Frequently Asked Questions

Course Content and Completion

What exactly should I find in my CFT 8th edition personal trainer certification course package?

A: Your Personal Trainer Certification CFT package should include the following:

  • Fitness: The Complete Guide (the largest book in the package; 727 pages)
  • CFT Workbook and Study Guide
  • Fiscal Fitness
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • "How to Complete your Course" information packet
  • Section Quizzes
  • Practice Examination
  • Dr. Arria's welcome letter
  • Selected reminders and promotional material

What is the best way to go about reviewing the course material to prepare for the examination?

A: The "How to Complete your Course" information packet contains step-by-step review and preparation information for each of the three available testing options: Home Study Examination, Online Examination and Seminar Examination. Review the packet for study options and testing procedures.

My course package includes a Practice Examination. Is it mandatory that I complete the Practice Examination?

A: The Practice Examination is not required, but it is highly recommended.

My personal trainer course package includes a Workbook and Study Guide. Is it mandatory that I complete the workbook?

A: The Workbook and Study Guide provides assistance in the retention of the course material. You are not required to submit the workbook in for grading. However, experience has shown that individuals who faithfully use the Workbook and Study Guide achieve greater understanding of the course materials than those who do not use a workbook. ISSA recommends that you actively use the Workbook and Study Guide to prepare for the fitness course examination.

What is required to get my personal training certificate?

A:

  • Submission of all course quizzes
  • A score of 75% or better on all sections of the final examination
  • Proof of current Adult CPR/AED
  • All fees paid in full
  • International Students: If AED training is not available in your country, you must file an AED Exemption with Student Services. Please call 1.805.745.8111 and be prepared to provide documentation of the absence of training opportunities.

Do I have to complete the section quizzes?

A: Yes; you must submit all course quizzes as part of your completion requirements.

Does ISSA offer the ability to take quizzes and exams online?

A: Yes! Online testing, for both quizzes and final exams, is the preferred testing method. Online testing saves you the hassle of organizing and photocopying your answer sheets, saves you from a trip to the post office, saves you postage for registered mail, and keeps track of your submissions in your Member Account. What's more, online testing produces a much faster turn-around time for grading!

Do I have to complete all of the course quizzes before I can take the final examination?

A: When you complete all of your course quizzes, you will be able to access and begin your final examination.

Will my quiz scores count toward my final?

A: No; quiz scores do not affect your final examination score.

Do I have to submit all quizzes at once?

A: You may submit any number of quizzes at a time (a single quiz or a group of quizzes), but you must submit the quizzes in order. If you take the quizzes online, your Member Account will track your quizzes for you.

How do I keep track of the quizzes I've submitted?

A: We highly recommend that you take your quizzes online at ISSAtrainer.com. Not only will you avoid the hassle of photocopies, registered mail, and a trip to the post office, you will receive immediate feedback on your performance. In addi- tion, your Member Account will track all of your quizzes for you.

Why do I have to submit all of my quizzes before I can access my final exam?

A: Submission of all of your course quizzes indicates that you have studied all of the course material and have enough background information to begin your final exam.

If I have finished my final exam, do I have to complete the remaining quizzes?

A: Yes; submission of all quizzes is a requirement for course completion. You may submit the remaining quizzes separately or you may submit them at the same time as your final exam.

May I submit some quizzes online and some by mail?

A: Yes. You may submit your quizzes entirely online, entirely by mail, or by using a combination of both.

How will you know if I have completed a quiz online?

A: Our server tracks and documents all of your quiz attempts and scores. This information is tied to your personal Member Account.

Is there a limit to the number of times I can take a quiz?

A: You may take the quizzes as many times as necessary, but we highly recommend that you do so online. If you request additional answer sheets to submit repeated quiz answers by mail, you will be required to pay an administration fee plus shipping and handling costs. Retaking quizzes online is free of charge.

Can I take the online quizzes even if I plan to mail in my final examination?

