ISSA Online Education: Pros and Cons

ISSA Online Education: Pros and Cons

As a busy professional, you’re always looking for ways to expand your knowledge and skills efficiently. In the fast-changing world of fitness, the opportunity to learn online from industry experts can be appealing. The International Sports Sciences Association, also known as ISSA, offers online courses and certifications in areas like personal training, fitness nutrition, and exercise therapy. However, before you invest your time and money, you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons to determine if their programs are right for you.


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An Introduction to ISSA Online Education

An Introduction to ISSA Online Education

ISSA offers various online certification and continuing education programs for fitness professionals. Their courses provide an affordable and flexible way to learn at your own pace anywhere you have an internet connection.

For those new to the fitness industry, ISSA’s Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) program provides a comprehensive education covering core topics like anatomy, exercise physiology, and program design. The CFT is an accredited certification that will prepare you with the knowledge and skills to become an effective personal trainer.

ISSA also offers specialized certifications in areas like nutrition, senior fitness, and corrective exercise. These targeted programs allow you to strengthen your expertise in high-demand areas. Continuing education courses are available on the latest fitness techniques and tools like TRX, kettlebells, and high intensity interval training.

While ISSA’s online programs provide flexibility and convenience, some individuals may find the lack of hands-on guidance and interaction challenging. The online format requires diligent self-study to fully understand complex topics. However, ISSA does provide resources like video tutorials, an online library, and opportunities to connect with instructors and peers for additional support.

In summary, ISSA offers a range of online education options for fitness professionals at various stages of their careers. For those motivated to learn through self-study, the affordable and flexible programs can be an ideal solution to gain new skills and improve your expertise as a trainer. With hard work and access to supplementary resources, you can overcome the potential downsides of the online learning environment. ISSA aims to empower fitness professionals through accessible education – if you put in the effort, you will find their programs rewarding.


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Benefits of Earning ISSA Certifications Online

Earning certifications from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) provides numerous benefits.

Convenience and Flexibility

ISSA offers certifications 100% online, allowing you to study and take exams on your own schedule from anywhere. This is ideal if you have a busy lifestyle or live in a remote area without access to in-person courses. You can log in and access all materials, including video lectures, digital textbooks, and interactive quizzes, 24 hours a day via ISSA’s online portal.

Industry-Recognized Credentials

ISSA is an accredited education provider that has been training fitness professionals for over 30 years. Their certifications are trusted and respected worldwide. Becoming ISSA-certified verifies your knowledge and competence to employers, clients, and peers. It signifies that you have the necessary skills and expertise to work as a personal trainer or in other fitness roles.

Continuous Learning

Once certified, you gain access to ISSA’s CEC portal where you can earn continuing education credits (CECs) through various free and paid opportunities. This helps you stay up-to-date with the latest exercise science research and best practices so you can provide superior service to your clients.

Career Support

ISSA offers resources to help you find job opportunities and advance your fitness career. Their career services include job listings, resume writing assistance, and career counseling. They also provide marketing tools, business forms, and other useful resources for those wanting to start their own personal training business.

In summary, earning certifications through ISSA’s online programs offers significant benefits with the flexibility of self-paced distance learning. Their accredited certifications, CEC opportunities, and career support services make ISSA an excellent choice for anyone aspiring to become a personal trainer or further their fitness education.


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Types of ISSA Certification Programs Available

ISSA offers several certification and continuing education programs to suit different needs and goals. As an ISSA member, you have access to valuable online courses and resources to strengthen your skills and keep your certifications active.

Certified Personal Trainer

ISSA’s Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) program provides comprehensive training for those looking to start a career as a personal trainer. Through self-paced online courses and an exam, you can earn an accredited CPT certification. This program covers core topics like anatomy, exercise science, nutrition, and client assessment. With a CPT certification, you’ll be prepared to train clients in a gym or as an independent trainer.

Specialist in Fitness Nutrition

If you want to specialize in nutrition coaching, consider becoming an ISSA Specialist in Fitness Nutrition (SFN). This certification program involves in-depth coursework in nutrition science, coaching methods, and supplement guidance. As an SFN, you can provide customized nutrition plans and support for clients. This credential may allow you to charge a premium for your services.

Corrective Exercise Specialist

For those interested in helping clients recover from injuries or improve their movement, the Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) certification is ideal. This program educates you in muscle imbalances, movement assessments, and tailored corrective exercises. As a CES, you can work with physical therapy clinics, athletic teams, or as an independent specialist. This certification may open up more career opportunities.

Continuing Education

To maintain your ISSA certifications, you must complete 20 hours of continuing education credits (CECs) every two years. ISSA offers many free CEC courses on their website on topics like behavior change, program design, and technology in fitness. You can also earn CECs by attending fitness conferences, publishing articles, and more. Staying up-to-date with trends in the industry will make you a better trainer and keep your certifications valid.

ISSA provides various educational programs and pathways to start or advance your career as a health and fitness professional. With a range of certifications and continuing education opportunities, you can build your knowledge and skills to better serve your clients.


