ISSA Private Coach Certification Assessment (2023 Replace)


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My journey to turning into a licensed private coach started after 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 wished, I packed on quite a lot of kilos (about 70, to be actual) through the first two years of the pandemic. With a wider-than-ever waistline and a lower-than-ever stage of self-confidence, I lastly needed to embrace the concept of doing issues otherwise.

Nevertheless, little did I do know that forming elementary habits like lifting weights a minimum of 4 days per week and slicing out processed meals would quick observe me down a wholly new profession path. As I noticed the quantity on the dimensions 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 individuals 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, offers a well-rounded curriculum, and provides a ton of helpful sources and research supplies: the Worldwide Sports activities Science Affiliation (ISSA). I rapidly discovered why it’s some of the in style certs within the health business. This ISSA private coach certification assessment will provide you with an summary of this system design, spotlight its strengths and weaknesses, and handle steadily requested questions so you’ve all of the solutions.

Key Takeaways

  • At a value level of about $1,000, this private coaching certification program is a wonderful technique 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 help your studying journey. Along with a whole slate in fact supplies, they’ve a job placement instrument, web site builder, consumer consumption varieties, and a step-by-step enterprise information — all of which come included together with your buy of the private 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 excited by specializations like powerlifting and vitamin teaching.

Who’s the Worldwide Sports activities Sciences Affiliation?

The ISSA was fashioned in 1988 by a staff of health consultants with the aim of stemming the tide of bodily decline and serving to aspiring professionals get pleasure from 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.Moreover 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 Businesses (NCCA) and the Distance Schooling and Educating 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 business gyms and native health amenities that you simply in all probability already prepare at, which suggests you recognize 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 house 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 you might want to succeed, together with a complete guided research program full with a textbook, audio and video lectures, and quizzes (one for every chapter). Though you’ve six months to finish the CPT course, it usually takes about 10 weeks. The ISSA even provides a $99 Quick Monitor program that gives an accelerated research information so you possibly can go at your individual tempo, skip the quizzes, and transfer on to the ultimate examination. 

I saved it easy by signing up for the usual CPT course, which took me about 4 weeks to finish with about two hours of research time per day. At round $1,000, it’s cheaper than the Elite Coach and Grasp Coach packages. The textbook contained a wealth of knowledge on every thing from power methods to train routines, and the lectures and quizzes strengthened these ideas.

Your whole onerous learning culminates in a remaining examination that consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. You need to earn a minimum of a 75 p.c to come back out on the plus facet of the move/no move grading system. However don’t sweat in case you get check nervousness — 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. Total, the examination is extra about making use of the ideas moderately than merely memorizing muscle teams and macronutrient specifics, so it’s extra helpful to real-world eventualities.

From the time you join the certification program, the staff — which incorporates enrollment specialists, successful coach, and bootcamp instructors — makes each effort to see you succeed with steering and help. It’s as much as you to contact them if you need or want additional 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 boldness and instruments wanted to teach future shoppers.

Who Ought to Get the ISSA Private Coach Certification

  • Anybody who needs 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 via the data you’re snug with and take deep dives into new materials.
  • Those that need to be their very own boss. ISSA contains numerous classes on advertising and marketing and gross sales so you can begin (and develop) your individual private coaching enterprise.

Who Shouldn’t Get the ISSA Private Coach Certification

  • Anybody who needs to teach on the collegiate or skilled stage will probably want a minimum of a bachelor’s diploma in kinesiology or train science and a private coaching certification from the Nationwide Academy of Sports activities Medication (NASM) or the Nationwide Power and Conditioning Affiliation (NSCA).
  • When you simply need to be taught extra about figuring out and lifting however don’t count on to work as a private coach, there are cheaper and directed methods to take action.
  • Those that solely need to present weight-reduction plan and vitamin 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 inexpensive. The worth might be paid in full or damaged down into 5 or 11 funds with as little as one greenback to get began. 

From a price perspective, ISSA falls according to business requirements. For instance, the NASM CPT course is simply barely cheaper at $899. In the meantime, the American Council of Train (ACE) offers 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 contains one specialty course of your selection) and Grasp Coach (which prices about $2,000 and contains one specialised certification observe with 4 programs). As well as, in case you don’t have already got a CPR/AED certification (you’ll want one to be a CPT), you possibly can get hold of one via ISSA for simply $49.

ISSA Licensed Private Coach Examine Supplies

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

ISSA has all kinds of research supplies starting from audio classes to guided readings to reside boot camps. Plus, signing up for the private coaching certification course provides you entry to 31 follow quizzes that will help you get able to move the ultimate examination.

