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The CISSN is the premier sports nutrition certification in the industry and will clearly differentiate you from the crowd..." - Frank Katch, Ed.D. and Victor Katch, Ed.D. - Co-Authors of the best-selling books, Sports and Exercise Nutrition
"The CISSN gives me the credibility I need to write about sports nutrition with authority." - Matt Fitzgerald, Author of Performance Nutrition for Runners
What does CISSN stand for?
Certified Sports Nutritionist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The CISSN is the premier certification in the field of sports nutrition and supplementation.
Who should take CISSN?
- Exercise Physiologists
- Fitness Professionals
- Nurse Practitioners
- Personal Trainers
- Sport Dietitians
- Sports Nutritionists
- Strength and Conditioning Professionals
Do I have to be a member of the ISSN to take the CISSN Exam?
No. However, it is mandatory that you are an ISSN member in order to maintain your CISSN credential.
Why should you earn the CISSN?
It is critical for all health/fitness/medical professionals who work with athletes or active individuals to have a fundamental understanding of the adaptive response to exercise and the role that nutrition plays in the acute and chronic response to exercise. Think of the bicycle analogy. The two wheels on a bicycle represent exercise training and nutrition. If one is faulty or inadequate, then you will end up with a dysfunctional bicycle. Sports nutrition and exercise training are intimately related. You can not provide good information on one aspect without knowing the other. Furthermore, sports nutrition is NOT the sole purview of exercise physiologists or dietitians. Sports nutrition is its own unique field that requires academic and real-world specialization and training.
Is the CISSN exam recognized?
The CISSN is recognized by the leaders of applied exercise nutrition (not sports dietetics, but rather sports nutrition). In addition, the CISSN has been coordinated by leading professors, professionals, health educators and researchers. The exam which is often given in concert with ISSN conferences. Our conferences are available for continuing education credits by such associations as the ADA, NSCA, ACSM, NATA, APTA, ACE, IDEA and others. Sports nutrition is not medical nutrition therapy; however the CISSN is solely responsible for making sure that his or her practice of sports nutrition is within any state or Federal guidelines.
What are the requirements to be eligible to take the CISSN examination?
There are no formal requirements. Any interested individual can take the CISSN. However, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you have a 4-year undergraduate degree in exercise science, kinesiology, physical education, nutrition, biology, or related biological science. It is a difficult test that includes a significant amount of nutrition, sports supplements, exercise physiology and metabolism.
What if you have a 4-year degree in an unrelated field?
If you have a 4-year degree in an unrelated field (e.g. psychology, sociology, liberal arts, etc), you are still eligible to take the exam. However, it is highly recommended (but not mandatory) that you take and pass a semester long college/university level course in Sports Nutrition or related class. (Note: If you take a Sports Nutrition course at your local college or university, each school may have pre-requisites that you may need to fulfill prior to taking the sports nutrition course). You may also take a sports nutrition course by distance learning through Huntington College of Health Sciences (www.hchs.edu).This institution is accredited through the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, the only accrediting agency for home study recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. It should be noted that it is difficult to pass the CISSN if you do not have a background in the biological sciences.
Also, if you hold one of the following certificates and an unrelated degree, you are also eligible to take the CISSN.
http://www.simmons.edu/snhs/programs/nutrition/sports/index.php or http://www.ces.sdsu.edu/Pages/Engine.aspx?id=708 or http://www.tesc.edu/watson/nutrition/ http://www.wcu.edu/academics/edoutreach/conted/profdev/nutrition-fitness-health-online-certificate-programs/sports-nutrition-and-performance.asp http://continue.utah.edu/proed/certificates/sports
Can I still take the CISSN examination even if I do not meet the initial requirements?
Alternatively, if you meet ALL of the requirements below (and do not have a 4-year degree), you can take the CISSN exam.
- The individual must be practicing in the field for at least five years and be a paid member of The ISSN.
- The individual must at least be certified as a trainer by the NSCA, ACE or ACSM (CPT or HFI respectively).
- The individual must also have one or more of the following certifications in nutrition: HFI, CHES, ACE-Lifestyle & Weight Management, DTR, AFPA-nutrition, ISSA-nutrition, Penn-Foster School-nutrition.
- Applicant MUST show proof of certification to the ISSN during the registration/application process. If no proof of certification is demonstrated, than the ISSN reserves the right to not allow the individual to take the certification, and we reserve the right to charge 25% of the certification fee as Administrative Costs.
- The individual must have attended (with proof) at least three ISSN National Conferences in the past 4 years.
Are there any state-by-state (United States) regulations regarding Sports Nutrition?
