Got a passion for helping other people lead healthier lifestyles? Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to become a professional health and wellness coach.
Are you thinking of pursuing a career as a health and wellness coach?
If yes, there couldn’t be a better time than now. America’s baby boomers are approaching their sunset years, which means their need for health and wellness services is increasing. What’s more, even the younger people are paying more attention to healthy living, including eating right and working out.
In other words, millions of people across the country need the help of health and wellness coaches.
So, how do you join this career and earn a living while helping people lead healthier lives?
We’ve got a comprehensive guide here. Read on!
Develop an Academic Background in Health and Wellness
In any industry, a coach is an experienced professional with vast knowledge in a certain subject. Nobody is going to take coaching lessons from a person who has no track record of success or proven expertise.
As such, when you want to become a health and wellness coach, you must start by gaining the right knowledge.
Health and wellness coaches have an academic background in diverse healthcare fields. Some are doctors who hung up the coat and went into coaching. Others were nurses, nutrition specialists, physiotherapists, psychology, and counseling.
If you’re already a practicing professional in any of these fields, or any other filed related to human health and wellness, you’re a step closer to becoming a health coach. But if your academic background is in a non-health field, go to college and earn a degree in a relevant field.
The good news is you don’t have to pursue an intensive program like medicine or nursing. A bachelor’s degree in social work, human services or health studies, for instance, will give you a good preparation for a future career as a wellness coach. Whichever program you pursue, ensure it enhances your understanding of the human body.
After earning your degree, practice in the field for a couple of years.
You see, professional knowledge alone isn’t enough. You need vast professional experience too. Before a potential client hires you, they’re certainly going to dig into your qualifications and experience and see whether you fit the bill.
Obtain a Health and Wellness Coaching Certification
What distinguishes a pure healthcare practitioner, say a nurse, from a health and wellness coach who has a nursing background is a health and wellness coaching certification. The first nurse has trained just to be a nurse, while the second nurse has additional training to be a coach.
This is why the next step to getting started as a health coach is to get certified.
Now, there are several types of health and wellness coaching certifications. The one you choose largely depends on your preferred specialization.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is one of the most reputable organizations offering health and wellness coaching certifications.
Depending on your background and specialization preferences, you could be certified as the following:
- Health coach
- Group fitness instructors
- Personal trainer
- Medical exercise specialist
The health coach certification is the most appropriate when you want to be recognized as a health and wellness coach. In this program, you’ll learn the science and skills needed to help people embrace and practice meaningful lifestyle habits. There’s a specific focus on chronic lifestyle conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
That being said, nothing stops you from pursuing as many certifications as you want. Multiple certifications make you more diverse as a health and wellness professional.
Nurture the Skills and Qualities You Need to Be a Competent Coach
At this point, you have the knowledge required to be a health and wellness coach. What you’re lacking are the skills to put your knowledge to practice.
For instance, a coach needs excellent customer service and communication skills to be successful. Every day, you’ll be interacting with people who need your services. You must be able to attend to them professionally while building rapport and putting a smile on their faces.
If you’re cold toward other people or really don’t know how to strike positive relationships, you might struggle in a health coaching career.
You should be an empathetic person. You’ll likely have clients who might be in distress and pain. Maybe they’re suffering from a chronic and deadly health condition.
Having the ability to understand and share their feelings and struggles will go along way in making you a competent health coach.
Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are a must-have. You must be able to collect data and create health courses or programs that will solve your client’s health and lifestyle problems.
Find Employment/Start Your Coaching Practice
As a newly qualified health and wellness coach, you have two options: find employment or start your own practice.
Most coaches are in self-employment, but there’s nothing wrong starting out your career working for someone else. You can get hired as a health coach in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, as well as in wellness studios. Some corporate organizations also hire in-house health and wellness coaches.
If you want to become self-employed right away, you have to establish your own practice.
Like starting any other business, you’ll need a business plan and adequate startup capital. This will enable you to rent or buy office space, from where you’ll be coaching your clients.
Other essentials include obtaining the necessary business licenses and permits, setting up a website and implementing a marketing strategy.
Go Forth and Become a Health and Wellness Coach
The demand for health and wellness coaching is there, and it’s only going to keep rising. You’ve definitely made a smart decision to become a health and wellness coach. The only thing that remains is to follow this guide and get started.
All the best and keep tabs on our blog to learn more about running your practice.