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

Foundations and Purposes for a Licensed Private Coach Textbook

Out of all of the course supplies, the ISSA CPT textbook is by far a very powerful. Not solely are the quizzes and remaining examination largely primarily based on its contents, nevertheless it’s a beneficial 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 contains the next chapters:

  1. Well being, Health, and Private Coaching
  2. Psychology of Habits Change
  3. Motion Techniques
  4. Supporting Techniques
  5. Ideas of Biomechanics
  6. Power and Metabolism
  7. Consumer Assessments
  8. Components of Health
  9. Ideas of Program Design
  10. Ideas of Flexibility Coaching
  11. Ideas of Cardiovascular Train
  12. Ideas of Resistance Coaching
  13. Train Choice and Approach
  14. Vitamin Foundations
  15. Supplementation
  16. Persistent Situations
  17. Lifespan Populations
  18. Enterprise and Advertising
  19. Security and Emergency Conditions

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

I discovered the format and general design of the textbook straightforward to learn, and the ISSA did effectively to incorporate loads of diagrams and photographs for help and added context. Given the advanced nature of a few of the matters — significantly the chapters on biomechanics and power and metabolism — I appreciated having visible supplies to rely on.

Furthermore, the inclusion of formulation, tables, and pattern exercises made the textbook significantly beneficial. I began the course with a stable basis of weightlifting information and ample expertise experimenting with completely different weight-reduction plan methods. Nonetheless, ISSA’s textbook taught me a lot extra about train and vitamin by offering complete lists of workouts by physique half and giving easy-to-understand examples of how one can calculate caloric and macronutrient wants.

Examine Guides

Together 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 move the ultimate examination. Every week you possibly can count on to dedicate between two to 4 hours to check, relying in your velocity and familiarity with the week’s matter. You’ll need to learn the assigned chapters of the textbook, hearken to the audio lectures, then full the quiz for the week. After that, examine again to any data you had been not sure of and brush up on it.


There are 18 completely different quizzes on topics from the psychology of conduct change to consumer assessments to enterprise and advertising and marketing. The quizzes embody the entire areas of research you’ll must grasp to develop into a well-rounded private coach.

So as to carry out effectively, you have to to rely on the studying and lecture info from that week. Practically the entire multiple-choice questions pertain on to the fabric within the textbook, with a few of them containing particular phrases that may doubtlessly trick you to steer within the fallacious route. 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 problem of the matters lined that week. I additionally favored that I acquired immediate suggestions on the questions I answered accurately and people I missed, which helped me acknowledge the areas I didn’t perceive so effectively and wanted to revisit.

On-line Discussion board

ISSA contains their CPT Instructional Bootcamp which runs a web-based assembly as soon as per week for 5 weeks that 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, resembling train choice. As well as, the instructors have open workplace hours every week the place they host a reside video Q&A session for one hour to present extra individualized consideration and examination prep help. 

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


The ISSA ensures that you simply’ll discover a job inside six months of finishing their private coach certification, or they’ll offer you a full refund. When you take and move the certification exams, apply to a minimum of three gyms inside six months of finishing your certification and aren’t employed, ISSA will provide you with your a refund.

Fortunately, I didn’t run into any hassle 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 actually helped, with the ability to formally name myself a licensed health coach gave me credibility to get employed.

Last 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: Primary and Utilized Science, Consumer Evaluation, Particular Populations, Program Design, Vitamin, and Skilled Follow, Drawing-In Section, and Fiscal Health. As you possibly can see, the sections are fairly different — similar to your job as a private coach can be, too.

It could actually take wherever from an hour and a half to 2 hours or extra relying in your test-taking velocity. I used to be capable of full the examination in simply over an hour, although I did have prior CPT information earlier than enrolling within the ISSA program. Total, you possibly can count on to reference your textbook all through the examination. Since it’s allowed, it solely is sensible to put it to use as a useful resource to make sure you carry out effectively throughout all six sections.

Anticipated Examine Time

ISSA says the certification might be accomplished in as little as 10 weeks and the guided research is ready up for precisely that. When you come into this program with completely no information, it could take you a bit longer. Then again, if you have already got a stable base of data in train science and biomechanics, you could possibly doubtlessly full the course in just a few weeks in case you dedicate just a few hours per day to it.

Cross Price

Though you want a rating of 75 p.c or higher to move the ISSA CPT examination, the move charge is about 90 p.c. Nevertheless, don’t fall into the lure of pondering the ultimate examination is a cakewalk due to that. Positive, the very fact it’s an open-book check is a big benefit, however you must also be dedicated to actually comprehending the fabric so you possibly can ship high quality programming to your shoppers.

