to have more weight or because it is an open book exam, it is no good. One poster said education isn't cheap. That poster was right. There are quite a few programs out there that are very revered and yet they are open book test so get over it. It really is about the individual trainer and what they retain!!!

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Surprised
by: Anonymous

Very surprised at the comment that someone out of high school could easily breeze through this material. My falther-in-law looked at my new material and was very impressed. He has his phD in Physics. I love the courses so far and feel confident with the material. I'm one of those people that sincerely study and take the quizes and tests with as little help as possible. Also, you can pay and go to a seminar and have the exam proctored.

Just my two cents. Good luck to all.

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ISSA is not a joke
by: Anonymous

Okay...just like any course it depends on the individual. I almost threw up from the first 3 units I'm studying in the CPT (going all the way for my master certification). My entire family are biology majors, biochemist, dentist, health related carrer fields, etc. I don't think that this certification should be dismissed. If gyms, companies, etc. are serious about hiring people that know what they are doing then they should have a job entrance exam. Just because someone may have another certification doesn't mean that they retained the knowledge. I'm busting my butt just to memorize everything and be able to relay it in medical and layman's terms. Alot of institutions in San Antonio, TX don't want to look at you if you haven't completed at least a B.S. in Kinesiology. So...if you want to use ISSA, NASM, ACSM, blah blah blah you might also want to look forward to four years of school anyway. Companies don't want to be sued because they hired someone "not qualified"...meaning degree. And p.s. ISSA is the ONLY certification accredited through the DETC AND pushing to get themselves recognized and accredited as a licence through the National Boards.

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Issa assoicate degree??
by: Anonymous

Is there anybody out there that can fill me in on the program issa offers about getting an assoicates degree through them. I don't know how legit it is, if you can put the credits towards a BS, and after completing it how does that go towards being a CPT??? Please help

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EXPERIENCE
by: stivy

You can hold every certification possible... These mean nothing without years of experience... and I am not talking about training all your little buddies at your local gym... Experience is living it and training all types of athletes on different training platforms.. and not just training them actually having them excel greatly.. until this happens all certifications are just a piece of paper...

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my take on ISSA
by: Ron

I know an ISSA personal trainer and I think he is a pretty good trainer. I am both NCSA CSCS and ACSM HFS. I know the cert doesn't make the trainer. I have taken open book take home essay/case study exam before in graduate school. They are long, but everyone passes them, but even they did have a time limit on them. It you can read you should be able to pass a take home untimed test. Everyone who takes it seems to do really well. The pass rate is probably really high. I hadn't seen a person on any forum who has taken the exam, fail it. It being open book and untimed does seem like they are just giving certs away. I know personal trainers aren't doctors, but would you trust a doctor with an online degree.

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ISSA - Certification is Real, Textbook Sucks
by: Anonymous

I am studying for my ISSA certification, and I am doing it closed book (except for one chapter, which I won't go into). What I am most frustrated with is not the quizzes, it's the textbook. The textbook will talk about some joint or tendon or something that just assumes EVERYBODY in the world knows what that is, without any explanation whatsoever. Somebody needs to go through and rewrite this book. Lots of information, and I do feel like I'll have a good grasp of biomechanics and training when I'm done, but geez it's been painful

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issa for 5months
by: Anonymous

i just started the exercise therapy and rehab certification, and fitness nutrition. after those two ill be level one elite. been in gym since 5th grade around a lot of people who thought they knew including myself.

my clients are 27, 41, 34fm, 48male, and 54. each with different program and seeing amazing results.


last id like to share that it doesnt matter as far as how good the individual is bc of where they got their cert. it matters more who can motivate these people in and out of the gym. good you have a 15 more certification then the rest but cant communicate anything else besides reps it takes more then a cert.


i truly looking forward to get exercise therapyr cert through issa bc i will start working right along pt offices and helping them with rehab.

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ISSA is fishy
by: Anonymous

I've heard lots of good things about ISSA and understand it's not easy to pass. But here's the thing..it's an open book, at home test. I am NASM certified, NSCA-CPT certified, and have a 4 year degree in Exercise Physiology. The point is I could be hired by someone looking to get certified by them and do their final exam for them.

