Everything You Need to Know: How to Become a Health & Wellness Coach


If you’re wondering how to become a health coach, then you have a sincere passion for all things health-related. In fact, you might love health, wellness and nutrition so much that you’re excited by the idea of helping others to make similar improvements in their lives. Here’s all the information you’ll need to know before getting started on this new and exciting career path.

be the change as a wellness coach

What Does a Health and Wellness Coach Do?

Health and wellness coaches help people create healthy lifestyles and behaviors so they can be as healthy as possible. As a coach, you can work with people one-on-one in coaching sessions, in classes or workshops, or in group settings — like corporate wellness programs. You might also run your own consulting businesses or work for corporations and healthcare organizations.

While it might seem obvious that a wellness coach would share tips, research, and advice with clients, there’s a whole lot more to coaching. Behavior change is one of the biggest struggles that many people face, which is why someone might seek out a wellness coach for help.

Wellness coaches are trained in working with a person’s whole life in order to create true transformations as opposed to health coaches who focus primarily on a person’s physical health. They focus on using holistic frameworks that offer methods for sustainable change. This perspective leads clients to healthy lifestyle changes that create well-being for a lifetime.

As our awareness of health and well-being has increased over the past few decades, the field of wellness coaching has grown in demand. Hospitals, doctors, and public health agencies are seeing the value of what a health and wellness coach can provide their patients. As healthcare costs continue to skyrocket, preventative care saves organizations money in the long run, which is a huge motivation to hire health and wellness coaches.

Wellness coaches are the crucial keystone to taking preventative lifestyle actions from an idea to reality.

Do I Need a Degree to Become A Health Coach?

Health and wellness coach training and career requirementsCareer Requirements

Median Salary $61,900 (for all kinds of coaches)
Degree Level Employers may expect degree; accredited training preferred.
Degree Field Coaching-specific training preferred.
Experience Some experience may be required if you’re not self-employed.
Certifications Current and valid accreditation in wellness is recommend (view IAWP’s accreditation)
Key Skills Health and wellness, customer service, nutrition, health education, counseling

Source: coachfederation.org

Yes and no. While you don’t technically need a degree, certification, or to be registered as a health coach, almost all employers in your career as a health coach will require some kind of education. Even as a self employed health coach, most clients will want to see it as well.

How Much Can I Earn As A Health and Wellness Coach?

While Wellness Coaches can work within a company or organization, many Wellness Coaches opt for the entrepreneurial path of starting their own practice. There are so many different ways you could set up your services to increase your income potential. Really, the sky’s the limit!

For typical coaching businesses and employed practitioners, a 2016 study conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the International Coaching Federation found that the average yearly income for coaches in North America was $61,900 annual. This study includes all kinds of coaches, so the numbers don’t specifically reflect your own earning potential.

Coaches who specialize in a particular niche (like wellness) can command higher rates and are often in greater demand. Forbes.com reports that coaching is one career in which practitioners can often make a mean wage annual of $100,000 or more relatively early in their business growth.

In summary: Wellness Coaching is in high demand and the field is exploding with growth. With determination, a love for health, and consistent action, you can build a business and career that has a high earning potential.

Step-By-Step: How to Start Health Coaching

step by step guide to becoming a wellness coach

1. Learn more about what health and wellness coaches do

While it might seem like an exciting career choice from the outside (and it is!), it is always a good idea to ensure that it’s a good fit for you.

Make sure you understand what health coaching is and is not. Read reviews and see what other coaches are saying. Do their experiences line up with what you’re looking for in a school? If you like the idea of being your own boss and starting your own practice, dive into what that entails and if the day-to-day experience of entrepreneurship fits with your personality and needs.

2. Decide how much training you’ll need

Building your own health and wellness coach business can be an opportunity with great rewards. Many coach training programs focus solely on health topics or coaching methods, but they leave you hanging when it comes to business skills. 

Do your research to ensure you will receive the right type of systems and support to gain the right blend of knowledge and experience (health and wellness), coach effectively (learn how to get to the root of your client’s challenges so they can create lasting changes), and develop your business skills (discover proven systems you can follow for success).

For example, at the IAWP we offer holistic wellness education, in-depth coach training, and systems-based business training to ensure that you’re competent in all three areas. We couple these three key pillars with personal, ongoing support so you can customize your learning every step of the way. That means when you graduate from our program, you can hit the ground running with not only the certification but the skills you need to succeed!

3. Research schools and training opportunities

Everyone has different needs and unique goals. You might be the kind of person that wants to take the academic route and get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in health coaching. This could be a great plan if you desire to work at a large corporation or teach wellness in an academic settings. Or you might be the kind of person who wants to be their own boss and launch your own practice. In which case, you would want to ensure you get your certification from an organization that will help you achieve your business goals as well.

Degrees from traditional universities and colleges can be useful for those wanting to work in an academic field or to pair with another training, such as becoming a doctor. However, they can be expensive, costing you tens of thousands of dollars and years of study. This path can be overkill for those who want to launch their own business, helping others lead healthier lifestyles.

