November 5, 2021
Last Updated:
February 5, 2024

Requirements for Becoming a Health Coach

The field of health and wellness is rapidly expanding as people focus more on their own health and well-being and seek out all the information available on these subjects. This often includes working with wellness professionals like Health Coaches.

Health Coaches are mentors and wellness experts who help their clients make sustainable, long-lasting lifestyle changes in order to meet their unique health goals. Coaches work with clients to help them discover how to fuel their bodies with nutritious food, lead a healthier lifestyle, and find the best wellness and health routines that work for them.

They also emphasize holistic health beyond what’s on your plate. Primary food, the idea that there are areas of your life that impact your short- and long-term health just as much as the food you eat, is one of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s core concepts. It includes things like the quality of your relationships, your career fulfillment, your spiritual practice, your physical activity, and how comfortable you feel in your environment.

This core concept lays the foundation for the work that Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches do every day, and they learn all about this and other necessary coaching tools in the IIN Health Coach Training Program (particularly in our programs that offer eligibility to earn board certification with NBHWC). 

What are the Requirements for Becoming a Health Coach?

So you’re considering becoming a Health Coach. What’s next?

Earn a bachelor’s degree ‒ or don’t

While earning a bachelor’s or higher education degree will be helpful in developing a base education, many programs do not require a degree to enroll. In fact, many Health Coaches decide to pursue higher education after their health coaching education, including Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches who have opportunities to earn a bachelor’s, a master’s, or even a doctoral degree with IIN’s educational partners.

Find a program that suits your needs

Finding the right Health Coach training program for you is the best way to begin your journey as a Health Coach. There are several factors to consider when researching and selecting a health and wellness coaching program, including the length of the program, the costs involved, and job placement opportunities. Most programs range from six months to one year, though some can take significantly more or less time.

The cost of wellness coach training programs varies depending on several factors, including:

  • The focus of the training content
  • Whether the program is in-person, online, or hybrid
  • Accreditation and approval by educational institutions
  • The duration of the program
  • Post-graduation support offered
  • Opportunities for continuing education

Get certified

Certification is not required to become a Health Coach, but that may change in the future. The health and wellness industry is steadily moving toward regulation, with insurance and tax codes for Health Coaches now available for use.

Regardless, pursuing board certification, such as through the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), allows wellness coaches to maintain a competitive edge in the field, since it demonstrates their dedication to the practice as well as competency in their profession. Not all schools or programs will be able to provide eligibility to earn board certification, though, so be sure to look for this approval when finding a Health Coach training program.

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Find your health and wellness niche

Every coach approaches their coaching practice differently, and how you approach health coaching will depend on your experiences, goals, and personality. By narrowing down where you’ll practice, which people you’ll work with, and what services you want to offer, you can focus on exactly the client you’re most interested in helping. Plus finding your particular niche within the health and wellness field can make it easier to foster career and business success.

What are the Benefits of Being a Health Coach?

There are many benefits to becoming a qualified wellness professional who can help people make sustainable diet and lifestyle shifts. Health Coaches inspire and motivate clients to achieve their goals and make long-term changes, from weight loss and stress management to creating healthier relationships.

As a Health Coach, you can positively affect your clients’ health and well-being in a variety of ways, allowing you to pursue your passion for wellness, do work you love, make a difference in people’s lives, and make a great living.

Helping others

Health Coaches provide specific, action-based education for their clients, such as how to navigate a grocery store, reduce stress and anxiety, find simple recipes, implement mindfulness practices, and much more.

Health Coaches empower individuals to gain the knowledge and skills needed to make better decisions every day that improve their health. In addition to offering private coaching services or working within a group of holistic practitioners, Health Coaches are increasingly utilized in public health spaces like hospitals and nursing homes. Coaches help change lives!

Career flexibility

Health Coaches work in a variety of settings, like doctor’s offices, hospitals, gyms, wellness centers, spas, schools, and corporate offices. Many coaches choose to work for themselves, opening private practices in the form of an online business.

Because many Health Coaches run their own businesses, they have the flexibility to work when, where, and as often as they like. Many people work remotely now, and Health Coaches are no exception. Many Health Coaches start their businesses as side hustles, then fully transition to full-time coaching when they’re ready.

In IIN’s Health Coach Training Program, you’ll have the chance to start coaching halfway through your training, which means you can test the waters of starting your own business as well as start earning income as a coach!

Positive job outlook in a growing field

As an increasing number of people recognize the benefit and value that Health Coaches bring to improving well-being, contributing to lower healthcare costs, and reducing the rate of chronic disease, the demand for Health Coaches is on the rise. Health Coaches with additional specialties, certifications, and education – like IIN’s Advanced Courses and specialty courses – are even more in demand because they demonstrate more advanced competencies in the settings that require them. This can, in turn, increase job opportunities.

The Bottom Line

Your path to health coaching is just that – yours. How you become a Health Coach can vary wildly, depending on your previous experiences, career goals, outside passions, and personal ambition. The only requirements for becoming a Health Coach are that you have a passion for health and wellness as well as a desire to help those in your community and future generations to come.

Author Biography
Katy Weniger
IIN Content Writer

Katy holds a bachelor’s in English with a concentration in creative writing and advertising from Rider University. After jobs in the field of finance, she wanted to transition to an industry that focused on helping others be their best selves, and discovered IIN.

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