How to Become a Health Coach

Health and fitness is a key component in life these days. People are simply more health-conscious than they ever were in the past. Chalk that up to the rising number of lifestyle-related diseases combined with the rising cost of health services, plus the hyperactive awareness that social media brings.

More and more people are hopping onto the whole fit and healthy lifestyle caravan.

The health and fitness industry is projected to grow exponentially in the coming years, which is why many new businesses and work opportunities have risen up to fill in the wide-open area that the entire health sector has made.

Recently, people have been hiring health coaches for professional health guidance either for corporate or personal benefit.

What is a Health Coach? (Definition, Duties)

You can judge a health coach’s work easily by the title. Health coaches are generally people who coach others in the aspect of health, particularly in maintaining their current state of health or improving it. Unlike doctors who fix health problems through therapy or medication, health coaches typically aim for their clients to prevent health woes as much as possible through lifestyle.

Some of the typical duties of a health coach include health assessments of their clients, making health goals that are attuned to their clients’ needs, documenting their progress through different media and physical work-ups, and providing health counseling.

Health coaches are now found in different aspects of life and communities.

Here are some of the Topmost Health Coach Jobs that you may have already come face to face with in daily life:

  1. Corporate Health Coach. Usually, companies with more than fifty employees hire a health coach as part of their medical team. The health coach may be apart from the company physician and/or nurse. Hiring a health coach is a strategic benefit that allows employees to enjoy the perks of good health and companies to have healthy productive workers who are able to complete duties and responsibilities.
  2. Health writer/blogger. Most people who cannot afford a one-on-one health coaching mostly turn to the internet for some advice. Luckily, there are numerous health blogs out there who are run by actual health coaches who have written some very helpful articles about health, fitness and overall wellness. Their sites may come with product offers like books they may have written, but they may also come with free articles for public consumption. All you have to do is ensure that the health blogger you are following has the right education and certification for health coaching. Try to check their “about” page and do a bit of a background check just to make sure you are receiving some solid professional counsel.
  3. Gym Health Coach. It is no surprise that gyms also have their own health coaches. After all, people go to the gym to get in shape and to do so, one has to be in good health. Gym health coaches usually have extra credits for fitness and are experts when it comes to optimal nutrition for specific body goals.
  4. Insurance Health Coach. Death and illness is bad for business. Insurance companies want their clients alive, well, and as healthy as possible. That is why some insurance companies offer clients incentives such as spa treatments, dinner buffets and other incentives whenever they reach health milestones such as enrolling in a gym membership, a fitness club, or a diet plan. That is also why insurance companies these days have up their ante and hire their own health coaches to facilitate health plans for insurance clients.

Getting a Health Coach Stint (Education and Certification)

Anyone who is interested in the health coaching career path should first acquire a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study such as fitness, health care, nutrition, and psychology, among others. A bachelor’s degree is considered the professional standard for health coaches, but if you attain a higher level of education such as a master’s or doctorate degree, this may come to be more favorable when it comes to landing an actual health coaching job.

The reason for a bachelor’s prerequisite in the mentioned fields is that health coaches are expected to have a solid background in physiology, anatomy, and nutrition. These professionals attain a certificate after taking a paid exam post-training period. Afterward, they are expected to keep up with updates on health through continuing education which can be acquired with their certifying organization.

Top 3 places to get Health Coach Education

  1. National Society of Health Coaches. The NSHC offer certification to become a CHC or Certified Health Coach. This is open only to certified and registered health professionals such as physicians, nurses, psychologists, nutritionists, and pharmacists.

    Their existing program provides self-study materials which include skills practice and competency assessments. It takes an average total of 70 hours to complete the program and the certification exam is free to take within the next 12 months. A retake would set you back $50.

  2. American Council on Exercise. Bothe healthcare and fitness professionals can benefit from ACE’s Health Coaching certification. Their study program has a choice between standard and premium packages which includes weekly emails or video lectures.

    The exam is computer-based as well and may be taken in so many available locations. Unlike the NSHC, ACE does not really require you a specific degree. All that is required is that the examinee must be of legal age, with a current CPR or AED certificate, and an NCCA certification or at least an associate’s degree.

  3. Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. If you do not have any health and fitness background but want to dip your toes into the health coaching industry, Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is the place to go and get certified. What is unique about the Dr. Sears program is that it offers three types of health coach certification: Family, Pregnancy and Nursing, and Adults and Seniors.