A: Yes; as an enrolled student you are free to use all of the available resources at your discretion. If you would like to take your quizzes online but mail in your final examination, feel free to do so. However, taking your final examination online will reduce the hassle of organizing and photocopying your examination, and save you a trip to the post office and money for registered postage. Also, you'll get your results much faster!

The examination is too difficult! I know what I'm doing but I have a hard time putting it in writing. What now?

A: You have three testing options and are at liberty to select whichever version best suits your learning and testing style. The examinations are not without difficulty. Remember, if becoming a professional in any field were without challenge, the profession's credibility would be questioned. Also, communication skills are essential to being a successful CFT. We have seen countless trainers who were quite experienced but lacked the communication skills necessary to succeed financially and professionally. Being able to express yourself verbally and in writing is imperative to your success. Don't forget: Educational Support is here to help! Contact us at 1.800.892.4772(1.805.745.8111 international) or visit us hrough the Members Section.

Are there advantages to testing online?

A: Yes! The home study and online examinations are identical, but there are distinct advantages to submitting your examination online:

  1. You do not have to print, organize, or photocopy your work for your records
  2. You do not have to make sure your name is on every page of your examination; our server tracks your submissions for you
  3. You save yourself a trip to the post office
  4. You save on postage for registered mail (and overnight postage if you are in a time crunch)
  5. You don't have to worry about your exam being lost en route or wonder when your exam was received
  6. Your examination is logged into our grading center the moment you press "submit"
  7. The Educational Support team will receive your examination on weekends as well as weekdays, leading to a quicker turn-around time
We strongly recommend online testing for all students, especially those with potential job offers or time-sensitive pay increases.

Are there advantages to testing at a seminar?

A: Yes! While all three final examination options accurately gauge and assess your readiness to enter the market as certified fitness professionals, the benefits to attending and testing at a seminar include:

  1. Instruction, insight, and advice from top trainers, already successful in the fitness industry
  2. A multi-sensory approach to learning (seeing, hearing, doing) to reinforce your distance-learning efforts
  3. Practical, hands-on experience with specific exercises in the gym, including proper form and safety considerations
  4. A proctored (monitored) examination--some employers require that you take a proctored exam
  5. Networking with fellow trainers and potential employers in your area

How should my exam look at the time of submission?

A: If you take your examination online, our secure server will organize and track your examination for you. Exams submitted by mail must be stapled or bound in a manner that keeps the coursework and examination organized. All final examinations should be typed, not handwritten. Students must be sure to include their name on every page of their exam. We do not allow plastic page dividers, sheet protectors or binders of any kind.

What happens if I fail my examination?

A: Home Study/Online Examinations: If you fail any portion of your Home Study/Online Examination, you will be offered the opportunity to resubmit that portion of the examination, free of charge. (This is known as your second attempt at the examination.) Each retest beyond the second attempt (e.g., third attempt, fourth attempt, etc.) will incur a $50 administrative fee. Seminar Examinations: If you fail your Seminar Examination, you may submit the Home Study or Online examination one time free of charge. If you wish to retest at a seminar, you may re-enroll in another seminar for $149. Each retest beyond the second attempt (e.g., third attempt, fourth attempt, etc.) will incur a $50 administrative fee. This administrative fee is in addition to seminar fees, if applicable (i.e., if you choose to retest for the third, fourth, fifth time, etc. at another seminar, you will be subject to both the $50 administrative fee and the $149 seminar fee).

What happens if I do not complete my course materials within two years of my enrollment date?

