There are multiple fitness certifications available, ranging from general Personal Trainer certifications to more specialized certifications such as the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Where do you start? It’s important to do your research and compare the various CPT certifications. One to start with is the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) offers a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification, a valuable credential that can elevate a fitness professional’s career in several ways. Let’s dive deeper into why it’s worth becoming an ISSA CPT and the potential earning prospects.

Recognition and Credibility

ISSA is a globally recognized institution known for its comprehensive and rigorous certification programs. It was founded in 1988, is globally recognized, and NCAA Accredited.

Its CPT program is designed to provide fitness professionals with an in-depth understanding of the science behind personal training and the tools necessary to create effective, individualized fitness programs. As an ISSA CPT, your credibility as a fitness professional is significantly boosted, setting you apart in a crowded market.

Comprehensive Knowledge

The ISSA CPT program is meticulously designed, providing a strong foundation in anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and exercise science. It combines theory and practical knowledge, teaching trainers how to design and implement customized fitness programs to help clients achieve their specific goals, whether weight loss, muscle building, athletic performance enhancement, or general fitness improvement.

Person securing a weight plate at one end of a deadlift bar.

Flexibility and Convenience

ISSA understands the demands of a busy schedule, offering an entirely online program that allows candidates to complete their studies at their own pace. This flexibility makes it easier for aspiring fitness professionals to balance their education with other personal and professional responsibilities. You can access the course materials, quizzes, and final exam online whenever it’s convenient for you.

Ongoing Support

Once certified, ISSA members gain access to a wealth of resources to further their professional development. This includes regular educational updates, opportunities for specialization, business and marketing support, and a network of other fitness professionals. ISSA also offers a job guarantee and unlimited lifetime support for their CPT program.

According to ISSA, 95% of their students find a job within six months of passing the exam.

Job Prospects and Salary

Becoming an ISSA CPT can significantly enhance job prospects. Many gyms, health clubs, and fitness centers prefer or even require trainers to have certification from a respected institution like ISSA. Certified trainers are considered more reliable and competent, leading to better job opportunities and career progression.

Now, onto the big question: what can an ISSA-CPT expect to earn? According to data available until 2021, the average salary for a personal trainer in the United States is approximately $40,000 annually. However, this can vary greatly based on several factors, including location, years of experience, specialization, and the number of clients.

For instance, highly experienced trainers working in urban locations may earn upwards of $70,000 annually. Furthermore, fitness professionals who specialize in sports nutrition, strength and conditioning, or senior fitness – which ISSA offers specialized certification courses for – can expect to earn more. Personal trainers who successfully build their own businesses also have significantly higher earning potential.

Exam details

Candidates must be at least 18 years old and have a current CPR certification. There are 140 multiple choice questions where 125 questions are scored and 15 are unscored. Candidates have two hours to complete the exam.

The exam covers six subject areas:

  1. Applied Science (Anatomy, Kinesiology, Physiology)
  2. Nutrition
  3. Intake and Ongoing Evaluation
  4. Program Design and Implementation
  5. Exercise Selection, Technique, and Training Instruction
  6. Professional Practice and Responsibility

Learn more about the ISSA CPT exam here.

Becoming an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer offers numerous benefits, from boosting credibility and enhancing knowledge to improving job prospects and earning potential. Investing in this certification could be the stepping stone you need for a fruitful career in the fitness industry.