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Your 5 Step Guide on How to Become a Health Coach

by: Sarah Appleby
Last Updated: October 27, 2022

Did you know that you’re only five steps away from becoming a health coach?

With 133 million Americans suffering from preventive chronic metabolic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, health coaches are in demand more than ever before.

Health coaches play an important role in the integrative healthcare model, and they work with allied healthcare professionals to combat chronic disease and illness. You can find health and wellness coaches in an array of different settings including:

  • Doctor’s Offices
  • Corporate Wellness Programs
  • Health Clubs and Gyms
  • Private Practice
  • Wellness Programs Offered by Health Insurance Companies

It’s safe to say that health coaching is here to stay.

Carve Your Own Path and Become a Health Coach
Carve Your Own Path and Become a Health Coach

If you’re tired of your current 9-5 desk job and you love to inspire people, then becoming a health coach could be the right fit for you.

But first, let’s ask the question…

What is a Health Coach?

A health coach is a wellness expert that helps their clients bring about healthy lifestyle change.

Health coaches offer more than just nutrition coaching. Rather, they take a holistic health approach when working with clients. They will consider several key lifestyle factors that affect the health and well-being of an individual and see whether any of these areas can be improved or modified for optimal health.

These factors may include:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Play

What Does a Health Coach Do?

A health coach works alongside their clients to help them put in place tangible lifestyle change and improve their well-being. They coach clients towards behavior change using an array of techniques, including:

  • Active listening
  • Goal setting
  • Accountability coaching
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Time management strategies

Health coaches do not diagnose, prescribe or treat their clients. Instead, they put in place actionable steps to help their clients achieve their health goals and lead happier lives.

Who Can Become a Health Coach?


If you’re passionate about sharing your knowledge on health and wellness, and you feel driven to empower others to lead healthier lives, then health coaching could be a fantastic career for you.

Many health coaching certification programs don’t require prerequisites to enroll. However, it’s not uncommon for health coaches to hold extra credentials in a related field.

Many health and wellness coaches come from medical, wellness or fitness backgrounds including:

  • Nurses
  • Personal Trainers and Fitness Coaches
  • Physical Therapists
  • Life Coaches
  • Chiropractors
  • Registered Dietitians
  • Osteopaths

It’s now time to outline the five steps you can take towards pursing a rewarding career as a health coach.

1. Set Your Goals

Becoming a health coach looks different for everyone.

Your first step to towards becoming a health coach is to ask yourself what health coaching looks like to you?

  • Do you see yourself running your own health coaching business either online or in-person?
  • Would you prefer working with clients one-on-one or in groups?
  • Do you feel excited about hosting your own virtual health and wellness summit?
  • Are you passionate about hosting your own podcast (like PHCI grad Anya Perry)?
  • Do you love the idea of running your own paradise health retreat (like PHCI alum Ramiro Gallardo)?

Now is the time to dream big and identify the entrepreneurial steps you need to take to get you there, using SMART goal setting.

2. Enroll in a Course

Your second step towards becoming a health coach is to find a reputable health coaching program and become a certified health coach.

Do your research and choose a certified health coaching program that works best with you.

Here are four non-negotiables all quality health coaching programs must have:

  1. In-depth Education in Nutritional Science
  2. Student and Graduate Support
  3. Robust Education in the Art of Coaching
  4. A Comprehensive Foundation in Business and Marketing

Another factor to consider is whether a health coaching course is accredited by a third-party organization such as the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). Sitting the NBHWC certification exam can open up new job opportunities in the health and wellness industry and is often looked open favorably by potential employers.

Extra Questions to Consider When Choosing a Health Coaching Program

What Is The Time Frame of Your Chosen Health Coaching Course?

Most health coach certification courses range from 3 months – 24 months. You will need to decide on what time frame works best for you.

How Is the Coursework Presented?

Is it 100% online? Many online courses provide a mix of video lectures, webinars, ebooks and exams. Some courses allow you to study at your own pace, whilst others may have have time-based commitments.

What Area of Health and Wellness Are You Most Passionate About?

Are you passionate about a specific aspect of health and wellness? If so, it’s important to choose a course that reflects this.