    A certification takes six weeks to complete, and if you plan to take on more than one there may be an extension. Another thing about this program is that it encourages its health coaches to lecture in seminar-workshops with the institute providing materials as well as marketing. the program is provided online so it is easily accessible.

  4. Wellcoaches School of Coaching. If you are into formal schooling, Wellcoaches offers a 10-month curriculum for professional health coach training. But before being able to enroll in the program, an aspiring applicant must first pass an oral and written exam for the school’s health and wellness coach certification which is taken after finishing an 18-week program.

    The classes are interactive either live or online and a health-related degree or a license as a health professional is a requirement in order to participate. 

To land a job as a health coach, one has to look into facilities like hospitals, community centers, fitness clubs, corporations and other institutions with large populations that may benefit from the services of a health coach. You may also build a private business by tapping individual clients who may want and can afford private coaching. This strategy may even turn out to be more profitable if your client base is especially affluent.

Life as a Health Coach (Typical Work-Life)

There are three main things that health coaches tend to look at when they meet with clients, regardless of what industry they are currently practicing in: nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.

Most of the assessment, evaluation and resulting health plans typically revolve around these three aspects of health.

A health coach identifies which aspect is in most need of attention and what specific regimen an individual can undertake in order to address any issue.

A client may need to be placed on a special diet, or track their daily steps or activity level to address a bloodwork issue, or they may need a comprehensive plan to cut down on bad habits like smoking or drinking.

This means that as a health coach, you may be dealing with clients who have health concerns that may cause them to need more thorough attention such as diabetics, hypertensives, or those who are under ongoing medical treatment which may affect their lifestyle.

This is why a background in related studies is a requirement for most health coach programs.

Understanding physiology is an important foundation to be able to assist persons in need of health coaching. Otherwise, you may also deal with perfectly healthy individuals whose goal is to maintain their current quality of life.

Dealing with individuals’ diet, health and lifestyle mean that a health coach is someone whose clients are in close contact with, especially when it comes to monitoring their health progress. Health coaches are typically accessible by text, call, email, chat, or video call to their respective clients.

There are also certain activities in a client’s life that a health coach may initially accompany them with to implement health-related changes in their lifestyle such as grocery shopping to choose which types of foods are the best choice to achieve their health goals. 

Health coaches also sometimes need to collaborate with other health professionals in their clients’ lives that impact their health such as gym instructors so as to best match their client’s fitness goals with their health goals.

It is also a health coach role to keep an individual motivated enough to push through their health regimen and help them adjust to a new lifestyle that is tailored to meet their objective.

It would help if you are comfortable dealing with people face to face on a daily basis since the job involves an ongoing relationship with your clients as well as a good collaboration with other professionals in your client’s health life.

Perks of being a Health Coach (Salary and Benefits)

Since you have a certificate of training on top of your bachelor’s degree, and you have to pass a paid licensure exam, you can expect health coach salaries to be quite rewarding. However, since this is a fairly new occupation and covers a very wide scope of opportunity for practice, you can expect salary discrepancies from job to job to be quite high.

Licensed health coaches are usually paid at an hourly can earn anywhere between $30 to $200 an hour. At the lowest bracket mentioned, you’ll be looking at somewhere around $50,000 a year.

Apart from the monetary benefits, one can get from being a health coach, if you work privately or as your own business, you get to be your own boss. That means that you can schedule your work around your life instead of the other way around.

This can be a great and fulfilling choice for parents who want to spend more time with the family without compromising some or all of their work.

Since technology allows us to interact with clients even from a distance you can also choose to work from anywhere you, please. That means, even if you are traveling, your “office” is still open for business if you want.

On top of all that, there is no fulfillment greater than imposing a positive impact on another person’s life. Health coaches make such a huge difference in their clients’ quality of life that they are technically potentially turning someone’s life around by improving their state of health and overall wellbeing.

Career Outlook for Health Coaches

Career opportunities for health coaches on the business sector are a foreseen constant, but you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself in that area. There are hospitals, organizations, clinics, clubs, gyms, schools, and even within the government that may benefit from the service of a health coach.

The career path to becoming a health coach seems to be a desirable one as statistical outlooks predict that jobs similar to health coaching are projected to grow double digits until 2024. 

It is expected that the demand for health coaches will continue to rise within the next couple of years. What with the rising cost of healthcare services and medicines as well as the increased level of consciousness that modern people have in terms of their health and wellbeing, you can expect that more and more people will be looking for guidance, instruction, and motivation to lead a healthier life.