Today, 6 in every 10 adults are battling a chronic disease with 4 in 10 having more than two diseases they’re grappling with. The leading drivers for most of these conditions include the excessive use of alcohol and tobacco, poor dietary choices, chronic stress, and the sedentary lifestyle people have grown accustomed to.
The good news, however, is that these ailments are preventable. With the right support and education from health and wellness coaches, individuals with these conditions can learn to make better health choices and improve their overall quality of life.
If this is a career that you want to pursue, this post explores everything you need to know about how to find the best health coach training program and what to expect.
How to Choose the Best Health Coach Training Program
A quick Google search of the phrase “health and wellness training” generates millions of results. Granted, only a handful of these make the cut, so how do you narrow down your choice further and pick the best one?
Here are some important factors to keep in mind during the selection process.
1. Scope of the Program
While most of the programs are designed with the same goal in mind – to develop coaches with a holistic view on health and wellness – they don’t use the same materials or techniques to impart knowledge. Some may lean more towards alternative medicine, while others may focus more on nutrition. Before you settle on a particular program, ensure that its mission and vision mirror the path you envision for your career.
2. Learning Materials and Teaching Methods
No two people learn and absorb content in the same way. While some may not have a problem combing through infinite blocks of text, some can't stand it and instead prefer visual aids or video content to deliver the same information.
Regardless of your preferred learning style, the information contained in the course is the same. So, choose a program whose materials are in a format that makes you more likely to recall the information you get with each new lesson.
You may also want to find out the type of testing that’s done at the end of the program. This is a necessary part of the certification process. Some programs designate specific dates and times for testing, while others are more flexible in their approach and work with whichever dates are convenient to you. The latter will come in handy if you have an erratic schedule that makes it difficult to plan for events in advance. Choose a program that’s more likely to keep you on course.
3. Cost Considerations
Institutions that offer online learning programs are typically cheaper than those that require students to attend traditional brick and mortar universities or colleges. But cost constraints aside, you can’t put a price on the convenience that comes with eLearning, especially for people who have a busy schedule and can’t set aside time in their day to attend physical classes, especially if the campus isn’t close to where they live or work.
While most wellness training programs are online-only, some do have an in-person attendance requirement – at least for some sections of the program. You, therefore, need to be clear from the get-go whether this is something you would be okay with or if you strictly want an online-only program for the duration of the course.
4. Support and Certification
Aside from the course content itself, the other selling points of a great health and wellness training program is the level of professional support and assistance you receive as you work through it. You need to ask: Does it have a dedicated instructor who can answer all your questions any time you need them to? Or do all your calls go unanswered every time? Is there a live chat function or email that you can use to get a swift response to all your queries?
Before settling on a particular program, due diligence is key. You need to establish whether you’ll get the support you need during the learning phase, or post-completion phase right up to your eventual certification. A program with a dedicated support resource in place will help you get your certification swiftly and effectively.
5. Sample Class
There's nothing more frustrating than paying for a course only to later realize that the structure, learning materials, and delivery techniques are nothing like you thought they would be. Any program that doesn’t offer prospective students a sample class for them to get a feel for the course isn’t worth your time or money and should be scraped off your list of potentials.
Sample classes don’t just exist to help you evaluate the learning materials. They also help you understand the full scope of a particular course, how it is presented, the quality of the content, and if it’s the right fit for you.
They also teach the basics of health and wellness coaching, which is the foundation of any training program you'll come across. Regardless of the type of certification, a sample class gives you a little taste of what to expect. So, approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
6. How Long It Has Been in Operation
If you come across a health coach certification program that has just started up, you should pass on it. Instead, find a program with years of experience under its belt and with enough notoriety that only comes from years of refining the quality of training services they offer.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition is the perfect example of this. It has stood the test of time having been in operation since 1992. A program like this has been around long enough to give its students access to the best instructors, speakers, and thought leaders in the health and wellness industry.
They’ve invested heavily in their digital classroom that has more than 100 world-class instructors like Deepak Chopra – MD, Mehmet Oz – MD, Gabrielle Bernstein, and many others. This caliber of professionals can only lend their name to wellness training programs that have been around for a long time.