A: If you do not finish within two years, your student account will become inactive. You can reactivate your student account for up to 8 months from the original enrollment date, free of charge. You will need to finish your course within the 2-year period to avoid additional fees. Contact Student Services to reactivate. If you do not finish within 8 months, you can petition for up to two 6-month extensions to complete your course requirements. Petitions must be received prior to the 2-year time limit. Extensions are $49 each. If you fail to petition for an extension prior to the 2-year time limit, you can reactivate your studies according to the following: 1) If ISSA has not updated the course materials, you may reactivate your student status by contacting Student Services and remitting a $199 student reactivation fee. The reactivation will grant you 8 months to satisfy all course requirements. 2) If the course in which you were enrolled is in the same edition, but has been updated (e.g., you enrolled in edition 2.1, but ISSA has released edition 2.6), you may reactivate your student status by contacting Student Services and remitting a $199 student reactivation fee. You can access the updated materials online free of charge, or request new materials at a cost of $99 plus shipping and handling. The reactivation will grant you 8 months to satisfy your course requirements. 3) If the course in which you are enrolled has been upgraded to a new edition (e.g., you enrolled in edition 2 but ISSA has released edition 3), you will be required to re-enroll in the course at the current cost of re-enrollment. (Re-enrollment is normally the current enrollment price minus a Member Discount. Please contact your Enrollment Representative for the current cost of re-enrollment.) You will have 8 months to complete the new edition of the course.

Student Services

The examination is too difficult! I know what I'm doing but I just have a hard time putting it in writing. What now?

A: You have three testing options and are at liberty to select whichever version best suits your learning and testing style. The examinations are not without difficulty. Remember, if becoming a professional in any field were without challenge, the profession's credibility would be questioned. Also, communication skills are essential to being a successful CFT. We have seen countless trainers who were quite experienced but lacked the communication skills necessary to succeed financially and professionally. Being able to express yourself verbally and in writing is imperative to your success.

How long do I have to complete my personal training course?

A: All courses must be completed within 8 months of the official purchase date. If a new edition of a course becomes available during your enrollment period, you will be given the opportunity to upgrade to the latest edition of the course. A voluntary upgrade will extend your enrollment period to 8 months from the upgrade date.

What is required to get my fitness training certificate?

A: ISSA Students must have a passing score of 75% or better on either a seminar, home study, or online examination, as well as submit a copy of an Adult CPR Certification and AED card. All ISSA enrollment fees must be paid in full.

How long does it take ISSA to process my examination and personal training certificate?

A: ISSA personal training certificates are processed and mailed within three weeks after all certification requirements have been completed.

How should my exam look at the time of submission?

A: Completed exams should be stapled or bound in a manner that keeps the coursework and examination organized. All final examinations should be typed, not handwritten. Students must be sure to include their name on every page of their exam. We do not allow plastic page dividers, sheet protectors, or binders of any kind.

How do I receive my Home Study/Online Examination results?

A: Students who submit their exam online will receive their results via email, using the email address provided at the time of testing. Home Study examination results will be sent by US mail. The communication via email or US Mail will be from the ISSA Technical Support Department. Students may contact the ISSA Technical Support Department for any questions regarding results.

What if I don't pass my examination?

A: Home Study/Online Examinations: If you fail any portion of your Home Study/Online Examination, you will be offered the opportunity to resubmit that portion of the examination, free of charge. Each retest beyond the second attempt (e.g., third attempt, fourth attempt, etc.) will incur a $50 administrative fee.

Seminar Examinations: If you fail your Seminar Examination, you may submit the Home Study or Online examination one time free of charge. If you wish to retest at a seminar, you may reenroll in another seminar for $149.

Each retest beyond the second attempt (e.g., third attempt, fourth attempt, etc.) will incur a $50 administrative fee. This administrative fee is in addition to seminar fees, if applicable (i.e., if testing for the third, fourth, fifth time, etc. at another seminar, you will be subject to both the $50 administrative fee and the $149 seminar fee).

What type of CPR/AED Certification is required for certification?

A: Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training are necessary skills for fitness professionals. All ISSA students are required to submit a CPR/AED certificate card including, but not limited to, Basic Adult CPR and AED training. Due to ISSA's high standards, online CPR/AED certifications are only accepted from students who have already completed a hands-on practical application CPR/AED class. Documentation acknowledging previous hands-on CPR/AED certification is required for online CPR/AED acceptance. Friends and Family CPR is not an acceptable form of CPR and will not be allowed by ISSA for certification purposes. NOTE: Please check with your personal liability insurance carrier before obtaining online CPR/AED certification. Many insurance liability companies require hands-on CPR/AED to continue coverage and will not recognize an online course as valid.

