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My take on ISSA

by Nate

I just completed the ISSA personal training certification program and thought that it was a good experience. As a full-time college student in my final semester, this program served as a perfect fit for me. However, I do have to say that since I have started looking at potential jobs there seem to be quite a few employers that DO NOT accept or prefer the ISSA certification. From my personal experience with the program, this is something that I don’t understand or agree with.

I don’t feel that the online test-taking option should impact the credibility of the program at all. Personally I only had to take the test once and didn’t come anywhere close to failing, and I am sure that many other ISSA students share similar success. So because ACE for example only offers proctored exams at testing centers that makes the people who pass their tests more knowledgeable? I certainly don’t think so.

I decided to take a look at the website for ACE to see what the structure of their test was and what the requirements for passing were. The only reason I chose to compare ACE with ISSA is because it seems to be one of the certification companies that is widely accepted. What I discovered is that ACE has a much shorter exam in comparison to ISSA, and the requirement for a passing score is much lower as well. ACE only appears to require 500/800 points to pass, which comes out to 62.5%, while ISSA requires at least 75% to pass. I feel that a person can learn much more by taking the time to work with the material and apply it to an exam than they would simply taking a test and getting many questions wrong. I'm also fairly certain that any good personal trainer will continue to review material and expand their knowledge regarding their profession. Books are one source of this, so why is it essential to take them away during a test? I would hope that those who pass with the minimum requirements of programs such as ACE would figure out the answers to the 37.5% of the material that they were incorrect in answering.

After completing the ISSA program I simply dont see any reason as to why it should receive less recognition or credibility than any other company, if anything it should receive more. Hiring and credibility shouldn’t be based off of who a certification is through, but rather how that particular person/trainer applies their knowledge. With this in mind, I think ISSA gives its students an excellent opportunity to consume and apply a wealth of knowledge through their studies.

Comments for My take on ISSA

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ISSA
by: Glynis

I agree with you. I found that the ISSA certification is much more comprehensive than ACE and the other certification I hold, USCI. The ISSA test has about 160 T&F and multiple choice questions, six 250 word essays, and two case studies where you make calculations for two imaginary clients and then provide a 12-week program designed to help them meet their goals, along with nutrition recommendations. When your test is graded, you receive feedback on those essays, on your case studies and also on the earlier T&F, multiple choice portion.

I'm finding that gym owners that *know* how tough the ISSA exam is respect that certification.

I read on another discussion a complaint about the recertification process. You are required to complete 20 continuing education units - which doesn't have to be expensive. There are a variety of places online and off to receive these credits. It's worth it - you want to stay on top of your game. Requiring that we be knowledgeable and up-to-date is good for us and good for our clients.

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ISSA exam/cert
by: GC

I agree with Glynis and Nate.

A freind of mine who is both ISSA and NASM certified told me that ISSA exam was much more difficult tha NASM (which supposedly is one of the top 4 certifications).
Its a shame that the fitness industry doesn't have a better system in place.

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Recertification and CEC
by: Anonymous

Im busy compiling some info about the diferent organizations.
They all require recertification and CECs.
By my calculations,ISSA could cost $375-1000+ for the CECs. NCSF certification is in a similar range.
I havent completed my independent review of the rest yet,but I think Im going to limit it to ACE,AFAA,ACSM,NASM,NETA and NSCA.
Most of these organizations require 10-20 CECs to recertify. You need to send in documentation of your CECs.Im still trying to get a handle on what the total 2 year+ investment will be on a certification. It seems like $1000 to $1500+ for most of them. ISSA is currently discounted though.

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nassm & issa
by: Anonymous

I looking to become a personal trainer, I was thinking of taking ISSA personal trainer course, but I talk to a trainer and he told me that NASSM is the most recognized school then ISSA,I rather take the course online then a testing center i don't have the time to go to a testing site.

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CEU's
by: Anonymous

I am an ISSA CFT and one of the reasons I choose it was because I am also a college student. For every 1 credit I take at college in a field of study related to the CFT course (ie bio, exercise science, business, and maybe communication i don't remember) the ISSA gives me 3 credits toward my CEUs. So for a typical 3 credit class I get 9 CEUs.

I also listed my certification in a resume for grad school and I think it made a difference. I got accepted to physical therapy school at Drexel and Acradia University and I will be beginning PT school in the fall. Thank you ISSA!

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ISSA test
by: Linz

Hi, I just signed up for ISSA. I have all the study material. Wondering how the test was? what areas I should focus on?
Any input would be appreciated!

Thank you!


