ISSA Vs. NASM: Which CPT Certification Is Better?

NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) is a widely recognized and respected organization in the fitness industry that offers NCCA-accredited certifications, education, and training for personal trainers.

Per Santucci, “NASM is a nationally recognized certification. It is the gold standard for most people who want to get into training. It’s recognized by most big box gyms as an entry level education for fitness.”

The NASM Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) is the company’s flagship program and focuses on preparing fitness professionals to work with clients of all fitness levels and help them achieve their health and fitness goals using a comprehensive and systematic approach.

There are four CPT programs to choose from, but the elite trainer program stands out for its one-on-one mentorships and on-site “Gymnternship,” where future trainers gain valuable hands-on experience.

Whichever program you choose, NASM’s mission is to provide evidence-based education and training programs that focus on the scientific principles of human movement, exercise, and performance. The organization is dedicated to promoting safe and effective fitness practices by utilizing the latest research and advancements in exercise science, which is why it earned the best inclusive/guided study certificate in our certification roundup.

Echeverry says that, unlike ISSA’s more generic curriculum, “NASM focuses on corrective exercises and their unique training model, covering a more expansive set of information which requires more study time.”

NASM typically requires five to six months of total investment time—and the exam has a lower pass rate because the material is more in-depth and the test is not open book. Self-study programs are available for those who prefer it, but the all-inclusive program and guided study program deliver the most value.

Once you do pass the exam, NASM guarantees their CPT’s with a job and a community of NCCA-accredited, renowned fitness experts. Additionally, NASM provides continuing education opportunities for certified professionals.

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