The path to full-time health coaching.
As little as five years ago, the only path to health coaching on a full-time basis was to set up a part-time practice and work your tail off.
After a little (or lot of) time and definitely a lot of hustle, you’d have the clients, income, and confidence necessary to leave that j-o-b you dreaded going to every day and fully embrace the life you’d been dreaming of.
How times have changed!
While the part-time to full-time route is still the most popular way to build a lucrative health coaching practice, there are now other, faster alternatives for those who don’t want to spend another second working in a soul-stealing job that has nothing to do with their passion for health and wellness and helping others.
Health Coaches are needed now more than ever.
Not only are Health Coaches in high demand as private practitioners; they are being hired in places you come in contact with on a daily basis.
Why the sudden surge, you ask? Well, the simple answer is that it’s not so sudden. We’re still living amid a healthcare crisis:
Despite the increased information available to us on how to live healthier, we’ve never been sicker, nor have we been more confused about what actually helps us get healthier. There’s so much conflicting nutrition information out there, and we’re stuck having to decipher what it all means. We end up more frustrated and ultimately give in to what the food industry tells us is “healthy.”
That’s where Integrative Nutrition comes in. Even thirty years ago, we knew it didn’t have to be this way. Figuring out what makes us thrive and feel amazing in our own skin and sharing that knowledge with those who need it most shouldn’t be difficult. In fact, it should be accessible to the whole world, and that’s exactly what Health Coaches are on a mission to do.
The hiring of Health Coaches is on the rise.
The increased prevalence of Health Coaches in almost every health and wellness sector can be traced back to nearly thirty years ago when the tireless work of the profession’s creator, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, began.
Thanks to three decades of constantly beating the health coaching drum and putting over 100,000 Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches into worldwide circulation, dozens of employment sectors not only “get it” but want it.
IIN’s message that “food changes everything” has been received loud and clear. Medical professionals, business owners, and employers everywhere now understand that food is actually a pretty big deal. The food we eat is absorbed into our blood, organs, tissues, and cells and determines our health, mood, and actions.
Yet food is also very complex. It’s not like we can all eat a bit of salmon with a side of kale and call it a day. Different foods have different reactions in each of our bodies. One person’s nourishment can be another person’s “poison.” Food has the power to harm or heal, so it’s really critical to understand the food that’s right for you. This is an Integrative Nutrition core concept called bio-individuality.
Experts who understand the power of food and can advise others on how to eat what’s right for them have become a hot commodity. Health Coaches empower their clients to make their own informed wellness decisions, and that’s really what people want: to feel that they truly understand how to make these decisions and feel at ease doing so.
The field of health coaching is absolutely exploding, and where it was once a challenge to find companies that are hiring Health Coaches, it’s now a challenge to find a company that isn’t. In fact, it is estimated that health coaching has grown into a $6 billion service industry.
Health Coaches can now be found in private practices, fitness centers, nursing homes, restaurants, health food stores, and just about anywhere food is created, packaged, purchased, or consumed.
To put it another way, Health Coaches can be found everywhere.
Five places to find full-time health coaching jobs.
But everywhere sounds a bit too broad, doesn’t it? To narrow down the list a bit, we concentrated on the most ubiquitous businesses – the ones you can find in thriving cities as well as small one-stoplight towns (and everywhere in between). There’s likely a Health Coach opportunity available in one of these businesses near you right now.
1. Hospitals and doctor’s offices
Did you know that not every medical school requires students to take nutrition courses? The National Academy of Sciences recommends medical schools provide at least 25 classroom hours, but a report by Martin Kohlmeier, a research professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that not even 10% of the schools met this requirement; 73% of the schools required less than this amount, and overall, medical students receive less than 20 hours of nutrition education in their entire medical school career!
In stark contrast, obesity rates are soaring. As a society, we’re inundated with poor food options, especially those populations who don’t have proper access to other options (such as fresh fruits and vegetables). Poor nutrition is continuously being attributed to an endless list of chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
There’s a disconnect here, right? Poor nutrition is hurting us, and medical schools aren’t equipping their incredibly bright and eager students with the nutrition knowledge they so desperately need to help their future patients.
But there’s good news – the medical community now recognizes this void and is very anxious to fill it. The same study by Kohlmeier addresses this void and found that many medical schools are looking to improve their nutrition education offerings.
The medical community also recognizes that it cannot do this on its own. Physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals serve crucial functions but often do not have the time (or training) to discuss the lifestyle and behavioral factors that enable patients to carry out their well-intentioned recommendations. Health Coaches do have the time, as this is their main purpose, to discuss these preventive care factors that can be crucial in improving health outcomes.
2. Healthcare insurers
After more than a century of “aftercare” focus, health insurance companies now understand the value of preventive care as a tool to reduce benefit payouts and ultimately reduce the cost of insurance premiums.
So much so, that many are offering free phone consultations (read: work remotely) to its customers in an effort to get them on a healthier track. Telemedicine, as it’s often called, is an ever-growing perk of both insurance carriers and brick-and-mortar doctor’s offices, giving people the ability to receive health and wellness consulting or screening without having to leave their home or office, for less than the cost of an in-person visit.
While this is amazing in and of itself, there’s something even better happening.
Read between the lines and you’ll see where this is going; If insurance companies value and hire Health Coaches, it won’t be long before they cover health coaching services, too.
