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Health Coaching State of the Industry 2021: Growth, Trends, and Infographic

by: Marisa Moon
Published: October 5, 2021
Updated: June 23, 2022
Health Coaching Infographic
Health coaching trends, statistics, career paths, infographic

Health coaching is taking the health and wellness industry by storm. In previous articles, we explored what the science says about accountability in coaching, and we’ve shared news roundups of the top media articles that support this widespread advancement.

Today we’re sharing a health coaching state-of-the-industry compilation to demonstrate where health coaches are making their mark and where this field is headed.

Get ready to explore the impact we’re making across the following categories, and help us spread the word by sharing this exciting report!


  • The Growing Demand
  • Making an Impact
  • Career Paths and Earning Potential
  • Industry Milestones
  • Trends in Health Coaching

The Growing Demand

  • The Health and Wellness industry is a $4.2 trillion dollar market that is routinely ranked among the top industries to build a start-up business because of its boundless expectancy for growth (Global Wellness Institute).
  • Health Coaching has emerged as a $7 billion service industry according to the US Health Coaching Market Report in January 2021 (Marketdata LLC).
  • Corporate Wellness is projected to reach a global market value of $84.5 billion USD by 2027 (Acumen Research and Consulting). As this market grows, so will the number of job openings for health and wellness coaches.
  • “In a global perspective, healthcare costs associated with treating obesity, autoimmunity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions are projected to hit $47 trillion by 2030. It’s clear: we need Health Coaches now more than ever” (YourCoach).
  • The current shortage of primary care doctors is expected to get worse by 2025…we would need an additional 50,000 primary care physicians to accommodate population growth, aging population, and insurance expansion (Annals of Family Medicine).

“[Because of the shortage] We want to experiment with integrating Health Coaching and wearable devices into our traditional primary care workflows.” – Daniel Croymans, Medical Director of Quality and Primary Care Physician, UCLA Health (YourCoach)

  • Over 100 clinical trials featuring health coaches were completed in the U.S. in the year 2019 alone (YourCoach).
  • The chronic disease epidemic may result in an estimated cumulative loss of $47 trillion to the global economy by 2030 “if things remain status quo.”
  • Google Trends shows the following top 3 “health coach”-related search queries that are globally on the rise:
    1. Health Coach UK (up 250% since January 2021)
    2. Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (up 140% since Jan ’21)
    3. Primal Health Coach (up 120% since Jan ’21)
  • “Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing regional market from 2019 to 2026. Technological advancements and rising disposable income levels in developing countries, such as China and India, are likely to contribute to market growth” (Vision Research Reports).

Making an Impact

  • Patients aided by health coaches saved $412 per month according to research by the University of Southern Maine in Portland.
  • A clinical trial at Louisiana State University examined the effects of health coaching on obese patients, finding that those assigned to work with a health coach showed “decreased blood sugar levels and improvements in cholesterol as well as cardiometabolic risk scores.”
  • In a cluster-randomized trial, primary care clinics in Louisiana were randomly allocated to either usual care or an intervention group that received 24 months of a high-intensity, lifestyle-based intervention/weight-loss program delivered by clinical health coaches. 800 participants with obesity between the ages of 20 and 75 were enrolled. Conclusion? Properly trained health coaches helped the intervention group produce clinically relevant improvements in cardiometabolic health.
  • A systematic meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials showed that health coaching has a significant positive effect on health-related quality of life (an individual’s or a group’s perceived physical and mental health over time) and leads to a significant reduction in hospital admissions related to chronic lung disease (COPD).

Career Paths for Health Coaches

The 3 most common types of career paths for health coaches:

  1. Self-Employment or Entrepreneurship: Virtual, phone, or in-person coaching with individuals, groups, or family/couples; creating and delivering programs/workshops, educational content, online courses; offering a community for members via paid subscription.
  2. Corporate Wellness: Building a corporate wellness program and a team of coaches, or gaining employment under a healthcare or consulting organization that specializes in corporate wellness.
  3. Clinical Employment: Medical or holistic private practices, or specialty services like pain rehab, diabetes, weight loss, etc.

Note: most coaches start with a hybrid path doing some self-employed work and some part-time clinical work or employment in the industry.

More career paths for health coaches:

  • Health Insurance Companies
  • Health Coaching Schools: teaching, blogging, customer relations, marketing, etc.
  • Clinician Referrals: clients referred to coach from physicians, dentists, chiropractors, dietitians, physical therapists, psychotherapists, acupuncturists, etc.
  • Local Gyms and Niche Athletic Centers: referrals, workshops, or employment
  • Municipal/Community Centers: workshops and employment
  • Health Food Stores: referrals, workshops, recipe development, food demos, employment
  • Physical Therapy and Pain Rehab Clinics
  • Day Spas: e.g. centers for massage, esthetics, Ayurveda
  • Affiliate, Blogging, or Ambassador work for health-aligned brands and services
  • Wellness Centers: e.g. centers for yoga, meditation, detox, mental health, cryotherapy, float tanks
  • Wellness Retreats: hosting or participating in retreat-themed vacations. The number of people traveling to retreat centers or wellness-themed vacations is growing fastest among all tourism categories.

