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Welcome to Trainer Academy and my article which informs you on all things regarding the incredible Master Trainer Certification statuses from the top organizations.

ISSA, NASM, and other organizations are some of the best options in fitness for new trainers to pursue, and I’m going to explain all of the ins and outs of these organizations and their Master Trainer status’.

Throughout this article, I’ll cover the following topics:

  • The Top Master Trainer Certifications
  • A Brief Insight Into Being a Master Trainer
  • Organizations and Their Promotion Information
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Upon finishing this article, you will be able to make an informed decision regarding the amazing Master Trainer Certification Status and the organizations that offer it.

Let’s dive in and look at the basics of being a Master Trainer!

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What is a Master Trainer?

Personal training is one of the best exercise science careers you can get into, and there are varying levels of knowledge in the field.

It is highly desired by clients and potential employers and is quite beneficial if trainers would like to stand out. You may become a master trainer months or years after your journey of becoming a personal trainer.

Master Trainer status symbolizes that you have gained mastery of knowledge in the primary areas of personal training along with specific specializations that aid your expertise.

The definition of a master trainer takes the job description of a personal trainer and enhances every bit of it to describe a master of the craft.

A master trainer is a personal trainer who is well-rounded and proficient in the organization’s set standards and certifications to meet the status of being a master. The organizations offering these certs all have NCCA accredited certifications, which means they all have excellent information.

For some, this is as many as three certifications and a test to see proficiency, and for others, it can be a bit more intensive.

Some of the common certifications seen for the best trainers are nutrition certifications, strength and conditioning certifications, health coach certifications, and group fitness certifications.

Some organizations consider Master Trainers as the trainers who will teach other trainers. That is how highly viewed their expertise is.

Along with this level of expertise comes a heightened potential for personal trainer salaries.

Master Trainers make much more money than those without all of the additional specializations.

The main organizations that all have Master Trainer certification will be ISSA, NASM, NCSF, Fitness Mentors, and ACE.

Both ISSA and NASM have the best deals when it comes to bundling multiple specializations together.

ISSA has a 6 certification offer for only $1668, which includes the CPT, Nutrition along with 4 specializations. Consider just the CPT itself will cost $828, you’re basically buying two certifications and getting four for free. Visit the site to see if it’s still running because this is hands down the most inexpensive way to become a Master Trainer from one of the major organizations.

In NASM’s case, their Elite Trainer Bundle is $2,499 for 6 certs, which is more than ISSA, but it does give you the opportunity to get re-certified for life, which in the long term will save you a lot of money and time as most people have to do this every 2-3 years. Check NASM’s web page because they oly run this deal periodically.

Now, let’s dive in and look at ISSA.

ISSA Master Trainer

ISSA Intro

ISSA is a top fitness organization, and it offers the most certifications of any of the other organizations in the article. They are not just known for their well-reviewed ISSA Personal Training certification, which is one of the best personal trainer certifications.

The International Sports Sciences Association was founded in 1988 by fitness experts who set the goal of assisting the physical decline of the general population.

ISSA has the mission of bringing healthy living to everybody in the world through ways of education and community building. The vision of the organization is to influence around 100 million lives by 2030.

ISSA is one of my favorites here at Trainer Academy and is well known for its ISSA personal trainer cert and its many specializations offered.

We will often compare ISSA and NASM as a way to compare the top certifications, so make sure you know how these two organizations differ.

You cannot go wrong with ISSA as your first option.

ISSA Master Trainer Requirements

ISSA has the standard requirements for their ISSA Certified Personal Trainer included in the Master Training Specialist, plus some specific certifications needed.

First, you will have to be 18 years old at a minimum to attain master trainer status.

Next, you must keep your CPR and AED certification up-to-date, which is essential for all fitness professionals / ISSA trainers.

Now, for the specific certification requirements, a master trainer is going to need to attain 6 total certifications from ISSA:

Let’s look at the three specialization tracks to choose from and the 4 specializations included in each.

