Best Wellness Coach Certification

Best Wellness Coach Certification

Wellness Coach

What is Wellness Coaching?

Wellness Coaches work with individuals that are in a general state of wellness that are looking to maintain or improve their health and prevent the onset of disease.  The Wellness Coach comes from varying health and non-health related backgrounds with or without formal training or credentials such as a State or National license, registration or certification.

The Wellness Coach provides general health guidance in areas such as healthy eating, exercise, tobacco cessation, weight loss, and stress management, to name a few and utilizes behavior change strategies and techniques to help clients tap into their own motivations for changing unhealthy behaviors.

What is the Difference Between Health and Wellness Coaches?


Diabetes, Chronic Illness

While Certified Clinician Health Coaches and Wellness Coaches both may coach in the areas of wellness and prevention –  overall nutrition, weight management, healthy diet, exercise, and tobacco cessation, the clinician health coach may go a step further into the clinical realm of coaching and medicine.

A Certified Clinician Health Coach may provide both wellness and prevention but also coach patients with active disease, chronic health conditions, acute illness and moderate to high health risks.  The Clinician Health Coach by virtue of their professional credential and license may assess, plan, treat, and evaluate treatment plans within the boundaries of one’s clinical practice act.   In contrast, the non-clinician Wellness Coach is restricted by State laws from these activities.

However, both Health Coaches and Wellness Coaches may start their own health coaching business – provide health or wellness coaching independently barring any specific State restrictions.

A clear understanding of the employment options, one’s personal coaching desires and goals along with what is entailed or required for each, including starting a coaching business are important to both health and wellness professionals before choosing to move forward with any of the available certification programs.

Why Should You Earn a Wellness Coach Certification?

So, how do you determine if becoming a Wellness Coach fits you compared to a Health Coach Certification?

Wellness Coach Certification

  • Are you a licensed health practitioner looking to specialize in health behavior change coaching?
  • Do you work in a wellness venue, a gym or physical training center?
  • Do you prefer to work with healthy patients to support wellness and healthy lifestyle choices? 
  • Are you interested in coaching wellness & prevention?
  • Is it important to you to earn a health or wellness credential – a certification or registration?
  • Are you willing to participate in coaching training that includes testing for a credential?
  • Are you interested in working in a corporate wellness programs or starting your own coaching business?

If you answered yes to several of these questions and if you want to improve your wellness coaching skills, then a Wellness Coaching training program may be the right fit for you.

If you are a licensed health practitioner and prefer the challenge of working with patients who have moderate to high health risks and/or chronic health conditions, then perhaps a Health Coach certification program would be a better fit. Keep reading for more information about Health Coaching below!

How Do You Choose a Wellness Coach Certification Program?

Wellness Coach Certification Program

Wellness Coaching training programs offer varied methods of study including in-person, remote learning with or without live instruction and individual self-study programs where you can learn at your own pace without classroom instruction or requirements.

Make sure you know which style of learning is best for you and look for a certification program that meets your individual needs.

  • Wellness Coach Education and Continuing Education Requirements

    Wellness Coach Certification program requirements

Wellness Coach Certification programs vary in prerequisite requirements with some requiring an academic degree –  associate’s degree or higher in a health or wellness-related field.

Continuing Education requirements necessary to maintain a Wellness Coach Certification will vary as well.  Many Certification programs offer opportunities for CEs. But, it will be important to know how many CEs, if any, are required to maintain your certification and where you can complete those CE credits after you have earned your original Wellness Coach Certification or if retesting is required.

  • Certification Program Credentialing

While coaching is a non-regulated field, and earning a certification is strictly voluntary, it is important for you to research the various program options available.  You will want to ensure the program is evidence-based and understand the evidence used as a supporting pin of the program.  You will also want to investigate what you may legally do with your newly earned certification credential in the State(s)  that you plan on coaching prior to making a purchase..

  • Certification Program Cost

    Wellness Coach Certification CostIf you do not currently meet the academic prerequisites of the program you prefer, make sure you incorporate the costs to meet the requirements into your overall investment. In addition, each Wellness Coach Certification program has an associated program/training cost depending on the method of study and program design and requirements.

Once you know which learning style you prefer, you can research the costs for programs with that method of study so you can decide which fits into your budget.

So, Which Program is Best?

Based on the specifics above that need to be considered by the potential student, the ‘best’ program is subjective. But, here are the names of a few programs to get you started: National Wellness Institute, Wellness Council of America, Precision Nutrition, Corporate Health and Wellness Association and Chapman Institute.

What To Do With Your Wellness Coach Certification?

Wellness Coach Certification

Once you have earned your Wellness Coaching certification, you will have more than a few options for your career.

Some of the most common career paths are working as a personal trainer coach or to become a corporate wellness coach who is part of a worksite wellness program for the HR department of an organization.

A worksite wellness program often includes individual in-person coaching sessions and other various employee health programs outlined by the  employer. These coaching sessions allow you to help individual employees with their particular concerns, as well as group programs focused on general aspects of wellness for all that include nutrition, exercise, mental health, and smoking cessation.

Many of these programs integrate licensed clinician health coaches to offer additional clinical services to employees as well.

Another popular career option is starting a Wellness Coaching business, which can offer the same offerings as a worksite wellness program, such as lifestyle and general health coaching, but offering the coaching sessions in person at your own location or using telehealth. You can even partner with licensed health professionals to offer even more services to your clients.

What Are the Drawbacks to Only Getting a Wellness Coach Certification?