Where can I find a CPR/AED class in my area?

A: The American Heart Association and Red Cross are two of the most popular providers in the United States. CPR/AED Classes can also be found through local gyms, fitness facilities, fire departments, hospitals, and YMCA's.

How long do I have to complete and submit CPR/AED documentation?

A: You have 8 months from your enrollment date to satisfy all the requirements of the program: submission of all quizzes, a score of 75% or better on all sections of the final examination, proof of valid CPR/AED, and all accounts paid in full. You will not earn your certification until you have met all requirements.

How do I submit CPR/AED documentation to the ISSA?

A: ISSA requires a photocopy of the front and back of the CPR/AED card. Copies can be submitted via fax (805.745.8119) or mail (1015 Mark Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013). Please contact Student Services with any questions you might have regarding CPR/AED submission at 800.892.4772.

I am applying for insurance. Where can I find my student identification number?

A: ISSA student identification numbers are printed at the bottom of each certified student's certificate. If a personal training certificate does not indicate the student identification number, the student should contact the Student Services Department between 7am and 5pm, Monday through Friday at 800-892-4772.

What is ISSA's policy on certification course refunds?

A: Students who cancel within 5 days of course enrollment will receive a refund of all money paid to the institution. Beyond 5 days (but before the end of the enrollment period) the course may be cancelled and a refund requested. Refund is a percentage of refundable tuition and is based on the percentage of course work completed (see table below). The non-refundable registration fee of $95 and shipping costs will be subtracted before the refund percentage is calculated. % of refundable quizzes submitted tuition* due

% of quizzes submitted: None
Refund due: 100%

% of quizzes submitted: 1%-10%
Refund due: 90%

% of quizzes submitted: 11%-25%
Refund due: 75%

% of quizzes submitted: 26%-50%
Refund due: 50%

% of quizzes submitted: 51% or more
Refund due: 0%

*Refundable tuition is the original tuition minus $95 regisration fee and shipping/handling costs We have provided a Cancellation and Course Material Return Form in your materials for fast, complete processing. Remit your cancellation request along with your course materials to: ISSA • Attn: Course Returns • 1015 Mark Avenue • Carpinteria, CA 93013.

What is ISSA's policy on certification course transfers?

A: Students can transfer a course to another student within six months of the original enrollment date. A completed Course Transfer Form, a copy of the current student's photo ID, and a $50 transfer fee must be submitted to the Student Services Department prior to the six-month limit. ISSA courses may only be transferred once. Authorization from a Student Services representative is required for all course transfers. (Contact Student Services at 800.892.4772.)

How often may I call your toll-free technical support line?

A: ISSA aims to provide its students with valuable resources such as educational support. Students may contact the ISSA Educational Support line as often as necessary to facilitate learning, even post-certification. ISSA is here to help students succeed! The ISSA Technical and Educational Support Department is available between 7am and 5pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday at 1.800.892.4772 or 1.805.745.8111 (international). Students may also post questions inside the Members Section to receive feedback from our Technical and Educational Support Department as well as other ISSA trainers who frequent the message board.

I'd like to exchange my course for a different specialty. Can I do this?

A: Course exchanges will be granted within 30 days of purchase. In order to issue materials for the new course, ISSA must receive the original course package in its entirety, postmarked no later than the 30th day of enrollment. A $50.00 administration fee plus shiping costs for new materials shall apply. Students will be subject to the tuition reimbursement schedule of the new course commencing with the reassignment date. Remit a completed Course Material Return Form along with your course materials to: ISSA, Attn: Course Exchange, 1015 Mark Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013


Continuing Education

How do I renew and maintain my certification?

A: ISSA trainers are required to renew their certification every 2 years. This process consists of a renewal fee, updated CPR/AED certification, and documentation stating the completion of 20 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). (Please note, fulfillment of this specification is required of trainers only after they have received certification through ISSA. CEUs are not a prerequisite to receiving certification.)

