How to become a health coach in 2023 - PTP's Guide
How to Become a Health Coach in [year] - PTP's Guide 13

Hello and welcome to our article on how you can become a health coach!

You are going to learn the necessary steps to becoming a health coach, like:

The general steps to enter into the health and fitness industry
The activities that a health coach does every day
Frequently asked questions about health coaching

After this article, you will be able to begin taking the steps required for you to become a wellness coach.

Let’s dive in and look at this job market!

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How to become a health coach

What is a Health Coach?

How to Become a Health Coach in [year] - PTP's Guide 14

Health coaches are becoming a very popular profession in recent years.

These new types of health instructors combine a lot of essential knowledge such as fitness and diet with habit development.

There is a major focus on positive behavior change in this career path.

In this article, I will be explaining what a health coach does and how you can become one.

I will also mention some of the most popular health and wellness coach certifications throughout the article.

The health coach is often considered to be a specialization for certified personal trainers, but it can also be a stand-alone cert.

Basically, a health coach certification gives you all of the lifestyle coaching skills, your CPT cert allows for training clients physically, and the nutrition certification gives scientific coaching skills for the food components of fitness.

Providing a client with these three separate services can really maximize what you offer them and drive results in their lives.

Furthermore, you can quickly earn much more as a personal trainer when stacking these certifications – reports suggest that on average, trainers earn $4,000 more per year per certification.

I will say, purchasing three full certifications gets pricey, so I definitely recommend looking for deals and bundles!

If you end up choosing the ISSA as your health coach certification, I highly recommend looking at the ISSA Elite Trainer Certification Bundle.

The Elite Bundle from ISSA includes the ISSA CPT certification, ISSA nutrition certification, and one more specialization, like this certified health coach.

When it comes to health coaching, ISSA offers the ISSA Certified Health Coach, or CHC, and it is an excellent certification choice for personal trainers to pursue and add to their certs.

For someone that is already certified through ISSA as a CPT, the CHC certification is a no-brainer.

And, while you are at it, might as well maximize value and get three certifications for half their price bundled together.

ISSA Elite Trainer badge

The ISSA Elite Trainer Bundle is an insane deal in fitness, and it’s impossible to find one similar from another organization.

It is tough to pass up any deal on these ISSA programs, so make sure to check out their site often.

Another amazing benefit of ISSA and the Elite Trainer is that you get some of your already required CEUs out of the way, which we will talk abut later in this article.

It is never a bad idea to combine your personal training knowledge with other knowledge in the health industry. If anything it only makes you a more diverse personal trainer.

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All of the best personal training certifications require you to continue educating yourself, and achieving new certifications is a good way to meet this requirement.

For more information on the best CPT programs in the industry, check out my article on the best personal trainer certifications.

Make sure you know how to become a personal trainer as well. It’s similar to being a health coach, but there are notable differences.

Both health coach salary rates and personal trainer salary rates are on a constant rise! The two fields are excellent to get into if you are looking for a solid salary.

Well, what is a Certified Health Coach exactly? Well, another good word for a health coach is a “wellness” coach.

Many people consider health coaches to be the same as nutrition coaches, of which there are many great nutrition coaching programs.

In reality, health coaches may encompass some part of nutrition coaching, but they are not going to cover all of those job aspects.

They cover so many topics about health under a large umbrella. They don’t necessarily completely focus on exercise routines (like personal trainers do), nutrition or diet (like nutritionists do), or the mental aspect of wellness (like therapists do).

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There may also be more specific versions of health and wellness coaching and online health coach jobs like holistic coach certifications and other similar personal health coach specializations.

They take a well-rounded approach by dipping slightly into each of these categories when they help their clients.

It is a very well-rounded approach to wellness and the health coach education for wellness coaching certification or other specializations will show that well-roundedness in exercise science.

They try to find the root of people’s problems and start there to better public health.

