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NASM Certifications: All You Need to Know

Are you considering pursuing a degree as a personal trainer? If so, obtaining your NASM certifications is an easy way to stand out when it comes time to look for a job. NASM, or National Academy of Sports Medicine, is an online exam that gives you the tools you need to pursue a successful career in the health and wellness industry as a personal trainer. 

Once you begin, you will see how easy it is to pursue your NASM certifications. Below, we take a deep dive into NASM certifications, including how they differ from the ISSA, as well as how you can get started. 

ISSA vs NASM: What’s the Difference? 

The health and wellness industry covers a lot of ground. You could work as a personal trainer, a nutritionist, or a dietician in a slew of different environments not limited to health clubs, fitness centers, rehabs, and hospitals. 

As such, you may be tempted to obtain as many certifications as you can. While this is fine, getting certified in an area you don’t plan on working in could be time better spent on other pursuits that will align with your current career goals. 

We bring this up because one of the most commonly asked questions people ask when considering personal training as a career is the difference between the ISSA vs NASM exams. 

The NASM Certification

The National Academy of Sports Medicine is a world leader in fitness, as all of its exercise programs are developed based on evidence-based scientific research. Their main program – the Optimum Performance Training program – has five phases, including stabilization endurance, strength endurance, muscle development, maximal strength, and power – to take the guesswork out of fitness. 

Personal trainers use these scientifically-backed programs to help their clients achieve their wellness goals. 

The ISSA Certification 

An ISSA certification is available through the International Sports Sciences Association. The ISSA is also well known for its personal training programs, however, their exam also covers a wide range of related topics, including but not limited to biomechanics, nutrition, and kinesiology. 

Because the ISSA covers more topics, the exam costs around $1,500, whereas the NASM certification exam starts at $799. If you’re interested in solely working as a personal trainer, you’ll want to invest in your NASM certification, as opposed to the Issa. 

How to Get Your NASM Certification 

The easiest way to obtain your NASM certification is to visit the NASM website and find out where you can take your proctored test. You can browse test options online and in person by entering your location. 

Once you find your testing center, you can register for the exam. The NASM exam consists of 120 questions, 20 of which aren’t scored. However, this information is undisclosed, so you will have to do your best to answer each one posed to you. 

Individuals taking the exam will have no more than two hours to complete it. If you do not pass the first time, you can retake the test in one week. If you do not pass the exam for a second time, you will need to wait at least 30 days to retake it. If you do not pass the exam three times in a row, you will have to wait an entire year to retest. 

This extended waiting period, if you do not pass, is one of the main reasons you should enroll in a personal training certificate program. Not only will a course like this cover important topics provided in the ISSA, such as nutrition, kinesiology, and anatomy, but it will also prepare you for the NASM exam, including one exam attempt. 

In other words, if you pass while attending this course, you get to join the workforce that much sooner. 

Tips for Obtaining Your NASM Certification 

If you’re ready to move forward and want to plan for the NASM certification, you should adhere to these tips so you can pass on the first go around. We recommend taking a practice test before the actual exam to prepare yourself! Other helpful tips include: 

  • Answering the exam questions you know first. This way you’re guaranteed to get points for what you know, allowing more time for you to analyze what you don’t. 
  • Buy a study guide so you can get more familiar with the material.
  • Register for a personal trainer certification course that includes information covered on the NASM certification.

While these are just a few tips, doing them can give you the best chance at passing on the first try, if not the second. Remember, as with any exam and educational pursuit, nerves can work against you. Be calm. Study the material. Answer what you know first. Sticking to these three can help you along the way to success. 

Are You Interested in Obtaining Your NASM Certificate and Becoming a Successful Personal Trainer? Enroll in Bryan University to Get Started!

Working as a personal trainer is not just fun for those who are interested in health and wellness, but it’s an incredibly rewarding career, as well. As a personal trainer, you get to help people accomplish their fitness goals – and that’s amazing!

By earning your NASM certification, you’re proving to employers that you know your stuff. As 

such, you’re more likely to have your resume reviewed when compared to other applicants. 

Enrolling in an undergraduate personal trainer certificate program from Bryan University can help you hone your skills, prepare for the NASM exam, and put your knowledge to the test. 

We welcome you to call our admissions team at 1-888-768-6861 to learn more about enrollment, tuition, and program outcomes. 

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