7. Duration of the Program
Be wary of wellness training programs claiming that they can transform you into a fully qualified health coach in just a few weeks. That’s not nearly enough time to gain a solid foundation on wellness and nutrition, develop impeccable coaching skills, and acquire the necessary business acumen to build and succeed in a health coaching career that’s guaranteed to stand the test of time.
A proper certification program should take no less than 6 months to complete and should periodically test what you’ve learned every step of the way to ensure that the knowledge you acquire sticks. A program that purports to be able to do this quickly is a waste of your time and money.
8. Does It Link Students With Alumni
One of the key characteristics of a reputable health coach training program is its willingness to connect you to alumni. This provides a great way for you to learn from the experiences of those who went through the program and see firsthand how their career has taken off. If they don’t, that’s a glaring red flag. There is, however, a way to circumvent this.
You can go to LinkedIn and search for recent graduates of the health coach certification program that has piqued your interest. Drop them a short email and ask them if they would be willing to have a quick phone conversation to get their candid opinion about the program. This is one of the most efficient ways to get valuable insight into the specific programs that you’re interested in. That way, you can make an informed decision on the best one to go with.
9. Does It Have Any High-Profile Alumni
A training program may tout itself as being the best the industry has to offer, but the real question is: Do they have any well-known alumni who can back up those claims?
IIN, for instance, has several superstar coaches in their roster of past students. Most went on to launch their businesses shortly after completing the program. This is a testament to the fact that they have a solid curriculum that arms graduates with the tools they need to build a thriving business in the future.
10. Make Sure You’re In It for the Right Reasons
Last but certainly not least, before settling on a specific program, make sure that becoming a health coach is something that you want to do. You need to have a clear goal in mind of what you want to accomplish before beginning the certification process.
Set realistic expectations of the amount of money you’ll want to make when you first start your coaching practice. You also need to have a killer work ethic and strategy to get to where you want to be.
Once you're confident that this is something that you want to embark on, find a reputable program that mirrors your vision and get to work! Dedicate adequate time to your coursework and practice, practice, practice!
What to Expect From a Health and Wellness Coach Certification Program
Health and wellness training involves more than just physical health, fitness, and nutrition. It is multidimensional and encompasses many other aspects that contribute to an individual’s overall wellbeing.
The best certification programs delve deep into the different dimensions of health and wellness to equip you with the skills you need to help your clients live a satisfying and well-balanced life.
Here’s an overview of what you can expect from such a program.
Any credible health and wellness program worth its salt usually integrates business training into the curriculum. It should provide a step-by-step guide on how to create a coaching business model that not only works but is also sustainable in the long run.
This is particularly important for people who are passionate about helping others reach their health goals but struggle when it comes to building and running a successful business. These models should be built on real-world experience and provide the marketing tools needed to jumpstart your career once you graduate.
Coaching is an integral part of the training program. It’s not enough to find solutions to your clients’ issues. You also need the skills to be able to get to the root cause of their challenges and smash through the barriers standing in the way of them reaching their goals.
Expect to learn about the art of coaching, which involves adopting the latest psychology methods to get to the nitty-gritty of how the brain works. This is an important aspect of helping your clients make lasting changes in their lives.
Health and Wellness Training
This part of the program gives you in-depth training on holistic health and wellness, natural health, and nutrition. The “holistic” aspect of coach training programs examines every single facet of an individual’s life that impacts their health.
This means that in addition to improving your client’s food and nutrition habits, you’ll also examine other factors that may be at play like their stress levels, mindset, work-life, relationships, finances, purpose, spirituality, etc. The program should teach you how to look at physical, emotional, and mental factors as a whole to better understand the role that each of them plays in a person’s health and wellbeing.
Take the Leap and Build a Career
As the saying goes, do something that you’re passionate about, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Helping others become the best possible versions of themselves, is a calling driven purely by passion. If you’re one of those people, then it makes sense why you want to get into the health coaching field. Enrolling in a health coach training program is the way to do it.
By the time you’re through with the course, you’ll have all the tools necessary to help people live longer, happier, and more fulfilling lives. The best part about it is – you can start at any time – even right now! Go on… take the leap.
Are you looking to become a health coach but aren't sure whether you can afford it? Check out our blog to find out how much it costs.