For example, if your own health journey has been influenced by the ancestral lifestyle principles then the Primal Health Coach Institute’s program would be an fantastic course for you, as it offers an in-depth and up-to-date ancestral health-aligned curriculum.

Do You Need a Degree to Enroll into a Health Coaching Program?

It depends. Do your research as some health coaching programs may require a bachelor’s degree to enroll.

There are no prerequisites to enroll in the Primal Health Coach Institute (PHCI) program. PHCI graduates can further their education through enrollment into the PHCI advanced Level 2 Certification Course. Graduates from the PHCI advanced Level 2 Certification Course will become NBHWC certified.

3. Start Coaching

Whether your still studying or you’re a fresh graduate. It’s time to put your newly acquired knowledge into action and start coaching.

Practise is the BEST way to build your confidence and develop your coaching craft. Many schools offer opportunities to coach fellow students or graduates from your program. You can also polish up your coaching skills on your family and friends. Don’t let imposter syndrome get the better of you.

The more coaching hours you do, the more confident you’ll feel when you launch your health coaching business. Familiarize yourself with a variety of coaching formats – from in-person coaching, to video coaching sessions. It’s important to try them all.

4. Develop Your Business Plan

It’s time to revisit your original goals from Step 1 and use them to build your ultimate health coaching business plan.

Here are five tasks you will need to consider when developing your business plan:

1. Identify Your Ideal Client

You will make the greatest impact as a health coach if you clearly identify who your target audience is. Or in other words, who is your ideal client. By defining your ideal client, you can identify how you can best help them.

Be specific with this. For example, your ideal client could be a time poor working mom with school aged kids.

Once you’ve identify who you are targeting, you can identify what health coaching product will appeal to them the most. If we continue with our example of the time poor working mom, your market research could reveal that your ideal client would love an online health coaching program that they can slot into their busy schedule.

2. Create an Irresistible Marketing Plan

You’ve identified your ideal client, and you have a product that will appeal to them. It’s now time to develop a marketing strategy that will be irresistible to your target audience. This is known as niche marketing. Your marketing strategy will include everything from your business name, to the colors in your logo, to the language you use in your social media content. Your goal is to attract the clients you would like to work with.

3. Name Your Business

Your health coaching business name should reflect what your business stands for. Once you’ve found the business name you love, it’s important to make sure no-one else is using it and get it registered. Your state’s Department of Revenue is a good place to start. You may want to trademark your business name for a small fee. This will legally prevent others from using it.

4. Develop Your Website

Building your own business website is pretty straight forward these days, but is can also be time consuming. Depending on your skillset, this may be a task to outsource to a freelance website developer (you can find more information on this in the next step).

5. Outsource Tasks

You’ll quickly realize that there’s so much more to running your own health coaching business than coaching your clients. There’s bookkeeping, website development, generating content for your social media posts and analyzing metrics to optimize your marketing content. The list goes on.

Investing in a Virtual Assistant (VA) or outsourcing to a freelancer from a site such as Freeup, will give you more time to focus on the tasks you do best. Learn more about outsourcing in this episode of Health Coach Radio.

5. Go For It

By this point, you have your health coaching certification, you’re armed with wellness knowledge and you have the coaching skills to help your clients achieve sustainable lifestyle change.

You have become a health coach, and you’re now an expert in your niche field of health and wellness.

So what’s next?

It’s time to start your health coaching business!

Maybe your plan is to further your education and enroll is another course? Or maybe you want to modify and expand on the goals outlined in your business plan?

This is your health coaching career, and you get to decide what to do next.

Health Coach Salary

As an aspiring health coach, you may be wondering what the earning potential is for a health and wellness coach?

The salary of a health coach will depend on factors such as education, certifications and years of experience.

It was recently reported that the annual average salary for a health and wellness coach in the United States is $61,340, with the typical range falling between $50,000 and $70,000 a year.

To recap, here are the five steps it takes to become a health coach:

  1. Set Your Goals
  2. Enroll in a Course
  3. Start Coaching
  4. Develop Your Business Plan
  5. Go For It

It’s time for you to start your journey towards making a living from what your feel most passionate about. It’s time for you to become a health coach!

More Health Coaching Resources

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