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ISSN's Sports Nutrition Specialist Certification

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The ISSN-SNS - Sports Nutrition Specialist Certification

Although no formal post-secondary course work is required, candidates are expected to have a working knowledge of basic exercise training, general nutrition, sports supplements, and familiarity with the ISSN's current position papers. To qualify to register for the ISSN-SNS exam, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does ISSN-SNS stand for?

Sports Nutrition Specialist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Who should take the ISSN-SNS exam?

Personal Trainers or Other Fitness Professionals who do not hold a 4-year University/College degree.

Do I have to be a member of the ISSN to take the ISSN-SNS Exam?

No. However, it is mandatory that you are an ISSN member in order to maintain your SNS credential.

Why should you earn the ISSN-SNS?

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. Furthermore, for those who do not attain a 4-year college degree, the SNS provides an avenue in which he or she can maintain the knowledge base needed to provide sound information on sports nutrition and supplementation.

What are the requirements to be eligible to take the ISSN-SNS examination?

Although no formal post-secondary course work is required, candidates are expected to have a working knowledge of basic exercise training, general nutrition, sports supplements, and are familiar with the ISSN's current position papers. To qualify to register for the SNS exam, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Are there any state-by-state (United States) regulations regarding Sports Nutrition?

There are no state-by-state regulations for becoming either a CISSN (Certified Sports Nutritionist) or ISSN-SNS (Sports Nutrition Specialist). Legally, personal trainers can and do provide sports nutrition information or general 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.  For non USA residents, please check the laws in your country.

Do you have to score 100% on the test to pass it?

If you pass the 120-question (multiple choice, true or false format) examination with a score of 70% or higher, you will be awarded the ISSN-SNS.

How do you prepare for the ISSN-SNS?

The focus of the ISSN-SNS exam is on the practical aspects of sports nutrition. Reviewing the ISSN position stands and current supplement research will be beneficial, as well as specific aspects of the Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements textbook. Exercise physiology, metabolism and bioenergetics are minor components of the SNS exam and should not be the center focus of preparation.  There is NOT a formal course that you must take.  Most prepare for this exam via self-study.

Study the following scientific papers published in JISSN.  This link has ALL of the Position Papers you'll need to know for the exam:
http://www.jissn.com/series/ISSNPosP

What book and/or study guide will help you prepare for the ISSN-SNS?

Sports Nutrition and Performance Enhancing Supplements Eds. Abbie Smith-Ryan and Jose Antonio. ISBN: 1-60797-339-1 (Publisher:  Linus - http://www.linusbooks.com/more_details.php?id=543 )

Where and when can I take the ISSN-SNS examination?

Please go to this link: http://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/certifications.html

Can I take the ISSN-SNS without having to go to an officially scheduled examination site?

Yes, you can take the exam online.  However, if you take the online exam with a group (at least 5 others total) at the same time, you will receive a $200 discount off the regular $499 cost.  The group exam must be proctored by a university professor or gym/fitness facility owner:   http://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/Online-Tests.html

What is a passing score?

70% or higher. 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.

How long does the certification remain valid if I do not maintain an active membership?

Two years. 

How do I maintain CEUs?

ISSN will randomly select individuals with the ISSN-SNS credential and request evidence that they have met the CEU requirements. Please keep any and all proof of registration and accomplishment as it applies to Continuing Education Units. Some ways to maintain CEUs are listed below. It is mandatory that you have an active paid 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. Also, only certificates dating 2006 to present can be provided.

Below are ways you can maintain CEUs for the ISSN-SNS.  The easiest way to accomplish this is via attending our national conference (~every other year) or by completing an online CEU quiz every other year.

  • 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 issn.sports.nutrition@gmail.com
If you have further questions about the CISSN or ISSN-SNS Exams, please contact Douglas Kalman, PhD, RD, FISSN at dkalman@miamiresearch.com

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