There are no state-by-state regulations for becoming a Certified Sports Nutritionist. The purpose of the CISSN is to demonstrate a threshold level of knowledge in the field of sports nutrition. There are currently individuals with the CISSN throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Legally, personal trainers can and do provide sports nutrition information or education to clients for the purpose of enhancing physical performance as well as body composition. With regards to MNT or medical nutrition therapy, in addition to RDs, many non-RD professionals are indeed official MNT providers for Medicare. Also, MNT is in many state licensing statutes, where many non-RDs are licensed, and legally can and do perform MNT. Before providing any fee for service nutrition guidance or counseling that might involve medical nutrition therapy (i.e., nutritional plans, assessment for diabetics, people with high blood pressure or heart disease, etc), please check with your particular state laws and guidelines. If you are non-USA resident, please check the laws in your country.
What is the main difference between the CISSN and SNS Certifications?
The CISSN is more advanced; it is the preferred certification for those who wish to provide more detailed sports nutrition information to their clients. The SNS focuses more on the applied aspects of sports nutrition and is meant for those who do not have a 4-year degree or do not have a formal educational background in exercise science and/or sports nutrition. Individuals who wish to attain the SNS are likely to be personal trainers who work in the fitness industry; however, the certification is open to all individuals. The SNS provides working knowledge for personal trainers and fitness advocates to offer information on sports nutrition and supplement strategies. This certification will not provide the expertise or education necessary to work with patients who require medical nutrition therapy*.
Do you have to score 100% on the test to pass it?
If you pass the 220-question (multiple choice, true or false format) examination with a score of 70% or higher, you will be awarded the CISSN.
How do you prepare for the CISSN?
It is suggested you study at least one month for the CISSN Exam. Use the textbook (see below) as the primary study guide and read all of the ISSN Position Stands published in JISSN. http://www.jissn.com/series/ISSNPosP
What book and/or study guide will help you prepare for the CISSN?
DOWNLOAD THE FREE STUDY GUIDE FOR THE CISSN OR SNS EXAMS.
Where and when can I take the CISSN examination?
1) You can take it at any of the pre-designated test sites. https://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/certifications.html
2) You can take it Self-Proctored. https://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/CertificationsDetails.php?IDcert=8
3) You can take in online at ANY time. https://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/Online-Tests.html
Can I take the CISSN without having to go to an officially scheduled examination site?
Yes. If you can get a local university professor in an exercise science, biology, or nutrition department to proctor the 3-hour exam, you can take the CISSN at a pre-determined time (as agreed to by the ISSN and the test-taker). Alternatively, you can take in online with a proctor as well.
What is a passing score for the CISSN?
If you correctly answer with a 70% or greater, you will earn the CISSN. If you do pass, in order to receive the certificate, you must be a paid member of the ISSN.
Will you receive a numerical score or a pass/fail grading?
You will receive a notification of passing or failing from Dr. Ron Mendel; however, those who take the ONLINE version of the exam will receive IMMEDIATE notification of passing/failing.
Can I take the exam online?
https://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/Online-Tests.html Yes. Go to this link.
How do I maintain CEUs for the CISSN?
ISSN will randomly select individuals with the CISSN certification and request evidence that they have met the CEU requirements. Please keep any and all proof of registration and accomplishment as it applies to CISSN Continuing Education Units. Below is listed some ways to maintain CEUs.
However, it is mandatory that all CISSN (and SNS) certified individuals maintain an active ISSN membership.
NOTE: Certificates for CEUs are handed out at the end of the ISSN Conference each year. If you do not pick it up at the conference, you will be charged a processing fee of $49 dollars if you contact the ISSN office at a later date. It is a total fee of $49 per event. Thus, if you need proof of attendance for 2 events, the total cost is $98.
If I can not attend any of the events below for CEUs, is there an alternative way to attain CEUs?
The best way is to take the Online Quiz for CEUs. See below. (This is a great option for those who do not live in North America).
If I pass the CISSN and receive a certificate, can I get another certificate if mine gets lost or stolen?
Yes. But you need to pay a $15 dollar processing fee.
What are CEUs?
You need to earn 1 CEU per year to maintain the CISSN or 5 CEU every five years. It is mandatory that you are a member of the ISSN to maintain your CISSN certification. The EASIEST way to maintain CEUs for the CISSN is by attending the national conference (~every other year) or by completing the online quiz available at this link: http://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/Online-Tests.html
- Present at the national or regional ISSN Conference - 3 CEU
- Serve as President, VP, Secretary or Student Representative or ISSN Volunteer - 3 CEU
- Publish in the JISSN - 3 CEU
- Attend national or a regional ISSN conference - 2.5 CEU
- Complete an online CEU Quiz - 2.0 CEU - this is a popular choice among non-USA residents. One every other year is enough to satisfy the CEU requirements for the CISSN or SNS. http://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/Online-Tests.html
- Other non-ISSN related events are up to 0.25 CEU (you would need to personally submit these for approval to firstname.lastname@example.org )
If you have further questions about the CISSN or SNS Exams, please contact Douglas Kalman, PhD, RD, FISSN at email@example.com