The Strength Track features the ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Bodybuilding Specialist, and Tactical Conditioning Specialist specializations.

In fact, these programs compare well with the NSCA CSCS certification program.

You’ll see, especially in the free CSCS study guide and CSCS practice test, that similar topics are covered.

The Advanced Track features the Corrective Exercise Specialist, Exercise Recovery Specialist, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and Transformation Specialist specializations.

Want to become a nutrition coach or a health coach?

The Health Track features the Health Coach, Lifespan Coach, DNA-Based Fitness Coach, and Exercise Recovery Specialist specializations.

Because there are so many certifications needed, most trainers will earn their CPT and start training while working with just one cert. If you wait til you have your master trainer status, then you will lose precious experience, and it will extend the amount of time to become a personal trainer.

ISSA Promotions

ISSA offers more deals than other certification organizations in fitness. And they have three of the most popular certification bundles in the industry.

The Most Popular ISSA bundle is the ISSA Elite Trainer Bundle, which includes a total of three certifications: Certified Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, and Strength and Conditioning Coach.

This would leave room to go for specializations later and achieve Master Trainer status.

The Elite Trainer package is more common, as achieving 6 certifications in a short time frame is not done often, so usually, people achieve these three in the elite trainer package and go for the remaining certifications at a later time.

The Elite Trainer bundle through Trainer Academy’s promotional deals comes in at $83.25 per month for a year or a one-time price of $999.

If you want to go for all 6 Master Trainer certifications at one time, then look no further than the ISSA Master Trainer bundle.

The ISSA Master Trainer bundle with the trainer academy discount includes all of the Strength Coach Track, so in total, you get the personal trainer certification, nutritionist certification, and the 4 strength track specialization certifications.

The Master Trainer bundle costs $139 per month for 12 months or a one-time price of $1,668.01.

Another popular option for getting ISSA certified would be to get started with their BOGO offer and then get the remaining certifications later in your career.

The Buy One Get One offer from ISSA includes the certification for personal training and the nutritionist certification together.

This is an excellent offer to start a personal trainer’s career and shouldn’t be overlooked as these are two essential certifications for becoming a Master Trainer.

An important note for trainers is that these certifications outside of your main cert all serve as CEUS, or Continuing Education Units, which help for recertification every two years.

ISSA allows trainers to get their fitness certification online.

An all-online program is beneficial to all future trainers as it makes it easily accessible in today’s world.

Most other accredited fitness certifications discussed in this article are also online, so it doesn’t fully set them apart, but the great online fitness trainer certification is a reason ISSA is one of the most recognized personal trainer certifications.

Fitness Topics

Personal Trainer Certification:

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

Nutritionist Certification:

  • Nutrition
  • Cells, Organ Systems, and Digestion
  • Metabolism and Energy Balance
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Client Assessment
  • Dietary Guidelines

Other topic options for the additional certifications you could go for include:

  • Certified Glute Specialist
  • Bodybuilding Specialist
  • Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor
  • Certified Yoga Instructor
  • DNA-based Fitness Coach
  • Transformation Specialist
  • Exercise Recovery Specialist
  • Tactical Conditioning Specialist
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Lifespan Coach
  • Health Coach
  • Corrective Exercise Certification

To get a more in-depth view of ISSA and specifically their CPT certification, view the ISSA exam information page.

Next, let’s check out another popular option, NASM.

NASM Master Trainer

NASM Intro

The NASM has been established in the fitness industry for 35 total years, and throughout that time, they have become one of the most highly regarded leaders in fitness.

Like ISSA, you can study to be a personal trainer certified online through the state-of-the-art NASM online study portal and other study materials offered. The NASM CPT is a high-quality certification for any type of trainer.

According to the NASM personal trainer certification course reviews, this course is considered one of the best in the industry.

NASM also has many training programs for other specializations that are important in fitness, to which they excel.