They focus on habit formation as well as essential lifestyle changes that individuals need to make to live healthy and happy lives.

The reason why so many people in this world have chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, chronic pain, and chronic diseases is that from a very young age they have had horrible lifestyle habits.

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It is the job of the health coach to help these individuals change their way of thinking and living so that they can fix their problems.

The pharmaceutical industry and prescription drugs are a short-term fix for these people’s chronic conditions. These “magic pills” will only cover up the symptoms but not fix the actual problem.

Health coaches use a holistic approach by getting their clients active, starting to eat healthily, and learning to develop the mental ability to make the right choices.

They do this through helping to change bad habits to better habits such as quitting tobacco, alcohol, weight loss, junk food, and simply living a healthy lifestyle and through health education in coaching sessions. It requires a grand skill set.

Soon, health coaches, personal trainers, and nutritionists will work very closely together for the health of one client! That is a lot of work experience coming together to better the health conditions of people.

Another lesser-known detail about these certifications that are typically pursued to enhance personal training offerings is that the certification may count as cheap continuing education units to help renew your CPT.

It is a combination of benefiting your business in two ways, expanding your offerings, and also helping you to recertify.

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Is a health coach certification the right thing for you?

Often this is a difficult question to ask regarding most certifications in the industry.

In my opinion, if you are already a certified nutritionist and personal trainer, this would be a fantastic addition to your business.

New credentials or certifications always add a fresh new perspective on health and fitness that you can benefit your clients.

Do you consider yourself more of a wellness expert or more of a fitness expert?

Sometimes people get the definitions of these two confused, and it can be difficult to answer.

Personal training can be so much more than performing the exercises.

You need to coach your clients through healthy habits and build the right mindset to get in shape and get healthy.

Often my clients come to me with questions that are not related to exercise because they often see me as a mentor.

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It may even be beneficial to find a full-time health coach near you so that you can talk to them directly about their job and get insight into their everyday life.

In a way, every personal trainer acts as a health coach in some way or another.

I think that most personal trainers would benefit significantly from health coach certifications and a wellness coach certificate. These are interchangeable terms.

The most significant difference is that you will learn how to systematically teach your clients about habit formation and lifestyle changes.

With this system in place, you can be much more useful!

If you have clients that you cannot change their habits they will make very little progress in the gym. That is why they need both to be truly successful!

All the info that you need if you are curious about how to become a health coach!

Now let’s get into the main part of the article where you learn how to become a health coach! From the research I’ve done I have found a few certifications.

Out of all of whom, I could only find one health coach certification that was accredited by the NCCA. If you have read my article on “how to become a personal trainer” you will see all of the steps are very similar.

Let’s jump right into it!

Step 1: Sign up for your health coach certification of choice

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First, there are two ways of getting your health coach certification; it can either be strictly an online health coach certification program, where all your studying and your tests will be done online or you opt for the one-on-one.

Whichever one you can sign up for just be sure that it is accredited and well recognized in the health and fitness industry.

I have been asked which is the best health coach certification available out there but my reply will always be the ones that are NCCA accredited.

That being said, out of all of the certifications available, another favorite of mine is the ACE health coach certification. It is one of many ACE certifications that we review and are familiar with, and it is also top of the line.

ACE offers you two main packages for the health coach training program coursework, and it pairs very well with their ACE CPT.

All of the ACE certifications are excellent options for fitness and wellness professionals to pursue.

I have seen the retest voucher come in handy for people that do not end up passing the test on the first go around.

If you are the type that wants that comfort and less pressure, the AFPA health coach certification and Health Coach Institute are the best for you.

AFPA gives you the choice of writing your exam for a maximum of 28 days. You can write start your exam and pause it to be continued some other time. You have two study options:

  • The $649 study package is a 100% online coaching certification and
  • $799 package for also online and a digital copy of your textbooks

Health Coach Institute health coach program costs $6,450.

Step 2: Study your butt off for the test!