How many CEUs do I have to complete for recertification?

A: ISSA requires a minimum of 20 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to be earned every 2 years to maintain certification. CEUs can be obtained through ISSA or any approved CEU provider. 1 CEU is equal to 1 contact hour of instruction. Certifications will not be renewed unless the aforementioned CEU requirement has been met. To view ISSA CEU options and approved providers, please visit issaonline.edu/continuing-education.

What qualifies as a CEU?

A: One CEU credit is equal to 1 contact hour of instruction. All 20 units or contact hours must be taken through ISSA, an ISSA Continuing Education Provider, or other ISSA-approved continuing education activity. To be sure that a specific personal training course is approved, please contact the Continuing Education department at 800-892-4772 (Monday through Friday; 7am to 5pm PST), or visit issaonline.edu/continuing-education.

Can I receive CEUs for CPR/AED/First Aid certification?

A: No. CEUs are not issued for CPR, AED, or First Aid training. CPR/AED training is a separate requirement for fitness certification and, therefore, will not double as credit toward your CEU requirement.

If I earn more than 20 CEUs, will the extra units carry over to my next renewal period?

A: The ISSA seeks to uphold its standards of providing top-notch personal training education and information to its fitness trainers. Similarly, ISSA encourages its students to continue their learning with the most cutting-edge information available to health and fitness professionals. For this reason, CEUs earned in excess of the required amount cannot carry over because new information is always emerging in the field of exercise and health. 20 CEUs is the minimum requirement for every 2-year renewal cycle.

What will I receive to confirm that I have taken a qualified CEU program?

A: Upon completion of any ISSA course or approved provider courses, students will receive a certificate of completion/attendance. This documentation confirms completion of the CEU program. For college or university courses, students will need to obtain a copy of their transcripts or grade report to receive ISSA CEU credits.

Should I send in my CEU documents each time that I complete a course?

A: No. Students should keep their CEU documentation in a safe place until it is time for them to renew. Students may submit all required documents and fees in 1 renewal packet.

May I attend a seminar for continuing education credits?

A: Students who have successfully earned a CFT certification may attend one seminar per course edition for continuing education credits. For example, a student who successfully completes the 8th edition CFT course using any of the three testing methods may register for one 8th edition CFT seminar to earn continuing education credit. If the ISSA revises the course and seminar (e.g. upgrades the 8th edition to the 9th edition), the student may also register for the new edition seminar to earn continuing education credit. Only students holding CFT certifications may attend the CFT seminar for continuing education. Students holding specialization certifications other than the CFT or trainers certified by other organizations will be required to enroll in the CFT certification program in order to attend a CFT seminar. Students who attend a seminar for continuing education and pass the Continuing Education examination will be awarded 20 CEUs. Contact the Continuing Education Department at 1.800.892.4772 to enroll in a CFT seminar for continuing education.

If I am attending the seminar for CEUs, do I have to test?

A: Yes, everyone attending an ISSA personal training certificate seminar must pass an examination to receive CEU credit.

How do I prepare for the seminar?

A: The best way to prepare for the seminar is to review the course materials. Technical Support can further guide students in adequately preparing for the personal trainer certification exam.

What happens if I do not pass the seminar examination for continuing education? Do I have to go again?

A: Students who do not pass the seminar examination do not receive credits for the seminar. The student will be notified by mail and will have the option to retest via independent study. A $25 fee will be imposed if reexamination is required for CEU purposes.

How many times can I attend a seminar for continuing education?

A: ISSA Students may only attend a fitness certification seminar once for fulfillment of CEUs for renewal purposes. Due to the plethora of other continuing education opportunities, additional seminar attendances will not count for continuing education credits.

What if I want to take a course, but I don't see CEUs listed for ISSA. Can I still receive credit?

A: ISSA students may submit a petition for an unapproved provider's course. The course must be directly related to the member's fitness profession and educational growth in the professional fitness industry. A petition for each CEU program approval must be submitted and must be accompanied by all appropriate documentation and fees for review. Each petition is reviewed at the discretion of the ISSA advisory board.