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ISSA CFT Course is intense- worth it!!
by: JFry

I just completed my ISSA exam doing the college 10 week course. It was very intense indeed with weekly classmate discussions, weekly tests, weekly (8 total) essays, and 2 case studies (15 to 19 pages long). ISSA has so much information for knowlege base training as a CFT. I took the final close book test which has only 60 questions that are T/F and M/C. Doing the 8 month program there are triple the questions and essays, and 2 case studies for the final compared to the 10 week program you only have 60 questions and that is all. 10 weeks is intense, but all worth the time. I was impressed with ISSA CFT course.

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Agree with everyone here!
by: Jay

I'm currently in the process of getting my ISSA certification. I have asked my personal trainer at LA Fitness about getting hired at gyms and the process and all that. I think he said that they don't accept ISSA Certified trainers, which is not fair at all. I don't see the reason why not. Which really confuses me.

He did tell me that Golds Gym will hire trainers with an ISSA certification. I'm talking to this guy who's opening up one & I told him I'll be getting certified from ISSA in a couple months & he told me to let him know when I'm done & we'll talk about getting hired.

Just get clients 1st and hopefully more experience will mean more than which school you went to.

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ISSA AS degree
by: remi_rivera

I just started the ISSA Associates degree plan. As a military member ISSA was the only trainer certification I am able to complete while deploy. They just got accepted my GOARMYED and you have the option of taking the certifications as you desire. Remember the Army pays for only one certification using your TA, so complete the Master Trainer, which you have 8 months to complete. I believe the best option, if this is what you want to do is the AS degree on Excercise Science. The plan includes all the Master Trainer certifications, but they have to be completed as Core Courses, and you have 10 weeks for each course plus proctored exam. You also have to complete the General Education classes and Electives. most electives were cover by my military transcripts. I know this is a new plan, but ISSA has taken a unique way to compete with NASM and ACE. I know that the quality of trainer that will surface from ISSA will be well train and ready to take over any trainer task. moreover you can utilize the degree to complete a BS in Excercise, Athletic Trainer or Strenght and Conditioning. Time will tell us, but for now I am confident that I chose the right program for my professional needs,
- SFC Remi (US Army)

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ISSA
by: Anonymous

I totaly agree with you I have shown my examine to a co-worker who has taking NASM. She told me my examine is pretty hard. I have learn so much more with ISSA. It is time comsuming.

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i'm fed up with these nay sayers!
by: Andrew

i've had enough of this low down talking about issa cft first off there is no other certification that is as tiring and that would make you literally work for the money like this one i'm issa certified and i'm damn proud of it all the haters out there are just going with ACE just because it is well known and it is very easy. what's all the big hype with ace and the biggest problem is that the trainers all have this giant ego that this cert is the best and as for the gym owners who doesn't accept issa that's their own lack of knowledge abt it. i bet if all the ace nasm and other cert people do this cft course from issa they might jus cry! issa makes you work for it and that's no joke. i've had sleepless nights studying for this exam and you have to keep studying . other people hate it cause it's too much work for them!

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Agree with others
by: Nick

I'm in the process of taking the ISSA Certification exam and it is NOT easy. Why this certification is not as highly recognized is beyond my comprehension. I chose ISSA due to the fact that I work a full-time job, am married, and the ISSA gives you more time to study and take the exam than other certifying agencies such as ACE, which gives you 90 days to take the exam once you enroll in their online course.

I have a Bachelor's Degree and two Master's Degrees, and many of my undergraduate and graduate level classes allowed for open book exams, and often focused on the APPLICATION of knowledge, not simply memorizing and taking a multiple choice exam. ISSA does the same; with the 6 essays and two case studies, you have to demonstrate your proficiency at APPLYING the knowledge on top of knowing it. ISSA is a winner and it's not easy. I have the study materials for ACE as well as ACSM and the material is no different in the textbooks than what is presented with ISSA.

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ISSA
by: Anonymous

ISSA material is very good. My wife manages a franchise gym and her only trainer has an ISSA certification and I've looked at the material. He's OK at best in my opinion because of him NOT the ISSA material. However, there is something a bit more intimidating about going to a proctored testing center and taking a non-open book/material exam. I take the ACSM CPT exam tomorrow and will have about $360 in study materials and about 2.5 months of blood/sweat/tears in studying and understanding the material. ISSA is a great quality program BUT until it moves to a proctored test setting it won't hold the weight that it's material could afford.

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certifcations
by: Anonymous

it's bullshit ISSA does not get the recognition of other certs. I have other certs and I'm very proud of my issa cert. As far as the guy who just posted until issa is a proctored exam it wont get any respect. Some of the biggest dumbasses hold nasm acsm and other certs and just because they took a "proctored" exam does not make them any bit more of a "qualified" personal trainer.

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