“The global Wellness Tourism market size was valued at US$ 683.5 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 7.10% during forecast period 2021 to 2028….The global Wellness Tourism market size is expected to be worth around US$ 1.10 trillion by 2028, according to a new report by Vision Research Reports.”

  • Addiction and Substance Abuse Centers
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Schools and Universities: health education and reform initiatives
  • Strategic Collaboration with complementary coaches/businesses
  • Health and Wellness Mobile Apps, direct-to-consumer technology/software, and digital therapeutics

Health Coach Earning Potential

  • The estimated 128,000 health coaches in the U.S. earn an average yearly salary of $55,220 (MarketResearch.com)
  • The average amount of time it takes for health coaches to reach a full-time income is 3 years for newly certified coaches and 2 years for certified coaches who have industry-relevant prior experience.

Industry Milestones

Mainstream Media Recognition for Health Coaching

“If and when the Biden administration tackles the astronomical costs of American health care, it would do well to find ways to make health coaches accessible to more people…and insurers would be wise to include health coaching among the services offered.”

  • The Washington Post, December 22, 2020, Health and wellness coaches are fairly new. Here’s what you need to know about them.
  • The American Medical Association (AMA) approved a new Category III CPT code (for medical billing submitted through insurance carriers) for health coaching services delivered by board-certified health coaches. NBHWC-certified coaches are now recognized as a member of the health care team responsible for health behavior change, reporting, and eventually billing for coaching services. “Full Category 1 codes are coming in about two years, at which time the market should post much stronger growth.”
  • Cigna announced that they’re the first national plan to reimburse for behavioral health coaching, a new covered benefit now available to 14M members, thanks to Ginger—a smartphone app offering confidential, around-the-clock emotional support and guided self-care, coaches, therapy, education, and more.

Trends in Health Coaching

  • National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches (NBC-HWC)

As of July 2021, there are over 5,000 National Board Certified Health and Wellness coaches and 80+ NBHWC approved training programs.

  • Collaborative Care Models

Large healthcare organizations incorporating health and wellness coaches:

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) launched a partnership with ManyHopes.org, and they launched the Ignite Initiative for pro-bono coaching and global social impact.

  • Health Coaching in Technology

Health Coaches are being integrated into consumer health apps:

    • Virta Health
    • Life Apps: Ascent, Fasting Tracker, Extend
    • Noom
    • Vida Health
    • Glycoleap
    • Lose It
    • Mint Health Coach
    • My Diet Coach
    • MindBody
    • MyFitnessPal
    • Roundglass Obino
    • Sanitas Health Coach
    • Lark
    • Livongo
    • Well-Built Life
    • OneDrop

Apple’s recent patent shows that they’re testing the incorporation of health coaches in their new Health+ subscription for iOS devices.

  • Mental Health Coaching

    Worldwide Google Trends reports that “mental health coach” is in the top 4 global search queries related to “health coach.”

  • Wellness Coaching

  • Coach-Led Communities and Virtual Memberships

  • SMS Text-Based Messaging and Marketing

  • Wellness Retreats

  • Trends in Niche Specialty Coaching:

    • Autoimmune Diseases
    • Behavior Change Specialists
    • Cancer Resilience Coaching
    • Coaching for Kids or Teens
    • Coaching for special diets like Vegan, Paleo, Keto, Carnivore
    • Diabetes Management/Prevention
    • Disordered Eating
    • Executive or Celebrity Health Coaching
    • Fitness and Mobility Coaching
    • Food Intolerances and Sensitivities
    • Functional Medicine/Nutrition Coach
    • Healthy Habits Coaching
    • Hormonal Health and Menopause Coaching
    • IBS and Gut Health
    • Longevity and Healthy Aging
    • Mental Health and Mindset Coaching
    • Mindfulness and Meditation Coaching
    • Other Disease-Specific Coaching (e.g. heart disease, lyme disease, etc.)
    • Pain Management Coaching
    • Performance Coaching (for athletes)
    • Primal Health Coach
    • Self Optimization and Biohacking
    • Sleep Coach
    • Stress Management Coaching
    • Substance Abuse Health Coaching
    • Women’s Health or Men’s Health

Help us spread the word by sharing out the infographic at the top of this article by linking back to primalhealthcoach.com/trends.

With an infinite range of possibilities and applications for certified health and wellness coaches, it’s an exciting time to be a part of this booming field. Which avenue are you most inspired to explore? 

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

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