All fitness employers and employees respect certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

NASM has many partnerships with other fitness organizations to fill in any existing gaps in their specialization option.

NASM Master Trainer Requirements

To be eligible for master training status, you must first have a minimum of 3 years of training 10 or more client hours per week with the OPT model.

You will have to purchase the Master Trainer Summit, but first must have these requirements:

  • Attend a NASM Workshop
  • Have a valid NASM CPT cert
  • Have a valid NASM CES cert
  • Have a valid NASM PES cer
  • Attain one more NASM specialization or an approved college degree

The application requires you to provide a professional resume, provide two letters of recommendation, and also write a short essay.

The Master Trainer online course requires video submission and the ability for trainers to perform accurate assessments and demonstrate proper exercise technique and cueing.

The online course requires a pass before the trainer is able to attend the virtual event.

At the master trainers’ summit, a trainer must show the ability to design customized programs and the ability to assess accurately, understand technique, cue, and coach as part of the final evaluation.

All in all, this is a bit more than most other certifications ask for to attain master trainer status, and that speaks to the importance of this title for trainers.

NASM Promotions

NASM offers some solid promotions, although not quite as much of a deal as the ISSA promotions.

The only bundle promotion including all of the certifications needed for the Master Trainer status is the NASM Elite Trainer Bundle.

Included in the Elite Trainer Bundle are the Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specializations, Certified Nutrition Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialization, Behavior Change Specialist, and Certified Group Fitness Instructor certifications.

So, in addition to the 4 required for master trainer status, you will also get two additional certifications. This is an amazing bundle for NASM certification.

The Ultimate Trainer promotion is available for a one-time payment of $2,199 or $200 per month for a year.

If you don’t want to immediately start with so many specializations, and perhaps just add them to your resume later in your training career, a promotion like the NASM CPT + CNC would be a better option to kickstart your career and get an important nutrition specialization.

This NASM CPT + CNC bundle is more popular than the Ultimate Trainer bundle because it is hard to justify 6 certifications at one time.

The CPT + CNC bundle will cost $999 in a one-time payment or $91 per month for 12 months.

All in all, NASM is an excellent organization with some outstanding certifications and specializations that garner respect from any potential employer.

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Fitness Topics

Personal Trainer Certification:

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

Corrective Exercise Specialist Certification:

  • Training Foundations
  • Corrective Exercise Techniques
  • Assessment Methods
  • Programming Strategies

Performance Enhancement Specialist Certification:

  • Anatomy and Physiology for Sport
  • Sports Performance Testing
  • Integrated Training
  • Programming
  • Olympic Lifting
  • Injury Prevention
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Sports Psychology

Other certifications that can be obtained to qualify for the one cert are:

  • Nutrition Certification
  • Certified Sports Nutrition Coach
  • Certified Wellness Coach
  • Corrective Exercise Specialization
  • Stretching and Flexibility Coach
  • Weight Loss Specialization
  • Home Gym Design Specialization
  • Virtual Coaching Specialization
  • And more…

To get a good idea of the information throughout the main NASM CPT, read through the free NASM study guide and NASM practice test pages.

As I’ve mentioned before, you can see how well the content in those materials matches other programs, like the Americal Council on Exercise (ACE) personal trainer certification.

It is a good idea to compare NASM and ACE, and look into the ACE study guide and ACE practice test for more in-depth information.

Try to compare NASM vs. NSCA when it comes to the quality of study materials while you’re at it as well, especially if you want to become a strength and conditioning coach.

The NSCA CPT review may be helpful as well.

Next, let’s look at NCSF’s master trainer certification status.

NCSF Master Trainer

NCSF Intro

The National Council of Strength and Fitness is international in its scope, and the main base of operations is in Florida.

The NCSF has the mission of establishing, assessing, and promoting qualification standards for exercise professionals in a continued effort to foster high levels of professional competency and ethical practices to serve the interest and safety of the public.