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What to Expect From ISSA’s Online Courses

ISSA offers over 20 certification programs and continuing education courses in the health and fitness field through their interactive online platform. When taking one of ISSA’s online programs, here is what you can expect:

Course Materials

ISSA provides all necessary course materials digitally through their online education portal. This includes access to interactive course content, recorded video lectures, quizzes, workbooks, and required textbooks. The materials are available as soon as you enroll in a course and remain accessible for the duration of your program.

Student Support

As an online learner, you will have access to academic advisors and student support services via phone, email and live chat. ISSA aims to provide guidance and assistance to help you succeed in your courses.

Flexible Learning

ISSA’s online education model allows you to learn at your own pace based on your schedule. You can log in and access your course materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no live lectures or mandatory log-in times. You set your own deadlines for completing assignments, quizzes and exams. This flexibility makes ISSA’s programs ideal for working professionals and students with busy schedules.

Certification Exams

For certification programs, ISSA requires you to pass an official certification exam to earn your credential. Exams are administered at ISSA testing centers located throughout the U.S. and Canada or via online proctoring. You must complete all course requirements before you can sit for an exam. Upon passing, you will receive an official certification document from ISSA.

Continuing Education

ISSA offers continuing education courses and programs to help certified professionals maintain their credentials. Certain certifications require a specific number of CE credits every 2 years. ISSA’s online CE courses provide an easy way to fulfill this obligation and stay up-to-date with latest practices.

In summary, you can expect a robust learning experience with interactive course materials, academic support, flexible online access and official certification from ISSA. The convenience of studying remotely at your own pace makes ISSA’s programs an attractive option for advancing your health and fitness education.


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Tips for Successfully Completing ISSA Online Certifications

To successfully complete ISSA’s online certifications, follow these tips:

Start with the Right Mindset

Approach your ISSA courses with a growth mindset. View challenges as opportunities to learn and improve, rather than obstacles preventing you from success. Success requires hard work and dedication. Stay motivated by setting small, achievable goals and rewarding yourself for milestones achieved.

Develop Effective Study Habits

Create a regular study schedule and stick to it. Study for at least 30-60 minutes a day, 3 times a week. Find an environment free of distractions. Turn off electronics and find a quiet place to study.

Take Good Notes

As you go through the online course materials, take thorough notes on the key concepts, terms, and ideas. Review and summarize these notes regularly. Notes are useful for retaining information and studying for the final exam.

Use All Resources

Take advantage of all resources ISSA provides to support your learning. Watch video lectures, review graphics, complete practice questions, read blogs, participate in forums, and reach out to instructors with any questions. Using a variety of resources helps reinforce your learning through repetition and in different formats.

Review and Practice

Revisit sections, modules, and topics you struggled with. Review summaries, notes, and flashcards. Complete additional practice questions to apply what you’ve learned. Practice tests highlight areas needing more review so you can focus your studying.

Ask for Help

Don’t fall behind or feel alone. ISSA provides interactive forums and resources to connect with other students and instructors. Ask questions if there are any topics or concepts you don’t fully understand. Let your instructor know if you need additional help or an extension. Success is a team effort, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

With hard work, motivation, and the right mindset, you can successfully complete your ISSA certifications. Stay dedicated, develop good study habits, utilize all resources, review and practice consistently, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’ve got this! Keep your eyes on the goal and stay determined—you will achieve great things.


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How Much Do ISSA Online Courses and Exams Cost?

ISSA offers several options for online courses and certification exams at varying price points to suit different needs and budgets.

Certification Exam Packages

ISSA’s Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) program offers the most affordable options to become certified. The CFT exam package includes:

  • Online study materials and practice exams
  • Optional live or on-demand video lectures
  • Certification exam

The CFT package starts at $399. ISSA also offers bundles with extra study materials and a training session for $499-$699.

ISSA’s advanced certification, the Certified Elite Trainer (CET) program, provides comprehensive education and credentials for experienced trainers. The CET package includes:

  • All CFT materials
  • Additional video lectures and workbooks
  • Hands-on skills training workshop
  • Certification exam

CET certification starts at $799. Bundles with extra resources are $999-$1,499.

Continuing Education Courses

ISSA offers many continuing education courses to keep trainers up-to-date with the latest techniques and skills. Prices range from $49 for a single course up to $399 for comprehensive programs with certifications in areas like:

  • Nutrition
  • Weight management
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Senior fitness
  • Youth fitness

ISSA members receive discounts on all continuing education courses. Membership starts at $79/year and provides additional benefits like a profile in ISSA’s worldwide directory and quarterly online magazine.

In summary, ISSA aims to provide high quality, affordable education for fitness professionals at all stages of their careers. The cost for becoming an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer starts at just a few hundred dollars, making it an accessible goal for those who want to jumpstart their fitness career. With reasonable membership fees and continuing education options, ISSA supports trainers throughout their professional development.


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How Long Does It Take to Complete ISSA Online Certifications?

The time required to complete ISSA certifications varies depending on the specific certification and your current level of knowledge and experience. In general, you can expect the following timeframes:

CPT Certification

To become an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), you can expect to dedicate between 3 to 6 months to complete the required coursework, depending on your current experience. The CPT self-study course includes an online textbook, video lectures, and interactive quizzes. You will need to pass an exam at the end of the course to earn your CPT credential. If you already have a fitness background, you may be able to finish in 3 months by studying 10-15 hours a week. Those newer to fitness may need up to 6 months studying 5-10 hours a week.

