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The 6 Best Health Coach Certification Programs of 2024

by: Sarah Appleby
Published: January 23, 2024
Updated: February 8, 2024

Deciding on the best health coach certification program to enrol in can be tricky. Especially when there are a growing number of online courses available, all claiming to be the best health and wellness program for you.

Which of these courses is the best health coach certification for you?
Which of these courses is the best health coach certification for you?

The world is in desperate need of health coaches. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 6 in 10 U.S. adults have at least one chronic disease, and a worrying 4 in 10 have at least two chronic illnesses.

This scary rise in chronic metabolic disease is largely due to two factors:

  • Increased consumption of high calorie-low fiber fast food
  • Decreased physical activity due to increased sedentary leisure time activities

The good news is that most of these chronic diseases are preventable through lifestyle and nutrition changes, and your first step towards making an impact is to enroll in a health coach certification program.

In this post we’ve shortlisted the best health coach certification programs for you to consider, so you can select the course that fits your budget, wellness interests, qualifications, and time restraints.

What Is a Health Coach Certification?

A health coach certification is earned upon completion of a health coach program. Health coach certification programs are offered through privately-run health coaching schools, with most courses offering either fully online or partial online learning options.

Each health coach certification program has their unique specialization. Some courses focus on mental health, whilst others deep dive into holistic nutrition. In order to get the most out of your study, it’s important to research and choose the program that best suits your goals, and health interests.

The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC)-board certification, is the gold standard accreditation in the world of health coaching. In order to achieve this, you must first graduate from an NBHWC-approved program, and then sit and pass the NBC-HWC exam.

Selection Criteria

To help you choose which health coach certification program is best for you, we’ve created a shortlist of our favorite health coach courses for you to consider, using the following criteria:

  • Course features: What makes a course stand out amongst other similar courses?
  • Cost of the program: How much does it cost to enroll into the course?
  • Duration of course: How long will the course take to complete?
  • Prerequisites: Do you require any qualifications or work experience before enrollment?
  • Is the course NBHWC-approved?
  • What is offered: What kind of student support is offered? How much real-time teaching is provided? Is the curriculum regularly updated?
  • Job outlook: Do graduates have a clear job path after course completion?

The 6 Best Health Coach Certification Programs of 2024

Here’s our shortlist of the very best health coach certification programs of 2024:

1. Best Overall Health Coach Certification Program

Overview:

  • PHCI is the world’s leading ancestral health coaching school
  • Flexible online learning
  • Offers specialist certifications in niche areas including Human Intestinal Microbiome in Health and Disease, Function Therapeutic Diet, and Applied Ketogenic Diet Specialist
  • NBHWC-approved program
  • Awarded Forbes’s Best Comprehensive Design in 2023 and was the only school on the Forbes Health list to be awarded 5 stars

Highlights:

  • Format: Fully online
  • NBHWC-approved program
  • Comprehensive business and marketing curriculum
  • Accredited by a variety of other national and global bodies
  • No prerequisites
  • Lifetime access to the PHCI Learning Center
  • Duration: Master Coach Certification includes 12 weeks of live training
  • Price: from $4,495

Pros:

  • NBHWC-approved program
  • No prerequisites
  • Curriculum includes in-depth business training

Cons:

  • Price is higher than other courses

Who Should Enroll in This Course? 

  • This course suits any health coach looking for a science-backed curriculum
  • The business education component is helpful for health coaches wanting to set up their own private practice

Job Outlook:

  • Graduates of the PHCI Master Coach certification are eligible to sit the NBC-HWC exam
  • Graduates will find job opportunities in a variety of areas including doctor’s offices, hospitals, gyms/leisure centers, and in private practice

2. Best Health Coach Certification Program for Nurses

National Society for Health Coaches Program

Overview:

  • Developed by clinicians for clinicians and allied healthcare providers
  • Delivers evidence-based health coaching curriculum
  • Self-paced with a minimum of 85+ hours of self-study
  • Learn motivational interviewing, active listening, positive psychology, and behavior change readiness cues
  • Fully online

Highlights:

  • Designed specifically for licensed health practitioners such as nurses and physicians
  • Self-paced with a recommendation of 85+ hours of self-directed learning
  • Duration: Must attempt the exam within 12 months to avoid additional costs
  • Price: $875

Pros:

  • Affordable price with pay later options
  • Self-paced
  • Developed by clinicians

Cons:

  • You must be a licensed clinician to enroll into the Certified Health Coach (CHC) program (non-licensed students can enroll in the Certificate of Completion stream)
  • Course is not NBHWC-approved

Who should enroll is this course? 

  • This course is best suited to licensed nurses who want to improve their behavior change, health habit formation and positive psychology knowledge and skills
  • The affordability of this course is appealing for those on a tight budget

Job Outlook:

  • The National Society for Health Coaches Program is a good choice for nurses and other licensed healthcare providers who already have a medical background
  • There is a growing number of health coach job ads targeting nurses with a health coaching credential, so the job outlook is promising

3. Best University-Based Health Coach Certification Program

Duke Health & Well-Being Coach Training Program

Overview:

  • The Duke Health & Well-Being Coaching Training Program is designed for health professionals with a Bachelor’s degree (or higher) or at least 3-years of work experience in the medical or allied health field
  • Curriculum focuses on health behavior and habit formation
  • Offered either fully online or in a hybrid online/in-person format
  • NBHWC-approved program

Highlights:

  • Designed as a post-graduate certification program
  • NBHWC-approved program
  • Duration: 9 months
  • Format: Tuition is offered either fully online or as a hybrid of online and in-person
  • Price: $5,500

Pros:

  • NBHWC-approved program
  • Includes live one-on-one video sessions with a mentor
  • The Duke name holds weight and prestige

Cons:

  • Not self-paced
  • Must hold a Bachelor’s degree or have a minimum of three-years experience working in a medical or healthcare field.
  • The most expensive course on our shortlist

Who Should Enroll in This Course?