Whichever path is the right one for you, make sure to choose a program that is backed by accreditation. It’s important to make sure that the program you choose is fully accredited, by an independent organization like the International Coaching Federation, because that means the curriculum has met a high standard in terms of the education and support you will receive.

4. Enroll in your preferred school of choice & participate fully

Once you’re in the wellness coaching school that is the right fit for you, dig into all the resources that they offer. For example, at the IAWP, we provide our students with, unlimited personalized wellness coaching, peer mentorship groups, and ongoing support with faculty. And this support doesn’t end when you graduate, you can tap into our training and personal support for the life of your new career.

“One of the things that was very powerful for me was having my own personal coach during my training. I just loved having my own coaching sessions. . . I have a new level of confidence now and I’ve been able to integrate everything I do within my practice.”

Read more about Neshama’s experience with our support and listen to other students talk about their time training with the IAWP.

These types of resources can be invaluable and determine how much you get out of your training. They’ll also help you to be a better prepared coach after graduation.

5. Finish the program and get certified!

After about 6 months (or more), you’ll finally get to start calling yourself a Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Congrats! It takes a lot of work and is an exciting step toward your dream career goals. Make sure to take advantage of all the post-graduation resources that your school offers to ensure that you start your new career off on the right foot. At the IAWP, we provide our students and graduates with complete done for you wellness workshops, coaching programs and even a custom website to ensure you are ready to attract and sign up new clients with ease.

6. Find work or start your business

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for: you finally get to work with clients as a full-fledged coach. If you’ve decided to work for a company, make sure to choose a job that fits best for your career goals. For everyone else, this is when you get to also put on your entrepreneur hat. Start networking, building online visibility, and attending events where you’ll meet potential clients or other professionals who might refer you.

Building a business takes work, but it pays off over time. The IAWP offers a step-by-step system to successfully launch your new coaching practice and attract clients as well as extensive business building support throughout your training and beyond.

If you’re ready to get going on this journey, schedule a call with an admissions counselor to find out if the IAWP certification program is right for you!

Benefits of Becoming a Health Coach

the benefits of becoming a health and wellness coach
The career path of a Wellness Coach is still in its growth stage, so coaches get the incredible opportunity to help shape the field. This growth means there are lots of opportunities in healthcare, corporate wellness, community health programs, and more. It also means as a Health and Wellness Coach, you can create your own business as well.

While building a business can be a worthy challenge, there are lots of perks that come with being self-employed. The benefits include setting your own schedule, deciding onset and benefiting from your own business goals, and contributing to your community in ways that make it a better place to live.

Things to Consider Before Becoming a Wellness Coach

Things to consider before becoming a wellness coach
Starting a new career isn’t always easy. It’s a good idea to know why you want to become a wellness coach before committing. Here are a few tips to consider before you embark on your coach training journey.

  • Don’t quit your day job just yet – it will support you during the transition.
  • Do some career exploration to discover what your ideal job setup would look like.
  • Reflect on your own wellness story to help you build the passion needed to propel you into a new career.

Above all, know that being a health and wellness coach is a very fulfilling career for those who feel called to help others improve their lives. Even if you don’t end up running your own business, the wellness coach certifications could be an excellent complement for something you’re already doing.

Coaching skills you will get in this training program are useful in many careers and learning more about health and wellness can be a major asset to your skill set. As an added benefit, your own health and wellness will go to the next level as you make personal changes and help others in your own life.

The IAWP Health and Wellness Coach Certification Difference

The IAWP Health and Wellness Coach Training Difference
At the International Association of Wellness Professionals, we’ve taken stock of all the coach training programs on the market and created a training and certification program that is truly unique. We immerse our students in the world of holistic health and wellness, while simultaneously teaching essential business skills based on real-world experience.

Our students work with wellness coaches to create changes in their own lives and to better understand what it’s like to be a client. Added to our in-depth curriculum and real, personal support is the chance to become a part of a like-minded, holistic community where wellness coaches from across the world are all a part of our shared wellness movement.

Throughout the program, students have access to faculty, staff, mentors, and peers, building a network of support for a lifetime. We also include ready-made business systems, coaching scripts and blueprints, marketing plans, done-for-you content and more so that graduates don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Our training can be done in as little as 6 months, so you can start a new career in no time at all. And — the best part — our students get support from us for life (something that no other program offers).

Ready to see if you’d be a good fit for our coaching program? Talk to an admissions advisor and learn how to become a wellness coach by clicking here.
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Suzanne Monroe Founder of IAWP

About the Author

Suzanne Monroe

Suzanne Monroe is the author of The Holistic Cookbook & Lifestyle Guide: 12 Weeks to a Healthier, Happier You, the co-author of 101 Ways to Improve Your Health, and is a health and business expert appearing regularly in the media. Suzanne was inspired to create the IAWP Wellness Coach Training & Certification Program in collaboration with other leading health experts in order to inspire people to create meaningful careers and spread the message of wellness.