Specialist Certifications

ISSA specialist certifications in areas like fitness nutrition, senior fitness, and corrective exercise can typically be completed in 2 to 4 months. These certifications require fewer hours of coursework but still culminate in a certification exam. The exact time will depend on the specific course and your relevant background knowledge. In general, expect to study 3-8 hours a week to finish a specialist certification in 2 to 4 months.

Certification Renewal

To maintain your ISSA certifications, you must renew every 2 years. Renewal requires completing continuing education units (CEUs), which typically takes around 10-20 hours for a CPT and 5-15 hours for a specialist certification. The renewal process helps ensure ISSA-certified trainers stay up-to-date with the latest in exercise science and training techniques.

In summary, you can earn an ISSA certification in a few months to half a year of diligent self-study, depending on the course. Specialist certifications and renewal processes require less time. ISSA aims to make their certifications accessible while still sufficiently rigorous, so you feel well-prepared to start your career as a personal trainer or advance your existing practice.


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ISSA Online Job Placement and Career Support

ISSA offers various online resources to help students and graduates find job opportunities and develop their careers.

Job Board and Placement Services

ISSA maintains a job board on their website listing available personal trainer positions from gyms, studios and other employers across the U.S. and Canada. As an ISSA member, you’ll have access to apply for any jobs that match your location and experience level. ISSA also partners with several job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Monster to help match CPTs with potential employers.

While ISSA does not directly place students in jobs after completing their certification, their career resources and job board access can help make the job search process easier. However, finding a personal training job still requires work on your part, such as building your resume, searching various listings, applying, and interviewing. ISSA provides resume templates and interview tips to aid you, but ultimately, you are responsible for securing your own employment as a CPT.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

To maintain your certification, ISSA requires you complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years. ISSA offers many free CEC courses on their website covering topics like nutrition, training techniques, and business skills. They also frequently host live and pre-recorded webinars which qualify for CECs.

ISSA aims to help CPTs keep their knowledge and skills up to date through their ongoing educational offerings. Staying up to date with the latest fitness research and personal training methods will make you a better trainer and benefit your clients. Participating in ISSA’s continuing education opportunities is a good way to advance your career as a personal trainer.

ISSA provides useful resources and tools for finding a job and developing your career, however, they do not directly place graduates in jobs or guarantee employment. While the job board, partnerships, and continuing education can assist you, building a successful career as a personal trainer with ISSA still requires hard work and persistence on your part. The opportunity is there, but you must take action to achieve your goals.


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FAQ: Answers to Common Questions About ISSA Online Education

Once you enroll in ISSA’s online education programs, you may have some questions about how it all works. Here are answers to some of the most common questions from students:

What courses are included in the programs?

ISSA’s Certified Fitness Trainer program includes 15 courses covering core topics like anatomy, exercise science, and programming. The Nutritionist program includes 10 courses on nutrition fundamentals and strategies. Both programs provide all the education you need to become certified.

How long do the programs take to complete?

You can complete either the CFT or Nutritionist program in 3 to 6 months of part-time study. The pace depends on the amount of time you devote each week. ISSA allows up to 12 months to finish all courses and take your certification exam.

Are the programs self-paced or instructor-led?

ISSA’s programs are self-paced, allowing you to log in and study whenever it fits your schedule. While instructors are available for questions, you can move through the content at your own speed. This flexibility makes the programs ideal for busy professionals juggling work, family, and education.

What resources and support are provided?

ISSA provides all necessary resources within your program. This includes interactive course content, videos, quizzes, workbooks, and a training manual. You also get access to the ISSA training portal which contains additional tools and resources. For support, you can connect with instructors and a student support team by phone, email, or chat.

How much do the programs cost?

ISSA’s program costs range from $699 to $999 depending on the program and payment plan. ISSA frequently offers promotions and discounts for students. They also provide flexible payment plans to make the programs more affordable. The total cost includes all coursework, study materials, practice exams, and one attempt at your certification exam.

What is ISSA’s certification exam like?

ISSA’s certification exams contain 200 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within 4 hours. You take the exam online through ISSA’s portal. A passing score of 70% or higher is required to earn your certification. ISSA provides a exam content outline and practice exams to help you prepare.


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In summary, ISSA offers flexible and affordable online education options for those interested in a career as a personal trainer. While the courses are self-paced, the amount of information can seem overwhelming and difficult to absorb for some. The certifications are nationally accredited but may lack the prestige of other major certification organizations. For those motivated to learn through reading and who need an inexpensive way to get started in the fitness industry, ISSA provides a pathway to achieve your goals on your own schedule. However, for those who prefer more interactive or hands-on learning, ISSA may not be the best option. As with any education program, you get out of it what you put into it. With hard work and dedication, an ISSA certification can be a great way to launch your fitness career. The choice is up to you – evaluate all the pros and cons and determine what will work best for your own needs and learning preferences. The opportunities are out there – you just have to decide to pursue them.


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