T Nation

ISSA, NSCA or Other?


After attending the Staley seminar, I realized that I need to make a career change to something I will truly enjoy doing. Since my BS is in Public Relations with a minor in exercise and sports sciences, I don't have a traditional educational background in exercise, sports, biomechanics, etc.

I've heard that there is no point in getting my master's or getting a new bachelor's degree. Many suggest getting certified.

So what should I do? I would like to be able to get into personal training and potentially have my own training facility or make it big like Staley and some of the others.

Should I get certified with the ISSA as a CFT? Or with the NSCA? Or both? Or some other certification program? Anyone know?


ACSM is very good, also.



As far as certifications go, I would (and did) go with the I.S.S.A.

You've got:
- Coach Staley, who designed the Martial Arts Conditioning curriculum.

  • Fred "Dr. Squat" Hatfield, with his 1,014 squat at 45 years old, who co-founded it

  • CJ Murphy, the strongman specialist over at EliteFTS.

  • Tom Platz, bodybuilding's lower limb legend.

  • Among others.


They are all just a piece of paper, for a person who has been around this site and around the lifting game for a while you will learn very little from a cert. That being said, you will have to have one to get in the door pretty much anywhere. I have an ISSA cert and it's as good as any and Tom Platz was my insructor which was vey cool. I have been doing the training gig a long time, if you have any questions just ask. -T

BTW I was also behind your shiney head also!


Hey dude, how's it goin down there? The YMCA wants me to get certified so I can start training there. I was thinking ACSM because it's supposedly better than ACE. Let me know what you decide on.



Right now, I'm thinking of going with the ISSA. I like the program and what they offer, and I like that Staley, Hatfield and others helped with getting the ISSA going.

I know it's just a piece of paper, but as Thad said, you need it to get in the door. So if I'm going to get certified, I want to get a good certification program. Even if I know most (or all) of the stuff from years of lifting, reading T-Nation, attending seminars, etc., I'll still need some sort of certification to get a job, train clients, etc.


I agree with Minotaur, ISSA is very good and professional, and has a good Q&A forum. Yes i am certified with them.


It's funny how things can change your whole view on what your doing with your life. I had my CSCS, let run out because of a carrer change. Now I'm getting back into it and have to retake the test. I had this realization after reading a Mike Mahler news letter.

One thing to remember...the Board of Certification can give you the piece of paper but its up to you to educating yourself. That is what will make you a good trainer, not letters after your name. If you havent already look at some the books at Elitefts, they even sell the CSCS text book.

Good Luck.


I'm AFPA certified. Guess I'm the only one on here everyone else is ISSA! lol



I am a SPN by ISSA and it was very usefull, right now I am in my Master in Nutrition with specialization in Sports Nutrtition and Nutrition in eating disorders, my SPN certification give me a nice tools to achieve my master, so I guess ISSA it is a pretty damn cool option.


ISSA is an excellent course. Yes, I'm certified through them, but I can still be objective about it.

NSCA is also a quality course. I'll be going after this one later on.

ACSM is next on my list of acronyms to conquer.



If you need a "quick ticket," go with ISSA. Although ISSA certs are a dime a dozen, it's reputable and a decent foundation. I am going to do it too!

Hey ... I'll ring you on the way home from work in a couple of hours ... ~ 7:30 your time ... to reveal some good news!



Sweet! Hit me up. If I don't answer, leave a message. I'm going to be at a musical performance that starts at 7:30 p.m. I'll call you back after it's over.

ISSA seems like a good way to go right off the bat. I don't mind getting a CSCS or other certification from ACSM or NSCA later down the road. But I definitely want to get something right away that will help me begin a career change.

And yes, I'll keep up with my education. That's why I enjoy reading all the articles here, as well as attending seminars that count toward CEU's (Staley's seminar was good for 8 hours). :slightly_smiling:


Hi Nate!

Even though I'm still a little upset that you grabbed Chris' butt and not mine, I'm still going to give you my advice. I am I.S.S.A. certified and love it. They have continuing education and online help (because we all know you need a lot of help..)

Here's the # 800-892-4772

And the website: www.issaonline.com


You are so gracious! :wink:

You've opened it up now...next time I see you, there will be a whole bunch of ass grabbing going on. You better bring the hubby to protect you!


I think my husband would rather grab your ass. Yours is tighter.


again, let me translate ...

"i'm going to Disney on Ice at 7:30"


I would go with NASM or NSCA.


How come? Which program?


It is nice....