A health coach is a wellness specialist who implements evaluation protocols and advanced assessment to improve individuals’ lives using proven clinical strategies.
Unlike a nutritionist or personal trainer whose prime focus is diet and exercise, health coaches aim to improve an individual’s health status and encapsulate all aspects of their healthy living. This is done by employing evidence-based health protocols, such as:
- Behavior Change Methodologies
- Effective Goal Setting
- Psychological Changes
A health coach aims to change the mentality before changing the body. Remember that health coaching is not just about weight loss; it’s about focusing on your wellbeing to achieve a healthy lifestyle. This field is an integrative approach that implements the aspects of psychology together with nutrition and the methodologies of exercise.
How To Become A Health Coach?
You cannot just step out of your high school and start practicing as a life coach. This field is more complex than that. Health coaching integrates with different aspects of your life, including fitness, methodologies of health, clinical psychology, and medicine. Therefore, to be an effective health coach, you need to have some experience and passion in all these areas.
To start a career as a health coach, it’s essential to get a valid accredited certification from a well-known organization. A health coach certification signals your clients your philosophies and qualifications that you value as a health coach, provides guidelines and accountability, and, more importantly, sets a standard.
Accreditation is a vital consideration while becoming a certified health coach. Consider it as a certification of your certification. Accreditation is a seal of approval allowing you to determine reliability, industry recognition, and quality at a glance.
In accreditation, what and how you are being taught is evaluated. This consideration not only quality an organization academically but helps you identify fraudulent courses. You get accredited certification if your certifying organization is fulfilling 2 main quality standards:
- The quality of their administrative system and educational delivery methodologies
- The quality of their curriculum, course content, and certification programs.
6 Best Health Coach Certification Programs
To become a certified health coach, the first step is to select a health coach certification program. This step is not a piece of cake as hundreds of health coaching programs are available. Some are accredited, while others are famous for their standards. Before selecting a single program among all these options, it’s important to do your homework.
To help you out, below we have mentioned our top 6 picks when it comes to health coach certification programs:
IIN is probably the most popular certification program for holistic or integrative health coach programs in the world. This one is known for its well-integrative approach to health coaching. The Institute of Integrative Nutrition was founded by Joshua Rosenthal in a small NYC kitchen and has grown into the largest health coach program, with over 1,00,000 grads.
The Curriculum of IIN focuses on “primary food” or different aspects of life, including social life, stress, finance, and relationship. In this program, you will learn about anatomy, physiology, nutrition. However, this program is quite basic and allows you to learn about the non-nutritional apparatuses of health coaching.
This health coach certification is for you if you can dedicate ten hours per week to this program. In contrast, it is not for you if you don’t care about its concept of “primary food” or the traditional/ancient medicine. The Institute of Integrative Nutrition’s six-month certification program can cost more than $6500.
- The largest health coaching program
- Fast-track program
- Two different training programs are available
- More expensive than other programs
If you are already a medical or health professional but want to start a career as a health coach, the National Society of Health Coaches provides an exclusive health coach certification program just for you. This one is probably the first evidence-based clinical health coach certification program.
The National Society of Health Coaches programs costs up to $600, making it one of the most inexpensive programs on our list. This program is designed to use with other medical licenses, including naturopathic doctor, licensed dentist, registered nurse, and a doctor of chiropractic.
Allied healthcare providers can also take this program for completion of their certification, but they won’t become certified health coaches. This program is a perfect pick for you if you are a licensed healthcare professional and want to use it as an ongoing educational opportunity.
- The evidence-based, clinical coaching program
- Easy access to course material
- Designed for healthcare professionals
- Non-refundable materials
This graduate-level health coach certification program focuses on growing your health coach business. HCI offers two distinct programs, one for becoming a health coach and the other for coach mastery. The health coach program focuses on different objectives, such as lifestyle, stress, exercise, behavior change, nutrition, and more.
On the other hand, the coach mastery program of Health Coach Institute takes one step further and teaches you how to start and grow your health coach business. This course is a perfect pick for those who are already in the health coach profession and wants to discover new methods and ways to improve their business, dig deeper and make a significant difference.
- Programs include community support and mentorship
- Master-level and base-level programs
- Business-building practice
- Highest-priced programs
If you are a personal trainer and want to broaden your services and expertise for clients, Americal Council on Exercise is for you. This certification allows you to learn all about health coaching and is considered the best personal training certification available out there.
The ACE institute offers various specialization programs, including the ACE health certification program, which is a great addition for those who are practicing as personal trainers. In this program, you don’t need to be a certified professional personal coach; however, it’s necessary that you have some health experience or credentials as a prerequisite.
The ACE health coach certification can cost about $1000 and require at least one of the following:
- NCCA-accredited certificate in human resources, wellness, healthcare, nutrition, or fitness.
- Associate or higher degree in wellness, healthcare, nutrition, exercise science, or fitness
- Complete health coach education and training program approved by NBC-HWC
- Minimum 2 years of work experience in implementing, designing, leading, or coaching
- Helpful for personal trainers
- Comprehensive course material
- Affordable coaching program
- Recertification is essential for every two years
- Require additional documents and work experience
Next, we have Duke Integrative Medicine Wellbeing and Health coach certification program. This one is probably the most demanding university-level health coach certification program available out there. This program has two discrete portions:
- The Foundation Course
- The Certification Course
To be a certified health coach, you need to complete both portions. Both courses are available online, but you can also take the foundation course at the university campus and have to attend a final written exam for the certification course.
Duke Integrative Medine certification program is approved by NBC-HWC. Once you complete this university-based course, you can attend certifying examination necessary for wellness and health coaches to become an NBC-HWC. This course can cost about $6000 and require multiple exams.
- Focus on healthy habits and behavior change
- Well-researched program
- Approved by NBC-HWC
- Require bachelor’s degree
Another health coach certification program that deserves a spot on our list is Precision Nutrition – Level 1. This one is a perfect pick for you if you want to dive deep into nutrition coaching and the science-backed curriculum. The main focus of this program is nutrition and how your body utilizes, responds, and processes different foods.
Precision Nutrition – Level 1 program claims to help individuals master “the art of health coaching” and “the science of diet/nutrition,” which is excellent because those are the 2 qualities your need to thrive as a professional health coach. Plus, this program only costs about $1000, which is quite affordable.
If you are not familiar with physiology or anatomy, expect to blunder a little bit over the curriculum that you will find in this program. As Precision Nutrition – Level 1 does not require any prerequisites and is available for everyone; it does put things in order; however, you cannot avoid medical methodologies and terminologies entirely.
- Supportive Online Community
- Online and Printed Course Material
- Focuses on Nutrition
- Limited Course Availability
The health coach business is quite rewarding. According to a report, a certified health coach in the US can earn more than $75000 per year. However, to earn that kind of money, it’s important to invest in yourself. To improve your health coaching skills, we recommend attending a well-reputed and accredited health coach certification program.
Health coach certification programs are not that cheap. Therefore, you need to invest your time to find a course that won’t cost you a fortune and will suit you best. If you can afford it, the IIN certification program is one of the best health coaching programs available. However, if you have a limited budget, the National Society of Health Coaches is the perfect pick for you.