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The next obvious step is to study your butt off for the test! This study process should take approximately six months to absorb all of the information in the manual.

When I was studying for the test, I felt that the “master the manual” book was beneficial in forcing the information to stick in my head.

It all depends on how you like to study and how your brain learns the best. Time management tactics can be good to implement here for proper studying.

Some people can simply read the textbook and memorize everything. Other people need a lot of visual learning tools.

The ACE Academy was also extremely helpful because it gives you access to e-mail chat one-on-one with experts from ACE. Both bundles include the ace Academy.

Step 3: Set a date to take the exam

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You need to make sure you are leaving yourself plenty of study time when you set the dates to take the exam.

You should also have a “day before” and a morning of study session to help solidify any information. Try to start thinking of these things upon enrollment in your chosen course.

What I like to do is go over my notes the night before as I’m lying in bed to go to sleep.

Make sure you either go over the most challenging parts of any critical areas that you have highlighted. You also need to get lots of rest so that you can think straight during the test.

I recommend getting at least eight hours. In the morning you need to re-study these problematic parts that are highlighted as you’re eating breakfast.

Make sure to get a good amount of protein and carbohydrates to fuel your brain.

Once you can pass the exam with the required grade, you are on your way to becoming a health coach.

Make sure to the confident and relaxed. You will do great!

Step 4: Find a place to work as a health coach or have it compliment your personal training business

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Once you are certified as a health coach, you need to find work as one!

If you are already a personal trainer, then you can skip this step because all you need to do is incorporate what you have learned into your work with your clients.

If you are looking for work in your new career, make sure that you build a fantastic resume to hand out to potential employers.

Be confident during your interviews and just be yourself!

When you finally get a job or you decided to be an entrepreneur, endeavor to invest in good health coach software to compliment your work and make you exceptional in the field.

A personal training job interview will be similar to health coaching, so make sure you know how to succeed in these interviews for the heath and fitness industry.

Remember, you will need to aim to motivate your clients in and out of the gym, this is the main goal of health coaches. Make sure you also know some of the best gyms to work at.

Certified Health Coach Salary

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Yes, I know you must be wondering about how much health coaches make.

The health coach business is quite lucrative and can be a good source of income for you once you are certified and have gained the requisite experience.

In the USA presently, a certified health and wellness coach salary can be as much as $65k. In any case, it depends on the state where you are practicing.

It is quite similar to a personal trainer salary or even a nutrition coach salary.

The real salary trick is to combine these certifications and make more money by offering more services to your clientele.

If you hold more than one health and fitness certification, you can definitely make more money and improve the quality of your training results with clients.

There may be some different health coach qualifications for various jobs. I have heard of health coaches earning between 51k on the lower rung of the ladder and as much as 75k.

Your salary may also be changed if you have completed an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree program.

Either of these education programs in the field of health could play a major role in a health coach’s career and lifestyle coach salary.

In other words, it is subjective – but very lucrative as you can see. It all depends on if you have a health coach certification duly accredited by a health coach institute.

Continuing Education Units

Regardless of your fitness and health certification, you are always going to need to keep current with your education by getting Continuing Education Units, or CEUs.

The average organization requires around 20 hours of education every two years. Just about all work at around a 10 hours per year mark.

For recertification of you health coach certification or other certifications(s), you must also pay a fee, typically in the realm of 100$ to keep the certification current.

Specializations can be an easy and relevant way to also earn more money and renew your certification.

For example, if your main certification is personal training, and you get a specialization in health coaching, then you can use this completion of the health coach program to count for your hours.

This is like killing two birds with one stone, as you are adding to your earning potential by expanding your offerings, and also knocking out the continuing education units you would have to do either way.

That is where bundles for programs come in handy for new trainers and coaches, as they allow multiple certifications to be earned which knocks off the initial CEUs required.

Deals like the ISSA Elite Trainer bundle allow someone to earn a CPT, nutritionist, and other specialization like health coaching.