NCSF is a for-profit organization that offers study materials up to par with the top 3 organizations of ISSA, NASM, and ACE.

NCSF just doesn’t carry the same level of recognition that other brands carry in fitness due to them being newer.

But, still, NCSF can be an excellent option for trainers to pursue, and they offer a great Master Trainer certification program which includes their well-reviewed NCSF Personal Trainer Certification.

NCSF Master Trainer Requirements

NCSF has fewer requirements for its Master Trainer certified trainer course than most of the other organizations people go to.

First, you must be at least 18 years old.

Second, you need to have a high school diploma or an equivalent level of education as a minimum.

Third, NCSF ideally looks for their master trainers to have a good amount of experience in the health and fitness field prior to applying.

NCSF Promotions

The NCSF has its Master Trainer Program bundle that gives you all you need to be a Master Trainer, as the name implies.

The Master Trainer Bundle from NCSF includes three certifications, which are the Certified Personal Trainer, the Sports Nutrition Specialist, and the Certified Strength Coach.

All three of the programs are up to the standards the rest of the fitness organizations set, and they will teach nay trainer how to handle these three specific areas of personal training.

The NCSF is Master trainers who undertake this bundle will be highly skilled exercise professionals that uniquely provide rapid results in regard to health, fitness, and performance to improve the quality of clients’ lives.

Fitness Topics

Personal Trainer Certification

  • Functional Anatomy
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Health and Physical Fitness
  • Professionalism and Risk Management

Sports Nutrition Specialist Certification

  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrients
  • Dietary Supplements and Ergogenic Aids
  • Nutritional Analysis and Weight Management

Certified Strength Coach Certification

  • Functional Anatomy and Biomechanics
  • Performance Assessment and Evaluation
  • Nutrition and Ergogenic Aids
  • Professionalism and Risk Management

Next, let’s look at Fitness Mentors and their Master Trainer bundle/program.

Fitness Mentors Master Trainer

Fitness Mentors Intro

Of the organizations in this article, Fitness Mentors are the newest option, and they have a great offering for Master Trainer status, but it is a bit different.

Fitness Mentors have a large focus on the online study materials and training of clients virtually, which is a fresh new take on certification in the fitness industry and serves to future proof and ready for the direction training is headed.

They pride themselves on the ability to attain your fitness certificate online while also offering multiple specific specializations with virtual focuses.

It is nice that Fitness Mentors fills in a niche side of the market with their online focus, and they also offer traditional certifications for personal training and nutrition like all of the other organizations in this article.

And this is great if you would ever aspire to become an online personal trainer.

There are no doubts Fitness Mentors will properly guide you into being a successful online trainer.

In total, a personal trainer will need 6 certifications from Fitness Mentors to be considered a master trainer.

Let’s dive into the requirements for master trainer status with fitness mentors.

Fitness Mentors Master Trainer Requirements

Fitness Mentors requirements for their master trainer status is more simple than most other organizations and more in line with what is required from NCSF.

First, a master trainer needs to have a high school diploma or the equivalent level of education.

Second, a master trainer needs to have a valid government-issued photo ID.

Lastly, a master trainer through fitness mentors needs to have their CPR and AED certifications stay current.

And that is essentially all for the Fitness Mentors Master Trainer certification requirements. Let’s look and see some of the promotions they offer.

Fitness Mentors Promotions

Fitness Mentors offer an ultimate bundle for people who want to get all they can from fitness mentors and ensure they are a master trainer.

While the bundle used to be titled Personal Trainer Master Bundle, it is now titled the Personal Trainer Ultimate Bundle.

The Ultimate Bundle from fitness mentors will include the essential 6 personal training and health-related certifications, which are:

So, as you can see, three of these fantastic certifications focus on online and virtual training.

If that is the direction you would like to go with your personal training career and master trainer status, then it is a good idea to think hard about fitness mentors.