My personal trainer certification has already expired. Can I still renew?

A: Renewal packets may be submitted up to one year after the original expiration date. Late fees will be assessed to all applications that are received after their expiration date. For ISSA fitness certifications that have been expired for over one year, the applicant will be required to pay the appropriate fees and retest prior to reinstatement of the personal trainer certification.

If I submit my renewal packet late, but still within the one-year time limit, when will my new personal trainer certificate expire?

A: All completed applications received within the one-year time frame will be renewed for ds past the original expiration date. For example, if a student's personal trainer certification expires on April 29, 2004 and he or she submits a renewal application on October 13, 2004, his or her updated personal training certificate will expire April 29, 2006. This means the student will lose six months on his or her active certification period.

How long does it take to receive my new personal training certificate once I have submitted the renewal packet?

A: Once the completed renewal packet is received, it will take three to four weeks for processing and mailing of the updated personal trainer certification. Incomplete packets will be returned and issuance of the updated personal training certificate will be delayed. Students should make sure the renewal packet contains all the required material and fees prior to submission to prevent time delays. Below are some frequently asked questions about attending and/or testing at a local ISSA seminar. Please read this over carefully before calling Student Services.


Seminar

I am interested in attending a personal trainer certification seminar. How much does it cost?

A: The ISSA Fitness Certification Seminar enrollment fee is $149. For CEU seminar fees, students must contact the Continuing Education Department. Below are some frequently asked questions about attending and/or testing at a local ISSA seminar. Please read this over carefully before calling Student Services.

Where can I find the schedule for seminars?

A: A schedule of upcoming personal training certification seminars can be found on the ISSA website at http://www.issaonline.edu/fitness-seminars/seminar-schedule.cfm. For those students who do not have internet access, please call the Student Services Department to find out about upcoming ISSA personal training certification Seminars.

How far in advance do I have to enroll in a fitness certification seminar?

A: Students must enroll in the fitness certification seminar of choice at least one month prior to the Seminar date. Many of our seminars reach enrollment capacity before the deadline. To ensure a seat is reserved, please register as soon as possible. Please refer to our seminar schedule online at http://www.issaonline.edu/seminars/seminar_schedule.cfm for official enrollment deadlines.

Do I need to preregister for a seminar?

A: Yes. ISSA students must enroll by the registration deadline which is at least one month prior to the certified fitness trainer seminar. Students may enroll in a seminar by calling the Student Services Department at 800-892-4772.

Can I enroll in a seminar online?

A: Currently students may request a seminar enrollment inside the Members Section at www.issatrainer.com. Please note: Online seminar enrollment requests are NOT a verification of enrollment. Seminar enrollment requests are processed by the Student Services Department. ISSA students will be notified within five business days if their enrollment has been accepted.

I am already registered for a seminar. How can I find out when, where, and what time my seminar is being held?

A: Once registered for a seminar, a seminar pass and confirmation letter with details on the seminar location, times, and dates will be sent via US mail prior to your seminar attendance. If you do not receive a confirmation letter and seminar pass within two weeks of the initial seminar reservation, please contact the Student Services Department at 800-892-4772.

I am scheduled for a seminar and cannot attend. What is the cancellation policy?

A: If for any reason, students are unable to attend the ISSA seminar, they will need to cancel at least five business days before the seminar. Those who do not show up or do not cancel on or before the deadline will be assessed a $50 rescheduling fee. Rescheduling fees are due when a student requests to attend another seminar. Seminar cancellations may only be processed through the Student Services Department. For those attending a seminar for CEUs, enrollment and cancellation must be processed through the Continuing Education Department.

What is the CFT Certification Seminar refund policy?

A: Refund requests must be made at least 5 business days prior to the scheduled seminar. Full refunds will be allowed if requests fall within this time period. Partial refunds of $50 will be allowed for all seminar refund requests made after that time period. The time limit for partial refunds is within 30 days after the scheduled seminar. Refund requests will not be allowed for attended seminars. All refunds will be processed within 30 days from date of request.

