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For general information on the CISSN Exam, please contact Dr. Doug Kalman at [email protected] 


"The CISSN exam is the best science-based sports nutrition certification, period."  Cassie Evans MS RD CISSN (doctoral student).

Where can I register to take the CISSN exam online?

Go to this page. 

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.

What sets the CISSN apart from other 'sports nutrition certifications?'

The CISSN is a collaborative effort from dozens of research scientists (PhDs) who have both research and practical experience in the field of sports nutrition. There are other certifications in the marketplace; however, none were devised by dozens of scientists who have done the actual research in our field. We are constantly updating the exam to reflect new findings in the field. So if you want to get certified by the individuals who have done the actual research, then the CISSN is your clear choice. 

Who should take CISSN?

  • Exercise Physiologists
  • Fitness Professionals
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Nutritionists
  • Personal Trainers
  • Sport Dietitians
  • Sports Nutritionists
  • Strength and Conditioning Professionals

Summary of how to study for and then take the CISSN exam

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

Yes.  (Unless you want to pay $999 to take the exam; totally up to you). 

Can one work with a third-party to study for the CISSN so that your chances of passing are increased?


The official Educational Branch of the ISSN, Gifted Academics, offers two options to study for and pass the CISSN:
  • Instructor-Led: This accelerated certification prep takes you from baseline to certified in 12-14 weeks. You'll have lecture slides, sample questions, practice exams, supplemental materials, and additional exam prep must-haves at your fingertips plus weekly one-on-one one-hour learning sessions each week with your Gifted Instructor. Think of the Instructor-Led option as a virtual semester, with weekly offerings of course materials, one hour sessions with your instructor, a midterm and final practice exam, and direct help from your instructor - who holds and practices with their CISSN in their clinical, research, and applied field. 
  • Self-Led: The self-led program provides you with a virtual course through Kajabi, equipped with recorded lectures from our Gifted Instructor team, sample questions, and practice midterm and final exams. This course is self-paced and ready to launch as soon as you're ready, at whatever pace is best for you. 

Once I pass the CISSN, what would my membership status be?

You would be an ISSN Professional Certified Member.

Note: to check whether your certification / membership has expired, go to the Find a Nutritionist section and type in your name.

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 AND, NSCA, ACSM, NASM, 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?

It is required that you have a 4-year undergraduate college degree; if you do not have a 4-year college degree, email us with your credentials and we will consider it on a case by case basis (email: [email protected] ).

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).

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 have attended (with proof) at least three ISSN National Conferencesin the past 4 years.

Does earning the CISSN also mean that you have liability insurance (or any other kind of insurance) as it relates to personal training or nutrition education?


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 trainerscan and do provide sports nutrition information or education to clients for the purpose of enhancingphysical 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 ISSN-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 200-question (multiple choice, true or false format) online examination with a score of 70% or higher, you will be awarded the CISSN. Any score less than 70.00% is considered failing.

Is there a way to study online for the CISSN?

Yes. You can take an online CISSN PRACTICE EXAM. 

You can REGISTER here to take the CISSN exam: 

Where and when can I take the CISSN examination?

You can take it online at ANY time. However, if you take it with a group (6 individuals who are non-students but are Professional members) setting proctored by a fitness/gym owner, you will receive a discount via a coupon code that we provide. Individuals that take the exam on their own pay the regular full price. If you choose to take it at a testing site (i.e., university), it is best that you set that up with your local university professor. Many colleges and universities with sports nutrition programs offer the CISSN on a once yearly basis.

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. You will have 110 minutes to complete the exam.

Can you re-take the exam if you do not pass?

Yes. There are no limits to how many times you can take the exam; you will however need to pay for each exam. Though if don't pass it after three attempts, we'd suggest you choose a different profession.

Will you receive a numerical score or a pass/fail grading?

You will receive an automated email notifying if you passed or failed. 

Do you offer group discounts?

The regular rate for the exam is $649.00 US dollars.  If you can take the exam with 6 or more ISSN members in the presence of a proctor (PhD or a CISSN), a discount is provided (i.e., typically that is a 50% off discount). If you can get 12 or more to take the exam at the same date, the discount afforded is 70%. Thus, you will need to take it at the same time in the same location. A university proctor is preferable in these instances.

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. The BEST and EASIEST way to maintain enough CEUs for the CISSN is to 1) be a paid active member and 2) attend one of our conferences ~every other year.

However, it is mandatory that all CISSN (and SNS) certified individuals maintain an active ISSN membership.

NOTE: Certificates for CEUs are emailed out only to those who specifically request them. Email [email protected]

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 register for our Webinars or take online CEU exams.

If I pass the CISSN and receive a certificate, can I get another certificate if mine gets lost or stolen?

Yes we email certificates. We no longer send any out via snail mail.

How long is the certification valid if I don't maintain an active membership?

1 year.

Is there a refund if you register for the exam but end up not taking it?

If you cancel the exam within 60 days after registering it, you will receive a 10% off refund. After that there is not a refund.

What are CEUs?

You need to earn six (6) CEU per year to maintain the CISSN or 30 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 or by completing the online quiz available at this link:

  • Present at the national or regional ISSN Conference - 6
  • Serve as President, VP, Secretary or Student Representative or ISSN Volunteer - 6
  • Publish in the JISSN - 6
  • Attend the United States National ISSN conference held each year in the month of June - 13-15
  • View ISSN Webinars - Up to 6 CEUs
  • Attend any of the International ISSN conferences (e.g., Brasil, UK, Ireland, etc.) - 6
  • Attend a Regional ISSN workshop - 6
  • Take one online CEU quiz per year - 6,  Practice Exams ( 
  • Note: it is your responsibility to keep track of your CEUs. Individuals will be randomly audited to determine if they are meeting the requirements.
  • Attend other approved non-ISSN events (e.g., NSCA) - 3 (these are approved on a case by case basis). However, if you never attend an ISSN Conference or Webinar, it is highly unlikely that a non-ISSN event will count towards CEUs.
  • If you have further questions about the CISSN or ISSN-SNS exams, please contact Douglas Kalman, PhD, RD, FISSN at [email protected]If you have ANY issues at all with meeting the CEU requirements, just contact us and we will work with you to insure that you keep your certification.