All you would have to do is find someone who is knowledgeable on the material, pay them some money to take the exam, and BOOM you're certified.

So I'm not discrediting ISSA's material at all, I think it's legit if you are honest about it. But I know a 19 year old kid who did exactly what I mentioned above and works at LA Fitness..and he is a terrible trainer. That's why I would never hire someone off certification alone but in my opinion ISSA does lose some credibility because their certification process is flawed in my opinion.

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Agreement
by: Alexander

I agree with a lot of the views on this page. ISSA Is certainly NOT a slacker. You work hard. I had 2 books and you have to make 5 workout plans, essays, etc. It is really difficult compared to other Trainer Certifications.
So why do so many gyms overlook ISSA and go for these "lesser" "un advanced" certifications?
I don't understand it. You go over a little bit of everything in ISSA, and just the basics with others. It makes no since that gyms will hire others because of this.
Personally I believe there is some biased stuff going on, like gyms hiring young blond girls with little or no experience or like one gym I know of hiring a high school student, just because he played baseball. He had no certification. That is wrong.
Because a lot of us trainers worked hard to get where we are at and are still not making enough to live on.
It's just messed up.

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Shrillness not needed (Pro-ISSA)
by: RetiredLEO/Mil

I am reasonably well-educated (BA and MA) and find the ISSA materials challenging. I am not taking the course, but my son is working his way through it. With his experience coaching wrestling, he will be a great trainer. Open book tests are usually more difficult for that reason. I would rather take a closed book test any time. Cheaters will cheat on tests, and if they are poor trainers, they will get fired by any decent business. "People don't care what you know until they know that you care!"

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ISSA is as good as you make it
by: Will

I started the ISSA course last June and my approach has been to study the text carefully, do the work book, and take the quizzes in closed book fashion. The essays force you to do research and go outside of their text, which is a learning experience in itself. The nutritional side of any program is difficult because what works for some will not work for others and you can't be there with clients when they eat. Overall, I agree that is itsn't what certifications you have, it is what you learn and can apply with clients. People generally don't care about your certification; they just want to see results. ISSA CFT courses are like any other CFT courses - an "introduction" to it. It is up to us to broaden our horizons and make ourselves marketable.

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Critical Thinking Is Required to Pass the NSCA, NASM, ACSM CPT Tests
by: Anonymous

To prepare for the NSCA-CPT, I wrote a series of essays on everything from biomechanicas to plyometrics to kinetics to the lever systems to bioenergetics. The test has questions on it such as, "Why do men have slower heart rates than women?" Nowhere are you provided with the direct answer to that question. You have to think about what you've learned about stroke volume and physiological adaptations to exercise to answer that question. (Men have larger hearts and lungs and, therefore, higher stroke volumes. Since more blood is pushed through with each heart beat, their hearts do not have to beat as fast.) You're told that you have a client who can only exercise for 20 minutes and that he has been doing resistance training consistently for a year. Then you're given a multiple choice list of mainly resistance exercises and told to choose a, b, c, or d. How do you answer the question when the choices only vary slightly? Obviously, you would choose the choice that would allow the client to work as many muscle groups as possible during that 20 minutes. Since he has one year of experience with resistance training, you'd choose the choice that provides one power, two core, and one assisted exercise. The assisted exercise allows him to work his biceps. Further, the NSCA knows what few other organizations know: aerobic exercise are resistance exercises; they are muscular endurance exercises. Does ISSA let you know that? So the idea that one does not have to think to answer the questions on the NSCA-CPT test is erroneous.

Also, how many questions are on a test and how many questions you must answer correct to pass a test is not a gauge of the comparative difficulty of tests. Some tests may require you to answer fewer questions correctly, because the test is so difficult that even those with college degrees in exercise science tend to miss a high percentage of the questions, i.e. the NSCA-CPT. Further, many of you do not seem to understand the accreditation process. To get accreditation the tests must meet certain standards. Those standards also relate to how the test were put together, how the test makers chose and determined the difficulty of the questions, the importance of the questions to the job, etc. So the accreditation agency looks at how the organization validated the questions and how reliable tests are. ISSA's tests do not meet the NCCA's standards for validity nor reliability. Would you receive the same score of an ISSA test if you took it both as an open book test and as a closed book proctored exam? If not, it then the test is not reliable nor valid.