What materials should I bring to the seminar and how should I dress?

A: Students who are planning to test at the seminar will need to bring writing materials, a calculator, seminar pass, practice exam workbook, and verification of CPR completion. Students who do not have a CPR card can still test, but ISSA must have a copy of the card on file before a completion certificate is issued. Fax both front and back of the card or certificate to 805-745-8119. ISSA Students have one year from the final examination passing date to submit CPR for certification. If this date lapses, retesting must be completed for certification. The seminars are casual, so students may dress comfortably.

What if I do not pass the seminar exam?

A: If you fail your Seminar Examination, you may submit the Home Study or Online Examination one time free of charge. If you wish to retest at a seminar, you may reenroll in another seminar for $149.

Each retest beyond the second attempt (e.g., third attempt, fourth attempt, etc.) will incur a $50 administrative fee. This administrative fee is in addition to seminar fees, if applicable (i.e., if testing for the third, fourth, fifth time, etc. at another seminar, you will be subject to both the $50 administrative fee and the $149 seminar fee).

If I am retesting, do I have to attend the whole seminar?

A: Yes. Due to the importance of the information presented at the seminar, ISSA requires its student to engage in each portion of the seminar in order to maximize the learning experience.

Do I have to take the exam at the seminar?

A: No, testing is not required at the seminar.


General Questions

What is a certified personal trainer legally able to do?

A: Personal Training deals with the art and science of physical conditioning combined with healthful behavior modification techniques that are preventive in nature, but not corrective, therapeutic, or rehabilitative. There is focus on the use of passive, active, and resistive exercise to maintain and improve human function.

In addition, personal trainers can work with technologies that include:

  • Health and fitness assessments and testing procedures;

  • Injury recognition, appraisal, preliminary treatment, and instruction; and

  • Counseling on wellness and public health issues, including:

    • Weight management

    • Smoking cessation

    • Nutritional counseling

    • Stress management; and

    • Disease prevention.
At the date this was revised, there is no licensing for personal fitness professionals in the United States. A personal training certificate does not constitute a license to practice medicine. Unless you are already a licensed health care practitioner, it is important not to present yourself as a physician in any manner. Industry recognition, memberships, and liability insurance are available to ISSA graduates. Students should investigate the laws within the state in which they reside.

When a client comes to a personal trainer for health support for a particular problem, they will have received a diagnosis from a primary health care physician. If not, they should do so. The trainer can educate the client on health and fitness, which can complement any treatment prescribed by the primary health care physician. The focus of a trainer is not on disease or illness, but on fitness and health allowing the body to heal itself. Many primary health care physicians are willing to work with certified personal trainers to achieve the best overall plan for the client.

As a personal trainer, it is important to remember that your suggestions are complimentary to a primary health care physician. A personal trainer cannot diagnose a client as having a particular illness, or purport to treat or cure any disease. This constitutes practicing medicine without a license. However, there is a large scope for a certified personal trainer to educate the client without stepping over that line.

Note that if you are a health care practitioner, you may be able to adjunct your new training to your existing practice. Many RNs, MDs, Physical Therapists, and Pharmacists take the courses for this purpose.

What is the value of my ISSA certification?

A: Certification is a process by which ISSA, as a nongovernmental agency or association, recognizes the competency of individuals who have met certain qualifications as determined by the ISSA. To achieve your personal training certification from ISSA individuals must meet the eligibility requirements for certification and pass our personal training certification examination.

Certification provides both personal validation and validation for employers and consumers of the certificate holder's professional competence in the fitness field.

Specifically, certification:

  • Demonstrates to colleagues and superiors a dedication to quality healthcare and to the highest standards for conduct of fitness professionals.

  • Presents solid evidence to employers that an employee has trained and has been tested to implement best practices and apply current technology solutions, in addition to any abilities that in turn advance the organization.

  • Sets a person apart from uncredentialed job candidates.