  • This course is best suited for health professionals such as a physicians, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists or allied health professionals (registered dietitians or exercise physiologists) looking to upskill in the area of health behavior and overall health and well-being

Job Outlook:

  • There’s growing demand for healthcare practitioners with health coaching credentials
  • Graduates from the Duke Health & Well-Being Coaching Training Program will find jobs in doctor’s offices, hospitals, allied health practices, gyms, corporate wellness and in private practice
  • After completion of this course, graduates are eligible to sit the NBC-HWC exam, which will open further job opportunities

4. Best Post-Graduate Health Coach Certification Program

Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach Training Program

Overview:

  • The Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach Training Program is designed for post-graduates with either a Bachelor’s degree, or an Associate’s degree with a current health-related license (such as a nurse, respiratory therapist or dentist hygienist)
  • The teaching program blends a mix of evidence-based skills with mentor coaching
  • NBHWC-approved program

Highlights:

  • This course is grounded in established research and theory of behavior change
  • All faculty are clinical, scientific and practicing wellness coaches, based in the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN
  • Format: Fully online
  • Duration: 12-weeks
  • Price: $4,900
  • NBHWC-approved program

Pros:

  • Faculty are highly skilled and experienced health coaches
  • NBHWC-approved program
  • Immersive program offering regular, direct interaction with faculty and peers

Cons:

  • One of the more expensive courses
  • Only offered as a post-graduate program

Who Should Enroll in This Course?

  • The Mayo Clinic Wellness Training Program is suitable for healthcare workers looking for an immersive post-graduate wellness coach program.

Job Outlook:

  • Graduates from this program will have a very promising job outlook
  • After completion of this course, graduates are eligible to sit the NBC-HWC exam, which will open further job opportunities
  • Graduates are likely to find work in the medical setting, in doctor’s offices, in corporate wellness, in allied-health care or in private practice

5. Best Health Coach Certification Program for Personal Trainers

National Academy of Sports Medicine – NASM Wellness Coach

Overview:

  • Designed for personal trainers and fitness professionals in pursuit of wellness through movement, mental and emotional well-being, nutrition and coaching
  • Course offers peer-reviewed content on health psychology, nutrition, movement, positive psychology, sleep, and stress
  • Tuition is offered fully online and is self-paced

Highlights:

  • Price: $2,999
  • Duration: Self-paced, but can be completed in 4-6 weeks
  • Format: Fully online
  • Access to a coach’s toolkit with forms and templates to help new coaches perform client intake, conduct session and manage the client:coach relationship

Pros:

  • Self-paced and can completed in 4-6 weeks
  • There are no prerequisites, but a fitness credential is recommended and you must be at least over 18 years old and hold a high school diploma or equivalent
  • 100% online

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive compared to similar courses
  • Not NBHWC-approved

Who Should Enroll in This Course?

  • The NASM Wellness Coach program is designed for fitness professionals such as certified personal trainers, who have experience and knowledge in moving well and active living.
  • This course focuses on the psychology of coaching and behavioral change.

Job Outlook:

  • The NASM Wellness coach program will complement another qualification in the fitness industry and has been designed to do this
  • Graduates from this course will be well suited to work in health and fitness centers, liesure centers, and wellness clinics

6. Best Most Affordable Health Coach Certification Program

American Council on Exercise (ACE) Health Coach Program

Overview:

  • The American Council on Exercise (ACE) offers three tiers of their health coach study program:
    • Basic ($850) – completely digital
    • Plus ($990)- Access to your own hardcopy and audio version of study material
    • Advantage ($1495) – Access to your own hardcopy and audio version of study material, and you will have access to a real-time virtual classroom, led by an experienced ACE health coach
  • Enrollment into any of the above mentioned programs will give you access to the ACE University online learning platform

Highlights:

  • Format: Fully online
  • Duration: 16 week program
  • Price (Basic): $850
  • Flexible course options depending on your budget

Pros:

Cons:

  • Not NBHWC-approved

Who Should Enroll in This Course?

  • The basic ACE Health Coach Program is a great option for health coaches with no experience or qualifications as it is affordable and comprehensive
  • This course is not NBHWC-approved, so graduates are not eligible to sit the NBC-HWC exam

Job Outlook:

  • The ACE certification is a great option for health coaches who are on a tight budget.
  • The job outlook is promising for graduates who can find work in a gym/healthclub, in healthcare/hospital, in public health organizations, major corporations, as a virtual wellness coach, a nutrition coach or behvavior health care manager

Average Salary of a Certified Health Coach

According to Indeed as of January 2024, the average health coach salary in the United States ranges from $21,206 to $89,547 per year. Factors that influence a health coaches salary include:

  • Years of experience
  • Which city you live in
  • Your skills and qualifications

Summary

To recap, the 6 best health coach certification programs are:

Ready to start your health coach journey? Enroll today.

Now tell us what you think! Leave a comment below to start or join the discussion...

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