Although having a passion for fitness and teaching is helpful for becoming a personal trainer, the desire alone is not enough to pursue this career. You must obtain a personal trainer certification through an accredited organization such as the International Sports Sciences Association, founded in 1988. ISSA claims to have 180,000 students and alumni worldwide.
A distance learning and certification organization, ISSA offers nine fitness certification courses, including its personal training certification course. You have eight months from the date of your enrollment to complete your personal trainer certification coursework. The average length required for completion is 13 to 16 weeks, as the ISSA coursework is self-paced. You must be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma and need a current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using a defibrillator, obtained through organizations such as the Red Cross.
The personal trainer certification course covers health and nutrition topics including sections on anatomy, physiology, nutrition, injury and disease, designing fitness programs and kinesiology abd the science of movement.
ISSA offers options for taking your certification exam. You can complete it on paper at home, mail it to ISSA and await grading. A quicker option is taking the exam online at home, which will give you instant access to your score. Both exam formats are taken open book. You may also take a proctored, closed-book exam with a three-hour time limit.
The ISSA personal trainer certification course costs $599. This cost includes study materials and access to study support online and by phone. After your exam, you are granted access to the full ISSA website, including job listings.