The International Sports Sciences Association has been around since 1988 and offers nine fitness certification courses, including the personal trainer certification course. The ISSA is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council, the DETC, which is recognized as an accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education. The accredited personal trainer certification course is offered online, and students set their own pace for completing it.
To complete the personal trainer certification course, students must complete all the online quizzes and score a minimum of 75 percent on all sections of the final exam. Additionally, all course fees must be paid and CPR/AED training must have been obtained. CPR and AED training cannot be completed online for first time learners. The training must be done locally. The Red Cross, the YWCA and local hospitals are common providers of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator training.
Students have eight months to complete the personal trainer course. After eight months, the course becomes inactive. It can be reactivated for an additional eight months for free, upon request. Two additional extensions for six months each can be purchased for $49 each. Students are expected to complete the course within two years, at the most. Beyond two years, additional fees apply, a petition to reactivate the course is required and a new edition of the course may be in place. On average, students complete the course within 10 weeks.
Students taking the online course receive their score for the final exam by e-mail. If they do not pass all parts of the exam, they may attempt the failed parts again free of charge. The test can be taken as many time as needed, but incurs a $50 charge for each retake beyond the second try. Until the final exam is passed, certification will not be issued. However, once all requirements are met, certifications are mailed to students within three weeks.
Every two years, ISSA certified personal trainers must renew their certification. The requirements for renewal include the completion of 20 continuing education units, submitting an updated CPR / AED certification and paying the renewal fee. It takes approximately a month to process renewal applications and to send out the updated certification. Incomplete applications will cause a delay in the processing and will take longer.
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.