Earn an NCCA certification from the start. At least make your sure that your CPT certification meets NCCA standards. After that, it will not matter as much from whom you earn your other certs.

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Critical Thinking or Passing a Test
by: Educated Trainer


Critical thinking, or just study test questions to pass a test and become Certified?

I have been certified by the ISSA for years now and can't say enough good things about their courses, tests, certifications and especially their service. They go above and beyond to help us, even after we've "taken their test."

A degree or certification for that matter is just a piece of paper. How you personally apply yourself and use the knowledge and skills you were taught is what makes a good trainer, doctor or plumber for that matter.

No matter whether your degree is from Harvard or USC, no matter what medical or allied health profession you enter, EDUCATION is mandatory.

The ISSA has incredible educational programs leading to certifications and now offers a nationally accredited Associates Degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis on Personal Training.

According to NCCA standards to become accredited, organizations can NOT REQUIRE test candidates to take their courses, classes, workshops or any educational programs. In fact, every NCCA accredited fitness organization must post that on their website.

The reason is because NCCA accredits a test and if the organization giving the test requires that you take their course, they can teach and drill you with sample questions just to "pass the test." In fact, you can buy flash cards and test questions online to help you pass your ACE, NSCA, ACSM or other NCCA accredited test - without ever buying or reading a book.

That, unfortunately leaves our incredible fitness profession without ANY educational requirements. NONE. If you're 18 years old, hold a valid CPR card and have a pulse, you don't need to take any courses or classes or quizzes - just pass the test. Buy test questions online and memorize questions and answers and you'll most likely pass. Its true and esearch has proven that we all look for the easiest way out….thats why Cliff Notes is so successful.

Requiring education is a good thing. I wouldn't be so quick to say, earning your NCCA certification first, is best. I personally believe, taking classes, courses, quizzes and developing a knowledge of the subject is better for me than just studying just to pass a test.

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ISSA
by: Educated Trainer

As we're trying to evolve as a profession, over the past 10 years that I've been certified by the ISSA, I've watched the ISSA take the lead. They not only REQUIRE education and have developed fair, valid and reliable test questions, they offer proctored exams for those who need a proctored exam to get a job. They also have met the rigorous standards of the DETC, who is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education which involves having not just their tests reviewed, but their business practices, all their educational programs and even their success with helping students achieve their goals.

I hope we all agree that we're in the only profession that can truly make a difference in helping to change this epidemic problem of obesity, inactivity and all the preventable diseases that result from things we address every day….by teaching clients how to improve the quality of lives through an active lifestyle, exercise and proper nutrition. As a profession, if we're tasked to take this role and make a difference, I sure hope we think about educating ourselves first and passing a test second.

If your gym doesn't recognize the ISSA, maybe you shouldn't work there. I'm earning six figures a year with my ISSA certifications and can't thank them enough for helping me succeed.

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Little relationship between years of experience & competence
by: Anonymous

That's true in many fields. People often do not keep up, and many were never properly vetted to begin with. Personal trainers can give the same five exercises over and over again no matter who the trainee is. I know of people who have been offered money to take the ISSA test. When you don't know who took your test takers are there is a problem. ISSA is not valid nor reliable. It's a junk test. If they make the testers take proctored exams it would change things. Personal trainers can injure people. So I think that this is important. By the way, I have a PhD in designing instructional and performance programs, which includes test design.

A 2002 investigation evaluated a random sample of 115 personal trainers using the Fitness Instructors Knowledge Assessment (FIKA) (which measures knowledge in nutrition, health screening, testing protocols, exercise prescription, and special populations). The study described that:[8][9]

70% of those surveyed did not have a degree in any field related to exercise science.
Those who did not have a bachelor's degree in exercise science-related field scored 31% less on average than those with a bachelor’s degree or higher in the field.
Those holding one of two specific certifications (the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)) certification scored 83% of the questions correctly on average. Those holding any certification other than ACSM or NSCA answered only 38% of the questions correctly.
Years of experience was not found to be predictive of personal trainer knowledge.