  • Assures current knowledge through continued education and verification of base level competency.

  • Holds value to employers because it supports a worker's ability to uphold fitness industry standards and regulations, thereby potentially saving organizations from potential liabilities.

  • Catalyzes career development by augmenting resumés and adding recognition to candidates' capabilities. Since credentials appear after a person's name, they announce expertise with every signature.

How does ISSA fit into the evolving fitness industry?

A: As ISSA fitness professionals it is imperative that we keep up with the ever-changing and evolving recommendations for health and physical fitness that have a direct application for fitness programs and exercise recommendations.

ISSA is the industry leading first fitness organization in the U.S. to be accredited by a federally recognized agency. We are proud to be accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Accrediting Commission is:

  • Listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized agency
  • Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
  • Recognized by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)

The International Sports Sciences Association is also an NBFE Affiliate, which allows ISSA trainers to sit for NBFE’s National Board Certification Examination.

What is a state license?

A: The definition of licensing is to give authority or formal permission from the proper authorities to perform certain acts or to carry on a certain business, which without such permission would be illegal. Requirements differ from state to state.

What does program accreditation mean for me?

A: Accreditation by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) assures students that ISSA provides the highest quality in education. Because DETC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, students can access armed forces tuition assistance and even transfer ISSA courses for college credits.*

ISSA's accreditation by DETC was based on state and federal agency reviews, financial audits, on-site inspections, student and alumni surveys, and a rigorous process of self-examination. Accreditation "assures students that [ISSA] operates on a sound financial basis, has an approved program of study, qualified instructors, adequate facilities and equipment, approved recruitment and admissions policies, and advertises its programs truthfully."

Institutions accredited by DETC are examined to:
  • Have clearly defined and well stated learning objectives
  • Offer educationally sound and up-to-date courses
  • Provide satisfactory educational services to students
  • Demonstrate student success and satisfaction
  • Have a competent and academically qualified faculty
  • Carefully screen students for admission
  • Promote its courses truthfully
  • Be financially and administratively able to deliver quality educational opportunities
  • Have an effective research and self-improvement program

DETC accreditation means that ISSA merits public confidence and delivers on its promises.

*College transfer credits are determined by individual institutions. Check with your college advisor to see if ISSA courses qualify at your institution.

What is the NBFE?

A: The National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) is a not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting excellence in the fitness profession through standardized and unbiased National Board examinations. NBFE exams will assess the competencies of fitness professionals currently working in the field and those who are newly graduated from a national certification program or college with approved curriculum. Assessments are designed, developed and deployed based on scopes and standards of practice as defined by the NBFE and its six advisory boards. The NBFE will serve the needs of state licensing authorities, fitness certification organizations, health clubs, colleges, the military, the medical profession, fitness trainers and the public.

Why was the NBFE formed?

A: The NBFE was formed because there are no regulations or national standards for "Certified" Personal Trainers. In recent years, the fitness industry has received harsh criticism by the media, Medicine, health clubs, and the public. Currently, an individual with no experience and minimal competency can "buy" a certification. Due to these contrasting standards and the lack of regulation in the industry, several states have legislation pending or in discovery to regulate the fitness industry without input from industry stakeholders.

On March 20, 2004 members of the NBFE met with the heads of many national certification organizations and International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) executives to discuss plans to establish national standards, and the development and deployment of national board exams.

Who will define the scopes and standards of practice for the NBFE?

A: Members of the NBFE will determine scopes, standards, and content for all NBFE assessments. The NBFE will draw members and input from six Advisory Committees representing all areas interests of the fitness industry. These committees are as follows:

  • Certification Organizations Advisory Board
  • Fitness Professionals Advisory Board
  • Health Club Advisory Board
  • Higher Education Advisory Board
  • Medical Advisory Board
  • Military / Armed Forces


Website Questions

I need to activate my CFT Online Final Exam right now! How do I do it?

A: Call the ISSA at 1-800-892-4772 during California business hours and ask for the Webmaster. We will be happy to activate your CFT Online Final exam ASAP.