There are a few specific areas where a health coach and a wellness coach will occasionally overlap, as both certifications can help with wellness and prevention such as tobacco cessation, ideas for exercising, healthy eating, and weight management. However, a clinician Health Coach may also work with patients who are struggling with chronic conditions and health issues posing high health risks.

Adding a Health Coaching Certification to your credentials adds an additional specialty and level of skill and expertise to your resume, while adding new opportunities to impact patient outcomes and the quality of life  of patients that a Wellness Coach Certification does not afford.

Why Should You Earn A Health Coach Certification?

Health Coach Certification

If you work in healthcare with patients or clients with chronic conditions that struggle with self-management skills that seek both health behavior change coaching and clinical education then a Health Coach Certification program may be the better option for you. If you want to be able to provide clinical assessments and interventions within the coaching engagement then the challenge of a Health Coaching certification may appeal to you more than that of Wellness Coaching credential.

However, Health Coach Certification programs have different prerequisites than Wellness Coaching. To become a Certified Health Coach, a professional or clinical license issued by either a State or National credentialing body is required. The Certified  Clinician Health Coach is licensed/credentialed to assess, plan, treat and/or evaluate treatment/care plans or provide interventions based on the health and/or health behavior change needs of the patient.

Patients with disease and/or chronic conditions are typically high risk patients, which is why the prerequisites for Health Coach Certification programs are necessary and go beyond the requirements for Wellness Coaches.

If you are considering becoming a Certified Health Coach, you will want to research Health Coach certification programs to find the right one for you.

The National Society of Health Coaches offers a self-study program designed specifically for the licensed health clinician and allied health team members working in healthcare.  If this sounds like the right challenge for you, then you should consider becoming a certified health coach rather than wellness coaching.

How Do You Choose a Health Coaching Certification Program?

Certified Health Coach Program

  • Health Coaching Certification Program Methods

    Health Coaches studying

Health Coaching certification programs offer varied methods of study including in-person, remote learning styles with live classroom instruction, and individual self-study programs where you study at your own pace within your own time-frame.

Make sure you know which style of learning you prefer and look for certification programs that offer the learning methods that is best for your individual needs.

  • Health Coaching Education and Continuing Education Requirements

    Health Coaches Studying

Most of the Health Coaching Certification programs require a professional health provider license or credential, the National Society of Health Coaches offers a comprehensive list of eligible credentials for their health coach certification.

Continuing Education requirements are often required to maintain your Health Coaching Certification and/or your professional credential or license. But, it will be important to know how many CEs are required to maintain your new certification or if another method is required such as restesting for recertification.

  • Health Coaching Certification Program Cost

    Health Coaching Program cost

If you do not already meet the prerequisite requirements for the certification program you prefer, make sure you incorporate the cost to meet the prerequisites into your overall investment.  Additionally, each Health Coaching Certification program has a cost for the education, training and certification program and/or testing depending on the design of the program.

Once you know which learning style you prefer, you can research the costs for programs with that method of study so you can decide which fits into your budget.

The National Society of Health Coaches self-study program investment includes everything you need to study and prepare yourself for testing, with one test attempt included, as well as several other benefits including 42 CE hours upon passing testing, a one-year National Society of Health Coaches membership and more. The National Society of Health Coaches also offers volume discounts to employers and groups of 5 or more.

So, Which Health Coach Certification Program is Best for You?

Health Coaching program options

Based on the specifics above that need to be considered by the potential student, the ‘best’ program is subjective. Of course, we are partial to our own Health Coach Certification program here at The National Society of Health Coaches. We offer a self-study program that allows individuals to plan their study and testing within their life and work schedule without having to attend in-person or virtual classrooms or attend in-person clinicals.  The National Society of Health Coaches introduced the first Clinical Model of Evidence-based Health Coaching (EBHC)® with Motivational Interviewing in the nation.  And, the National Society of Health Coaches is the only certifying body designed specifically for licensed health practitioners credentialed to coach those with moderate to high health risks, chronic conditions, and disease.

However, there are other programs out there and we want you to find the right Health Coach Certification program for you so you can be as successful as possible! So, we have included a list of a few other Certification programs to get you started:

  • ACE Fitness
  • Holistic Nurse Coaches
  • Emory University
  • The Health Coach Institute

What To Do With Your Health Coaching Certification?

Health Coaching Program completion

Once you have earned your Health Coaching certification, you will have more than a few options for your career.

One of the most common career paths is to incorporate your new Health Coaching skills into your current clinical practice.  Health Coaching adds an extra level of patient engagement and support, a different provider-patient relationship that focuses on partnering in health in a 50/50 relationship.  Offering health coaching as an additional medical service within an office setting is also an option for physicians and practice management companies looking to improve health outcomes and generate new revenue streams.

Another popular career option is starting a Health Coaching business, where you can offer the same services as in an integrated practice, but at your own location of choice or telephonically. You can even partner with other health professionals to offer services outside your own practice act and license to create an integrated health and wellness coaching practice.

There are several options for a professional Health Coach starting their Health Coaching career!

What About Other Options Within the Health and Fitness Industry?

Personal Trainer

Are you interested in some of these topics, but you aren’t sure Wellness Coach or Health Coach certification are the right option for you? There are other career options that may be a better fit!

Personal trainers are integral to the fitness industry and may offer general health education, exercise and nutrition guidance. So, a personal training certification may be more of what you’re looking for!

Sports medicine can be another opportunity for individuals who specifically want to work with athletes in the sports industry.

The more the merrier in the health, wellness and fitness industry and new wellness professionals are always welcome, as you can tell by the variety of training programs available!

Personal Training Certification

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