In partnership with the fitness industry, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) (which represents over 9,000 health and fitness facilities) started an initiative in 2002 to improve standards for both its own clubs and the industry as a whole. In January 2006, IHRSA implemented a recommendation that its facilities only accept personal trainers with certifications recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) or an equivalent organization. IHRSA considers other accreditation agencies if recognized either by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and/or the U.S. Department of Education (USED). As of January 2010, ACSM and NSCA certifications are among the 15 accredited certifications recognized by IHRSA, two of which are accredited by an agency other than NCCA (the Distance Education Training Council (DETC)).[10]

There remains no national legal restriction on the industry to date.

^ Malek MH, Nalbone DP, Berger DE, Coburn JW. Importance of health science education for personal fitness trainers. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Feb;16(1):19-24.

^ Moh H. Malek, PhD, CSCS,*D and Tamara K. Coburn. The Level of Exercise Science Knowledge Among Personal Fitness Trainers: A Guideline. [1].

^ http://www.ihrsa.org/home/2010
/1/14/accreditation-announcement-to-ihrsa-members.html

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Typical Ph.D comment
by: Anonymous

Calling ISSA a junk test? As a "doctor" I assume you took the exam and have objective information to support such a rude statement, didn't you?

As a Ph.D, I would think your response to the posts by Educated Trainer would be better than just one very inaccurate paragraph and bunch of old cut -n-paste content from 2002.

IF you read the posts above, the ISSA does offer a proctored exam, if that's what you need. I didn't need someone watching me take a test.

If you read the post above, and earned your Ph.D, I guess you took (and had to pass) some classes, courses, and had mandatory educational requirements as a prerequisite to earning your supposed degree...correct?

Where can you earn a Ph.D, or any medical or allied health credential (certification) without education?

The posts above made some very valid points that you avoided - that is, in summary, that education prior to becoming a personal trainer is a good thing.

ACSM, NSCA, ACE nor any other NCCA accredited test does not have any required education, no courses, classes to become certified. None. I know because many of my friends just studied test questions and became "Certified" by those organizations. I don't support how they did it, but it is true. I chose the ISSA because I wanted to become educated and learn. I took their test.

Now I am ISSA certified. They have many excellent nationally accredited programs. I'll be very proud to say, I earned my degree in Exercise Science from the ISSA, the organization who started personal training certification.

Where did you earn your degree?




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Some People Don't Get the Point
by: AK

Because I only have 3000 characters to write I won't be able to say everything I want to say which is a-lot.
1. Anybody can cheat on any test. It's the 21st century.
2. ISSA is not a junk test. If it was junk they wouldn't have it.
3. I do agree with the "Your certification is nothing without experience.." But....
You either have some guys or girls with years of experience who can't get hired or they have no experience bc no one wants to give them experience. You can't become a PT with years of experience if no one wants to give you any.
4. I know of this because I have seen it over and over. The Personal Trainer Business/ "World" is full of Biased, uneducated, and unfit "professionals" making a-lot of money teaching crap.
Sad but True.

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Certs
by: Drew Dorian

I have been in the fitness industry for almost 20 years and I have held many certs through the years ACE PT, NDEITA PT, Johnny G Spin, Body Pump and trained many to success in NPC competitions as well as college and pro athletes (name drop not necessary). I have worked for LA Fitness (Los Angeles Wilshire / Gayley), Spectrum L.A., Gold's, Powerhouse, World, I wont go on. I have seen many trainers with various certifications some succesful some unemployed. Think of a cert as an MBA, it looks and sounds great but you may never make it out of the mail room. I currently have my own 2000 sqaure foot funcional studio (not a crossfit) with 40 active clients. Best advice I can provide is be a master of your trade, you should never stop educating yourself as things change all the time. Find the place you want to work, find out what cert they require and start there. I started at a YMCA making $10 per hour (Midwest) and can now get $120 (Midwest) an hour 17 years later. If you have a passion for fitness and helping people make lifestyle changes then go get it. If money, chicks / dudes (whatever your into), and hanging out in the gym all day is your thing it's not likely you will go far. In order to be succesful in this career path you must be dedicated, disciplined and driven. Hope that helps.