Fitness Topics

Personal Training Certification

  • The Fitness Assessment
  • Anatomy, Physiology, and the Study of Human Movement
  • Exercise Physiology and the Energy Systems
  • Psychology: The Science and Behaviour of Mind
  • Introduction to Online Personal Training

Online Personal Training Certification

  • Prepare Your Business
  • Take Your Business Online
  • Lead Generation
  • Convert Sales
  • Care For Your Clients

Certified Nutrition Specialist

  • Scope of Practice
  • The Digestive System
  • Metabolism
  • Carbohydrates
  • Exercise and Sports Nutrition

Pain Management Specialist

  • Programming Considerations for Exercise-Related Injuries
  • Fitness Assessments for Pain
  • Pain Management Through Corrective Exercise

Virtual Group Fitness Instructor Certification

  • Scope of Practice
  • Components of the Virtual Group Fitness Class
  • Anatomy, Physiology, and the Study of Human Movement
  • Format and Design
  • Online Assessments

Virtual Health Coach Certification

  • Considerations for Lifestyle Change
  • Stress Management
  • Nutrition
  • Legal Guidelines for Health Coaches

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I become a certified Master Trainer?

You can start the process of becoming a certified master trainer by choosing which of these great organizations suits you best and then enroll in that program and complete the certification courses required.

How much does it cost to become a Master Trainer?

The cost depends on which of the fitness trainer organizations you choose and the course work and additional outside training experience you choose to pursue. In general, look toward ISSA and NASM in this article for guidance on cost outlooks for these Master Trainer Status’.

What certifications should a trainer have?

The organizations in this article all define a master trainer slightly differently, but in general, it is a trainer that has sought out many outside references to supplement the exercise science learned during the personal trainer fitness certification. Master trainers have multiple specializations that help improve their fitness training, and the learning environment of this trainer is always evolving. Whether you personal train and teach anything from pilates to rock climbing, your training sessions will benefit from the specializations and knowledge throughout these Master Trainer fitness certification courses.

Are online study programs legit?

All of the Master Trainer Courses here offer some degree of online professional development and effective training done in an online format. The world is moving more toward this area, and that is evident with the decrease in physical study materials and rise in virtual focuses, even to the point of specialization in virtual training. So, all in all, online accredited study programs work and are some of the most convenient ways to get into personal fitness and the training industry.

What are the qualities of a Master Trainer?

Master Trainers are knowledgeable and effective in their efforts. They know how to work with many special population groups, and they are always striving to become a better trainer. Whether it is the facilitation of fitness goals, adhering to new methodologies, program design, or anything a personal trainer is expected to do, a master trainer stands at the top and always works to take their training to the next level.


In conclusion, the fitness certification organizations in this article all offer some outstanding certifications and, specifically, the chance to become a Master Personal Trainer if you meet the appropriate requirements.

The most popular options when people search “how to become a master trainer” will always be ISSA and NASM, as they carry the most weight in the fitness world.

That being said, there are many types of personal training certification organizations, and it is a good idea to seek out the organization that has the appropriate fitness trainer certification focus as well as the desired specializations offered.

You can’t go wrong with any of these organizations and their master trainer certifications.


  1. Ahmed S, Rashid M, Sarkar A, et al. Fitness Trainers’ Educational Qualification and Experience and Its Association with Their Trainees’ Musculoskeletal Pain: A Cross-Sectional Study. Sports. 2022;10(9):129. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10090129
  2. ‌Dominski FH, Tibana RA, Andrade A. “Functional Fitness Training”, CrossFit, HIMT, or HIFT: What Is the Preferable Terminology?. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. 2022;4:882195. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2022.882195
  3. ‌Zhou S, Davison K, Qin F, Lin KF, Chow BC, Zhao JX. The roles of exercise professionals in the health care system: A comparison between Australia and China. Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness. 2019;17(3):81-90. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesf.2019.04.001

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