These bundles are at the top of value in the fitness industry and basically mean you would not have to worry about your first years of recertification hours.

ISSA routinely has deals running on the Elite Trainer Program directly on their website!

You should consider checking these promotions from ISSA if you are looking for great deals to strike and start your fitness professional journey.

All in all, make sure you know the CEU requirements for your chosen health coach organization prior to committing.

It is a necessary part of the wonderful profession of fitness and health.

Guide Methodology

For this comparison, I critically looked into the common”how-to’s” for health coaching. I also have experience with all of the top fitness organizations and their health coach certifications.

I used my years of knowledge in the fitness industry, along with the individual certifications, to analyze the certs and judge how a trainer can start their journey to becoming a health coach.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Being educated as a personal trainer as well as a health coach is invaluable to your clients, and you will see their results skyrocket!

Whether you call yourself a health coach or a personal trainer, it doesn’t matter as long as the result for your clients is excellent.

If you are looking for some extra continuing education credits for your personal trainer certification, this would be a fantastic addition to your knowledge arsenal.

I hope you guys liked my article let me know if you have any experience with health coaches or have any other comments.

It might also be beneficial for you to check out personal training marketing ideas, personal training insurance as well as my fantastic workout template for personal use or to use with your clients!

Also if you are not yet certified as a personal trainer make sure to check out some comparison articles such as ACE vs NASM, NASM vs ACSM, and ISSA vs NASM!

Make sure to thoroughly check out ISSA and their offerings, they have some of the greatest deals in fitness. This deal with the ISSA CPT and two more certs is unbelievable and hard to pass up.

Happy wellness coaching!

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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10 thoughts on “How to Become a Health Coach in 2023 – PTP’s Guide”

  1. PTPioneer User

    I foud your website on google while trying to get comparison reviews between NASM Nutrition Specialist certification an ACE Health Coach certification. Your page is great by the way, congratulations.
    I’m a NASM Personal Trainer, AFAA Group Ex Instructor and WEFNA Basic Nutrition and Sports Nutrition Advisor.
    Alhough as a Nutrition Advisor I’m able to coach clients with their diets, I’m not able to provide meal plans which is something my clients ask for. I noticed with NASM Nutrition Specialist certification you get access to client handouts and meal plans. I wonder if with the ACE Health Coach cert I would be able to provide meal plans as well.
    Can you please advise on this?
    Thank you so much for your time!

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Gabriellla,
      Honestly the health coach certification is very broad and covers lots of topics on wellness not just diet in particular like the NASM nutrition specialist certification does. If you want to help your clients with the meal prep I would definitely go with the nutrition specialist certification over the general health coach certification from ACE. I hope this helped

  2. PTPioneer User

    Hello Tyler,
    I would be very interested in starting a career in health coaching in Europe (I am Italian, currently living in the Netherlands).
    I’d like to ask you 2 questions:
    1) Is the ACE valid also in Europe?
    2) My background is in Business and Marketing (bachelor + master degree). I am a fitness, nutrition and personal growth enthusiast but do not have any certification so far. How would you advise to proceed to start my career as health coach from scratch?

    Thank you

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hello Davide,
      it’s great to hear that you want to do health coaching in Europe. Most of my information is tailored towards people working in the United States or even Canada with only a few people in Europe. For people that have specific questions on whether a specific certification is valid in their country or region, I typically recommend that they contact their local health clubs or gymnasiums to see which personal training certifications or healthcare certifications they accept and which ones they prefer. That is the best advice I can give you.

  3. PTPioneer User

    Hi, I know very little about nutrition. I am passionate about health and healthy habits. For beginners the first step would be to take college courses on nutrition then take a course on a health institute To become certified?

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      You definitely do not need to take college courses unless you want to become a registered dietitian. These nutrition certifications that I talked about on my website or geared towards Fitness professionals such as personal trainers.

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