P.S.

Insurance is a must
Liability Waiver
(proofed by an attorney, not your buddy)
Never take a client you dont /cant get along with

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ISSA certification
by: Kari

In viewing the forum there have been quite a few negative comments towards there being cheaters taking the online ISSA exam. One thing I would do to be fair and give any potential employee that is holding ISSA certification a fair chance, is to give an assessment when they come in to interview. Questions would consist of basic to intermediate/advanced level to see where that potential employee is at in their knowledge. This will definitely give you the answer(s)you need.

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ISSA is Legit
by: Yost

For the people recommending programs accredited by the NCCA instead of the ISSA program, you are valuing an accreditation with less weight. The US Dept of Education doesn't recognize the authority of the NCCA to accredit anything. The ISSA programs are accredited by the DETC and an association in California. Both of these accreditations are recognized by the US Dept of Education. They also have accreditation from the CHEA and IHRSA. You should immediately notice that the ISSA is able to use the .edu domain. Eligibility for a .edu domain name is limited to U.S. postsecondary institutions that are institutionally accredited by agencies that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Their programs are also recognized by DANTES, which allows soldiers to receive additional financial aid. What does all of this mean? The ISSA goes through a more rigorous accreditation process than any of the certs listed in this thread. In addition, the NCCA only certifies exams, not courses, so they can't require candidates receive any training prior to the exam. So if I am reasonably smart I can skip the materials and just take a multiple choice exam. If I passed, would you want me training you? Of course not.

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Those that have issa certs that are scared of nasm
by: Anonymous

I think to many issa certified trainers are scared of testing out in person . My advise is don't be afraid I am certified by both issa and nasm . Issa is hard bc of the essays and projects .

Nasm is more about memorization . So my advice to any one who is issa certified go through your final exam and by nasm flash cards . It should take you 3 weeks to pass issa and 1 week to schedule and pass the nasm exam .

I did it and I'm a dyslexic with ADHD with an iq if 120 so think about . If I can pass it you can to you just have to put the work in to it .

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Ordinary Guy Issa vs. NASM
by: Ty

I'm not the smartest guy in the world I was a high school star athlete became a young father and dropped out of high school .i was gym rat and worked out with the infamous Harlem bartendezs . I was about 18 years old just recieved my GED and got a scarlarship to play football at stony brook university . I started training family and friends in my off season , result I was offered a job ....now at the time I just wanted my cert fast I was recommended the issa it was not easy but it was open book I was able to have time for issa, college studies, and football, after college I began training in mix martial arts and decided to take personal training serious . Now because of all the dabate I was pushed to receive my NASM... I passed one shot studied for about 2 weeks and I can honestly say it was because of all the essay writing and case studies in issa. So yea I memorized NASM but issa study format breaks down kinesiology in the most comprehensive but challenging way. I now have my own 2000 sq studio in Yonkers , Ny. I'm currently back in school going for my Bs physical therapy . It just takes hard work and dedication no cert matters I've seen Nesta certs hurt clients!

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IsSa is the real deal
by: Andrew

First up I'm issa certified within 3 months I finished that course it's easy as this when ur done studying one unit I immediately go take that quiz while I'm fresh......that's how I finished all the quizzes in no time. And for those of you who talk low abt their testing methods they have the most toughest methods, first up the multiple choice is how it shud be! It's open book which makes sense, whatever u forgot u go back and read it! And u get ur answer, in real life world when ur a trainer this is wat u do We do our research and as for the case studies whew! It was tough. And when I got my exam results I got a whopping 90.3% an I surprised myself there....the reason y most gyms aren't looking for issa is because issa beleives in a slow process! Everyone else wants it fast