In fact, this is already under way; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs successfully applied for the creation of new Category III CPT codes for health coaching through the American Medical Association, which went into effect in early 2020. CPT codes make up the language for coding medical services, allowing for submission to insurance, and Category III refers to temporary codes whose main purpose are to collect data and assess health outcomes from particular services.
The use of these codes recognizes the true value of Health Coaches, demonstrating that the services they provide can drastically improve patient’s health outcomes. The eventual creation of permanent CPT codes for health coaching will allow people to submit their health coaching appointments for insurance coverage.
This will be the single biggest catalyst for the profession when (not if) this occurs. It may also be the single biggest act that reverses the health crisis, as it will expand access to health services that are so underutilized today: seeing someone who can actually help implement the diet and lifestyle changes necessary to improve health.
Unhealthy employees are costing U.S. businesses big. According to the annual Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, the per-employee health benefit cost is more than $13,000 per employee, which has risen 3% since 2018. To help cut these costs, corporations are looking to implement technology-focused solutions, such as telemedicine programs whose goals are “empowerment, convenience, and lower cost.”
Furthermore, the Integrated Benefits Institute recently estimated that absenteeism due to illness (taking sick days) costs U.S. companies an estimated $530 billion in lost productivity annually. In other words, unhealthy employees can lead to unhealthy businesses.
While employers have long embraced a number of health initiatives, like subsidized gym memberships and programs to help employees quit smoking, they are taking employee wellness far more seriously now. With so much at stake, smart businesses are now hiring full-time Health Coaches to lead their in-house corporate wellness programs.
The president of the Integrated Benefits Institute, Thomas Parry, PhD, underscores this need, stating “illness costs [the United States] hundreds of billions of dollars, and we can no longer afford to ignore the health of our workforce. These results demonstrate the needs for a more holistic, integrated strategy when it comes to managing health.”
Health Coaches take a holistic, integrated approach to health and wellness, taking into account all aspects of wellness, such as food, relationships, environment, physical activity, spirituality, and much more. This approach is implemented in all the work they do with clients, including corporate wellness programs, which creates healthier bottom lines for these companies.
4. On- and offline food chains
A popular and highly effective technique among many successful Health Coaches is to take clients to a grocery store and re-teach them how to shop for food based on their unique needs.
Now, many online food delivery services and progressive grocery chains are also seeing the benefit of helping their customers shop smarter by hiring Health Coaches. Some chains will even go a step further and host in-store nutrition classes and recipe demos. It’s one thing to buy the healthy ingredients and pantry staples, but it’s another to understand how to use them in a way that helps you feel nourished and satisfied.
As discussed in an analysis conducted by the Food Marketing Institute, retailers are increasingly recognizing how important health, wellness, and well-being are to their customers and are pursuing efforts that increase their trust with customers as well as provide them with the education they desire. Furthermore, customers are becoming more educated around food labeling and are interested in more transparency around what’s in their food.
By helping customers shop, eat, and feel better, food chains are increasing customer loyalty at a time when competition has never been fiercer.
5. Schools and universities
Despite what you may have heard, schools have come a long way since the days of calling fried fish sticks with a side of mac and cheese and chocolate milk a “well-balanced” lunch.
School administrators are realizing the harmful short- and long-term effects that a poor diet has on students’ capacity to reach their full potential. Sean Patrick Corcoran, associate professor of economics and education policy at New York University, says that “students who eat regular, healthy meals are less likely to be tired, are more attentive in class, and retain more information.” Schools that have healthy lunch vendors even have students who score higher on statewide tests!
Health Coaches are being hired to create healthier menus, oversee food preparation, and hold one-on-one consultations with students.
Health Coaches in schools aren’t just tackling nutrition issues, either. They are helping students with body image, sleep patterns, and weight management issues as well.
Cultivate a fulfilling full-time health coaching career with an Integrative Nutrition education.
Health Coaches have more full-time opportunities than ever, so don’t feel that you are limited to starting with a part-time private practice and growing from there. It’s highly likely that businesses are recruiting full-time positions near you now.
Health coaching roles are becoming so prolific that there are now many training programs to choose from, so just a few words of caution before you choose an online nutrition school to earn that valuable health coaching certificate; all Health Coaches are not created equal.
The increased demand for Health Coaches has unfortunately given rise to more and more certificate mills that are aiming to cash in on this historic labor trend.
Do your research and spend your hard-earned dollars wisely. Finding the right training program is all about your goals and what works for you.
What makes the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Health Coach Training Program so unique?
- We created the field of health coaching – we’ve been around the longest and have curated the most robust and innovative health coaching program available. Our global community has been changing lives for nearly three decades, and our Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certificate is the most esteemed.
- We teach bio-individuality and the importance of primary food – the application of these unique IIN concepts will allow you to coach anyone through their health concerns as you will truly understand how to guide your clients to make informed, empowered decisions.
- We’re licensed by the New York State Department of Education – we’re held to the highest standards, meaning that our curriculum and everything we provide for you to build a health coaching career is regularly reviewed and updated so you can keep your edge in this competitive field.
- We provide done-for-you marketing materials to start and build a health coaching practice – whether you choose to coach part-time or full-time or branch out into another wellness sector with your IIN education, you’ll be equipped with the tools you need to be successful.
Ready to take that next step to achieving the life you’ve always dreamed of? Take a free Sample Class to get a taste for what you’ll learn in our online Health Coach Training Program.