Retest Value

Ought to you’ve skipped a few of the preparation, or check nervousness bought the most effective of you, don’t sweat. Fortunately, ISSA is aware of that, and you may retake the ultimate examination — without spending a dime — inside 30 days. You’ll solely must retest on the questions that you simply missed too because you already know the opposite stuff.

ISSA Persevering with Schooling Necessities

To resume your certification, you might want to show that you simply’ve been maintaining with the newest science associated to private coaching and train. You are able to do this by offering proof of a minimum of 20 persevering with training models (CEUs) within the type of workshops, different certifications, seminars, or different accepted actions. Recertification takes place each two years, which supplies you adequate time to hit the 20-CEU threshold. 

As well as, the recertification price is $99, which is among the many lowest costs within the business. Different recertification prices vary from $150 to $300, relying on the group. Better of all, in case you get your 20 CEUs via ISSA, they waive the recertification charge totally. I already set myself as much as reap that reward by finishing the ISSA Nutritionist course shortly after acquiring my CPT certification. 

Potential Profession Paths With an ISSA Private Coach Certification

Using the train video library with the course supplies.

It could appear fairly simple that getting your cert is a pure step towards being a full-time private coach, however there are extra choices accessible 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 actually an possibility, you can even parlay your private coaching certification into turning into a health heart supervisor, group health teacher, well being coach, health author, exercise developer, or perhaps a health mannequin.

Incomes my private coach certification via ISSA immediately paved the best way for me to safe a place at YouFit, the place I constructed a loyal base of shoppers, 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 numerous manufacturers within the health/vitamin house, which in the end led me to hitch Breaking Muscle as a full-time workers author. 

Plus, don’t underestimate the ability and earnings potential of placing your private coaching certification to make use of through social media advertising and marketing. Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube supply infinite prospects to share your information and fervour about every thing from dietary supplements to biomechanics in an easy-to-digest type. Or, you could possibly begin a web site the place you promote custom-made coaching packages to shoppers world wide. Both method, you possibly can make the most of your CPT certification to construct a enterprise designed for as we speak’s tech-driven world.

Anticipated Wage

Pinpointing an actual wage is sort of not possible 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 many who work within the company fitness center setting.

One estimate says the typical private coach wage falls round $66,565. Nevertheless, that largely depends upon location, training, and years of expertise. On the whole, a full-time private coach at your native fitness center will probably make nearer to the $50,000 mark.

In my expertise as an ISSA CPT, you even have to contemplate the earnings potential of working for your self vs. for another person. Constructing your individual coaching enterprise comes with some apparent dangers and bills like house fitness center tools (in case you determine to run what you are promoting out of your own home, which is what I at the moment do), nevertheless it additionally comes with limitless monetary upside and full management. Then again, working in a company fitness center setting might supply extra stability, together with advantages like medical health insurance, retirement, and the prospect to earn commissions.

Different ISSA Certification Packages

You may increase your incomes potential by including extra ISSA certs to your resume. Their hottest is the Elite Coach program, which incorporates entry to the NCCPT Accredited CPT Examination. In keeping with the ISSA web site, turning into an Elite Licensed Coach can let you make an additional $8,000 per yr.

For a extra sizable step up, you possibly can develop into an ISSA-certified Grasp Coach. This program offers six particular person certifications that ISSA claims may 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 resembling Power & 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 contains the CPT course and one specialization of your selection out of the next choices: 

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

Even When you 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 healthier suited to a graduate of an train science or associated program who needs a scientific-style mannequin for coaching. So, when you have aspirations to work for knowledgeable sports activities staff or high-level faculty program, a NASM certification will provide you with a leg up. 

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


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

Regardless of having a a lot decrease required passing rating than its rivals (simply 62.5 p.c), ACE has a considerably decrease passing charge than ISSA at 65 p.c. You’ve got 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 technique to keep away from the recertification charge of $129. 

Parting Ideas on Getting ISSA Licensed

When you’re seeking to construct a profession within the health business, the ISSA Private Coach Certification is a superb place to look. They provide top-notch preparation supplies for all sorts of learners and even offer you a week-by-week information to maintain you on observe. The ultimate examination was difficult and thorough in its scope, forcing me to fastidiously assess the query and reply choices.

Total, the gathering of sources — from the train video library and pattern coaching plans to downloadable consumer varieties you should use instantly — made investing within the ISSA’s program effectively price it. Until you’ve a need to teach on the NCAA or skilled stage, 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 need to meet the standards 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 screen of the portal for you, and the ultimate examination is locked till you full all of the quizzes.

Can I get a printed copy of the textbook for the ISSA private coach certification?

Though most college students make the most of the web model, you possibly can get hold of a printed copy of the ISSA private coach certification textbook for round $40.

Does the ISSA supply follow exams?

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


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