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I recommend ISSA
by: Nick

I own the ACE Certification book as well as the NSCA Certification book. Recently I purchased the ISSA packet and decided to go with them to get my certification. For one, the materials between all the books are exactly the same, the only difference is that ISSA leaves out alot of the "filler" stuff that the other organizations include in their books that you will never use. Also, the online support and quizzes, as well as the study guide are actually a bit better than ACE's in my opinion, and I think ACE's online course and study guide is very good. People talk about the "open book" component of ISSA so here is my take: I have two master's degrees, and many of my graduate school exams were open book as well. Does that mean my master's degree is not valid? Second, just because it's open book, doesn't mean you don't have to study. If you don't study, you're not only cheating yourself, but more importantly, you are cheating your clients that you will be working for in the future. There is such a thing as business ethics. ISSA is very good and I should be ready to test in about a month. The fact that they include case studies also attracted me to ISSA. Knowledge is one thing but you have to know how to APPLY that knowledge.

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ISSA is the real deal
by: Bleeding Navy Blue

ISSA may not be recognized by the NCAA or other companies but I clearly dont know why. ISSA is a laid out plan that actually teaches you the fundamentals and information to be a Certified Fitness Trainer. For the past almost three months I've been doing case study papers showing if I understand the material or not. This program is very detailed and you have to put forth some effort. Just took my proctor exam and I passed but I was sweating bullets. I've been working in the gym and other fitness trainers with two different bachelor degrees have been picking my mind about this program. Their totally amazed at how much I know and the programs I have came up with. I am currently active duty military so I dont charge any clients, I could but moneys not a big deal right now. Any who the gym now lets me hold as many sessions with clients as I want. They keep asking if I want to get paid and they are now looking into ISSA. So if your sleeping ISSA, go ahead and keep sleeping and get left behind.

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ISSA is worth it
by: Anonymous

Currently, I'm studying the ISSA CFT course and I'm not quite halfway through. I would be much further along if the material wasn't so scientifically sound. I've actually re-read a couple of chapters in the beginning because it was so much information to retain with just 1 read through! It is a no joke cert. But, as someone else said, it's as good as you make it. I want to know as much as I can so I'm giving it my all. I take my quizzes closed book because I want to know if I'm retaining the knowledge and I plan on taking the exam closed book (as much as I can!). So far, I've spoken to a few gyms around town. When I tell them I'm getting ISSA certified, they squint and say "what was that? I.S. What?". Some of them had never heard of the certification. I'm kind of wishing I had gone with nasm because it's more recognized but I chose ISSA for a lot of reasons. One is that they allow 2 years to finish, and having 2 children under 3 yrs old that require a lot of my time, I felt I needed more than the 3 months nasm allows. Plus, I want to work with clients in home and they don't know the difference between Issa and nasm! They just want results! And I feel I will be equipped to deliver thru my issa cert thus far. I've enjoyed y'all's comments thoroughly. It is reassuring that I made the right choice and picked a good one.

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Quality Certification
by: ISSA Certified and More

For those of you who believe that the ISSA certification is not one of quality, think again. When you evaluate the testing procedures amongst the major fitness certifications, none of them attest to the fact that the trainer may be qualified or not. Having been a clinical instructor in healthcare at one time, good test takers do not necessarily make the best at their respective profession.

Cram for a test and pass? That shows me alot. Yeah, sure. Put it into practice, and that is the proof. At minimum, with ISSA, they require extensive research and application for all of their final examinations, not just the regurgitating information onto paper. Oh, and the only certification who has a recognized accreditation. The others have their exam accredited, not their respective course.

Regardless of the certification, isn't it the individual trainer and the way they are able to convey important information to their respective clients? I like ISSA and hire primarily those who have gone through their various certifications. I have however worked with trainers from NASM and ACE who have been above par trainers as well.

So, for those of you who think your certification is better than that of someone else, so be it. Get stuck in that rut. Just remember, its the trainer, not the certification that changes lives.

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ISSA is not easy!
by: Anonymous

Let me tell you, They are thorough: essays, case studies... You cannot be an idiot and get a great score. I happened to "help" someone out who didn't speak English very well. I regretted having to do so much work on someone else's behalf.

