How Long Does It Take to Pass ISSA?

ISSA estimates that most students need 8-10 weeks to prepare for the exam. This assumes you can study for at least an hour each day. If you have prior experience or can dedicate more time to studying, you may be able to pass faster.

As the exam is online, you aren’t limited by pre-determined testing dates. It’s important to feel confident that you know the syllabus before taking the exam though.

Something else to note is that your course must be completed within 4-months of purchasing it. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to study, as you’ll need to pay a fee if you don’t take the test before this limit.

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Training Materials

A range of physical and digital study materials are included with the ISSA CPT program. These include the main course textbook, study guide, workbook and an online exercise lab.

The most important content is contained in “Fitness ?The Complete Guide.” This is a 759-page textbook with everything you need to know to pass the ISSA personal trainer exam. It’s a hefty book, but is relatively easy to read. The book is provided in both physical and digital formats.

Aside from the textbook, the online exercise lab is a useful addition to the program. It contains 3D animations of 250 exercises, helping you learn the correct technique and form.

While the textbook contains excellent information, I feel the other materials are limited compared to competing certifications. You don’t get a cueing library or lecture videos, for example, like you do with NASM. The included materials are of a high-quality though, and provide everything you need to pass.

What can you expect to learn in the textbook and other materials though?

The training materials cover the following broad areas:

  1. Program Development ?ISSA teaches how to design programs for a wide range of clients. This is essential for getting results, as the best program for an athletic person is different to someone who has never been to the gym. Topics covered include basic assessment, training principles, periodization and training loads.
  2. Anatomy and Physiology ?It’s vital for personal trainers to understand anatomy and physiology. The course textbook covers topics such as metabolism, the musculoskeletal system and physiology.
  3. Physical Fitness and Health ? A personal training certificate is not a license to practice medicine or a clinical degree. It’s still important, however, to understand how a person’s health affects their ability to exercise.
  4. Nutrition ?ISSA offers a separate certification for fitness nutrition, but the CPT program covers the basics.
  5. Kinesiology and Biomechanics ? ISSA students are taught a foundational knowledge of how the body moves. You’ll also learn musculoskeletal deviations and the mechanics of strength. The 3D exercise animations teach you to apply this information to real-world situations.
  6. Fitness for All. Once you have a solid understanding of the other topics, the textbook teaches how to design fitness programs for a diverse range of clients. These include older adults and young people. There are also sections and case studies on designing programs for people with diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and asthma.

All the course materials are available online, so you can start studying immediately after purchasing. ISSA also ships you hard copies of the textbook and study guide.

An advantage ISSA has over purely self-study programs is the support provided. Unlimited educational support is included in the price, and this continues even after you’ve passed the exam. You also get access to an online forum, where you can ask other trainers and ISSA staff questions about the course material or other professional challenges.

I also like that ISSA has included a marketing and business guide. If you plan to develop an independent client list once you are certified, this shows you how to get your first customers.

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