Close this search box.

ISSA Offers NCCA Accredited Exams – Pop the Champagne!

The ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) now has NCCA accreditation. Happy dance!

Previously, ISSA was accredited by DETC. While the DETC is well-known throughout the personal training world, NCCA accredited programs are the best known in the fitness industry.

Employers see the NCCA accreditation, and your resume goes to the top of the pile. Don’t believe us? Check it out!

Who is ISSA?

The first training program to certify personal trainers, ISSA, has been around since 1988 when Dr. Sal Arria co-founded the program with the help of sports scientist Dr. Fred Hatfield.

Together, they created the ISSA to enable people to educate themselves and eventually certify in personal training.

Their curriculum is broken into six sections for a more versatile training that encompasses everything from anatomy to nutrition.

The sections include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Kinesiology and Biomechanics
  • Health and Physical Fitness
  • Program Development
  • Nutrition
  • Fitness For All

Unlike some other personal training competitors, an ISSA certification isn’t specific to a particular fitness genre.

Instead, they use a general over-arching approach that invokes everything from the physical to the mental health involved in training.

ISSA Certification Process

The ISSA certification process features study guides to ensure a passing score of 75% or higher on the 160 question test.

The good news is that the exam is an open book, and there isn’t a time limit. The course is four weeks long and includes CPR/AED certification and a job guarantee upon completion.

Depending on your preferences, there are options to add a nutrition class or intern with a personal trainer.

This leads to a personal training certification that enables you to get a job in the industry.

New NCCA-PT Certification

In 2019, ISSA decided to take on the NCCA accreditation to further its company mark in the personal training market.

Once you have achieved an ISSA certification, there is the option of completing the NCCA-PT exam to receive training accredited by NCCA.

If you have certified with ISSA, the exam is offered to you for free. The cheapest ISSA certification is $69/month for a year. The NCCA-PT certification runs around $599.

The NCCA-PT exam features 140 multiple choice questions, of which 125 are graded. Fifteen questions are considered pre-test questions and aren’t a part of your final score.

A two-hour time limit is enforced for this exam, and it’s a closed book test. If you have prepared for the ISSA exam, there is overlap in the questions, so no additional studying is required.


NCCA was developed in 1987 by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.

Since that time, they have risen to the top of the charts regarding personal training accreditation. Through intense audit processes, certifications are checked for quality in their curriculums to ensure all consumers get top-notch training.

NCCA accreditation is known worldwide as one of the very best for personal training.

Not only do most gyms acknowledge this accreditation as a source of excellence, but it is also often required by gyms for employment opportunities.

What’s Included with NCCA-PT?

Now that ISSA offers this NCCA accredited certification, let’s look at included certifications.

  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • Certified Group Exercise Instructor
  • Certified Yoga Instructor
  • Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach

No matter what kind of training you are looking for, the NCCA-PT certification has you covered. 

Final Thoughts

ISSA is an excellent option for personal training that features more international trainers than most competitors like NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine).

With the opportunity to be accredited by NCCA, ISSA has risen to the third most popular personal training certification.

Always check what credentials the gym you are looking to work for requires before seeking out a specific personal training certification.

For the most part, a certificate through ISSA with accreditations through DETC, IHRSA (International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association), and now NCCA, any gym or training facility will be jumping with joy. That’s how respected ISSA and NCCA are in the industry.

For more information on ISSA vs. NASM, check out our article that dives deeper into two of the most prestigious training organizations.

Website | + posts

Kristen holds a bachelors in English from Louisianna university. With a longstanding passion for fitness, she owns and operate her own gym and is a certified jazzercise instructor.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *