International Sports Sciences Association

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The International Sports Sciences Association is an organization that operates as a teaching institution and certification agency for fitness trainers, aerobic instructors, and medical professionals.

The ISSA offers a general fitness certification course for personal training and six specialized fitness certification courses, including fitness nutrition, sports nutrition, strength and conditioning, exercise therapy, senior fitness and youth fitness. The student obtains the status of "Elite Trainer" after completion of three courses and "Master Trainer" after completion of six courses.

Instruction is based on exercise assessment, nutritional planning, fitness instruction, sports medicine practice, and post-rehabilitation training. The school has enrolled over 130,000 students, both in fitness education and continuing education courses.[1]


No official requirements or standards of physical training existed until the fitness boom of the 1980s. The International Sports Sciences Association was founded in 1988, when, "recognizing the need for standardization and credibility, Dr. Sal Arria and Dr. Frederick Hatfield created a personal fitness training program to merge gym experience with practical and applied sciences."[2] In keeping with this standard, the ISSA became a Provisional Affiliate of the National Board of Fitness Examiners in 2004.

The National Board of Fitness Examiners was founded to develop nationally based and uniform standards of practice for personal fitness trainers to be used to administer an NBFE provided written and practical examination followed by registration of those who successfully pass the test process. Under NBFE’s procedure, preparation for the NBFE examination can take several forms and includes training through a number of affiliated organizations who themselves include certifying organizations for fitness professionals,[3] including the ISSA. In 2009, the ISSA became the first fitness organization to earn accreditation by a federally recognized accrediting agency—the Distance Education and Training Council[4][5] (an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation).

As a result, the ISSA was added to the list of GI Jobs' Military Friendly Schools in 2010, being approved by the Department of Defense for the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) to accept U.S. Armed Forces Tuition Assistance and the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Financial Assistance program.[6][7]


  • Public Division: no restrictions, open to current students, current members, and the general public.[8]
    • Primary function: to encourage enrollment in ISSA education programs...[and] provide information via articles and links on health and fitness.[8]
  • Education Division: access restricted to students enrolled in ISSA education courses, and ISSA certified members in good standing.[8]
    • Primary function: to provide specialized education in health and fitness.[8]
  • Professional Division: Exam access for ISSA students qualified to sit for final exam, full access for ISSA certified members in good standing.[8]
    • Primary function: To administer final exams, issue certifications, [and] oversee maintenance of professional status.[8]

Founders and authors[edit]

  • Salvatore Arria,: co-founder and CEO of the ISSA.[9]
  • Frederick C. Hatfield, (also known as. Dr. Squat): co-founder and President of the ISSA, Author.[2][9]
  • Thomas Fahey,: author, ISSA Director of Youth Fitness.[10]
  • John Berardi,: author.[11]
  • Ryan Andrews,: author.[11]
  • Karl Knopf,: author, ISSA Director of Adaptive Fitness.[12]
  • Dan Gastelu,: author, ISSA Director of Nutritional Sciences.[12]

Accreditation and affiliations[edit]

The ISSA is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).[13] The DETC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized agency,[14] is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA),[15] and by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).[16]

ISSA is registered with the Better Business Bureau and has been awarded the highest company rating of A+.[17] The ISSA is approved by the New York Chiropractic College for Postgraduate and Continuing Education.[18] The ISSA is also a Provisional Affiliate of the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NFBE).[3][19]

Affiliation with U.S. service members[edit]

The ISSA is recognized by the Defense Activity for Non-traditional Education Support (DANTES) as a Nationally Accredited Distance Learning Program for Military Service Members. It is also approved for Armed Forces Tuition Assistance and Military Spouse Financial Assistance (MyCAA).[20] "The ISSA is also GI Bill approved by the Bureau for Private and Postsecondary Vocational Education (BPPVE) under contract with the Veterans Administration. Active military, veterans, and eligible spouses and dependents can receive reimbursement from the Veterans Administration for testing fees for any ISSA fitness certification courses."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About ISSA
  2. ^ a b Fitness: The Complete Guide, 8th edition. Hatfield, Frederick C., MSS, PhD. ISSA, Carpinteria, CA; 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Certification of Fitness Professionals: Separating Myth from Fact." Herbert, David L., J.D., page 2.--Full Article
  4. ^ ISSA Press Room Article
  5. ^ Consumer Information Disclosure
  6. ^ a b ISSA Press Room Article
  7. ^ ISSA Press Room Article
  8. ^ a b c d e f ISSA Division Breakdown Page
  9. ^ a b ISSA Founders Profile
  10. ^ Specialist in Strength and Conditioning. Fahey, Thomas, EdD. ISSA, Carpinteria, CA; 2007.
  11. ^ a b Nutrition: The Complete Guide. Berardi, John, PhD and Andrews, Ryan, MS/MA, RD. ISSA, Carpinteria, CA; 2007.
  12. ^ a b ISSA Course Author Profiles
  13. ^ DETC 2009-2010: Directory of Accredited Institutions. DETC, Washington, DC; June 9, 2009. Link to DETC pdf
  14. ^ USDE Recognized Accrediting Agencies
  15. ^ Council for Higher Education Accreditation
  16. ^ International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association
  17. ^ Better Business Bureau Company Rating Page
  18. ^ ISSA Affiliates and Recognition
  19. ^ National Board of Fitness Examiners Affiliate Page
  20. ^ ISSA Military Home Page

External links[edit]