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Obsolete Debate
by: Anonymous

The ISSA exam was difficult, and the material was quite comprehensive. In fact, based on the material, I have been able to progress beyond any level formerly obtained, and I have been working out for over 30 years.

The one thing that people have to remember about ISSA, is that they are the oldest fitness certification, and the only one that is accredited. So, their detractors may very well be who? On the internet, one could be reading a comment written by a typing dog, for all they know.

I know several trainers certified by other organizations, and they don't know **** from apple butter. They are guys who show up wearing a tie, and are on their cell phones texting while their clients are trying to perform exercises. On the other hand, I know ISSA certified trainers, who work out, and are walking examples of fitness, in addition to being excellent trainers.

The truth is that with all of the new options regarding fitness, such as Crossfit, and all of the other forms of exercise offering certification, i.e. Zumba, etc., many of these present certifications are a day late and a dollar short. Many of them are being passed by, by those involved in kettlebell, and many other forms of fitness training. The old model of the box fitness clubs is changing as I type, and the future will bring many changes. So, while many of you folks come here to argue which set of letters is the best behind your name, many others will be getting Crossfit level one certified, and never thinking about this obsolete debate.

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ISSA
by: P

ISSA certification tests are not that hard. But that isn´t really the focus, the majority of the points awarded are on case studies that make you think and apply all the knowledge you have learned through the course. This is the cornestone of what being a good trainer is. It´s good if you can pass a hard test, but the reallity is that if you can´t apply that to real clients, you are not going to be able to change anyone. As far as comparing Crossfit courses with these types of courses is simply riduculous. I am a Master trainer in ISSA and strength and conditioning in ACE, also I am a level one and level 2 ccrossfit cert and frankly the education you recieve through the courses mentioned in this article compared to crossfit courses is simply CRAZY. Crossfit profits from teaching the methodology while not paying attention to fundamental anatomy and phisiology things a trainer should know. In conclusion for what i have observed all ISSA trainers not only are very well versed in any subject regarding personal training, but they have a great ability to apply their knowledge to their programming. Also in 2001 ISSA was the only cert lol do not compare 2001 to today, it is much different and simply GREAT!.

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ISSA Master Trainer
by: JR

I am finishing up my ISSA Master Trainer cert. I have started my own business for personal training while still currently on active duty. I am not a great test take so I have some challenges at times. IMO if you are working for a corporation/ gym them the cert battle is there. however if you have your own and walk talk and look like you work out and uphold that image I think you will be fine with almost any cert so long as you continue to educate your self.

If there are any Master Trainers out there I would like to connect with you.
Jarenwright@yahoo.com

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ISSA Take-aways
by: Anonymous

Based off of many of these comments I am so glad I committed to ISSA to start with! These definitely reinforce my decision. I plan to start my own business in pre- and post-natal (fitness/personal instruction as just one service) so I needed a better knowledge base and for a value. I have an 11 mo old myself so I'm not looking to become "Master Gym Gal" anytime soon. I simply want to do what I enjoy, spread wellness, be with my child, and make some money doing it. Anyway, my question is this: Especially since my current audience is very niche and I will have to request more info/do extra research anyway, what are some of the main points, take-away's, etc. that you find that you need to know often, post-certification? I am studying the book cover-to-cover, and I'm not concerned about the exam, it's just a lot and although I'm getting the main points I'm forgetting the details - it's A LOT! I just don't want to end this with a fried brain. I have to admit, I'm not a fan on the time limit. Other than making money, it doesn't seem to make sense to have it so time sensitive. The very week I started my husband was out of town THREE weeks, my daughter got her FIRST cold for two of those weeks, and I was already set back tremendously. So, being that I'm already behind and only able to get a two month extension for free, what do you feel are the really important topics that I need to spend time on? Again, I plan to read every word, and I'm not looking for "skip this and only read that," but for the purposes of time-sensitivity, having a young child at home, and needing to start making some money relatively soon, what should I focus on/what do you find you are being called to use from your education? I will always have the textbook to look back on, continuing education and resources from ISSA, and the internet. . . Thanks in advance!

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