The NASM Certified Wellness Coach (NASM CWC) is an in-depth health coach certification from one of the top fitness certification providers. While the CWC isn’t NBHWC accredited, it does provide a solid option for anyone already certified through NASM who wants to learn more about the art and science of health coaching.

I’ve been a working professional in the fitness and health industry for over 12 years, and I’ve had the opportunity to review most of the certifications out there. After taking the NASM-CWC and using what I’ve learned in coaching sessions, I can give you a clear picture of what this health certification from NASM gives you. 

In this review I discuss the following:

  • Content covered in the NASM Certified Wellness Coach
  • NASM CWC exam difficulty and study materials
  • Who is the NASM Wellness Coach certification meant for?
  • Is the NASM Health Coach worth it?

By the end of this article, you should know whether or not the NASM CWC is the best certification for you right now. 

If you’re choosing a personal training certification for the first time, to take my quiz to help you decide which one!

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What is the NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification?

The NASM Wellness Coach Certification teaches you how to guide your clients through a 5-pillar approach towards holistic health and well-being. This includes mental and emotional coaching, along with proper nutrition and movement. As a health or wellness coach, you can help clients feel better about their self-image, improve habits to make better life decisions and improve overall happiness. 

NASM Certified Wellness Coach

NASM Certified Wellness Coach

  • Exam cost: $2,999
  • Study material cost: Included with exam
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Exam passing score: 70%
  • Exam pass rate: Not known
  • Average completion time: 4-6 weeks

NASM credibility and reputation

NASM is the most recognizable name in fitness. They provide the largest number of fitness training certifications and specialization of any major organization. NASM began over 30 years ago, and they’re still known for their personal training certification. They’ve certified over 1.5 million fitness professionals in that time across the world. 

NASM’s mission is to give fitness professionals the knowledge and tools to be able to transform their clients’ lives for the better. NASM offers partnerships with a variety of worldwide gyms and facilities and a job guarantee with some of their certifications. 

Great for
  • Personal trainers who want to learn wellness coaching

  • NASM fitness professionals who want a good CEU opportunity 
Not Great for
  • People who need a NBHWC-approved health coach course

Is the NASM Wellness Coach Certification worth it?

Yes, the NASM Wellness Coach is worth it for anyone previously certified through NASM who wants to explore health coaching in addition to personal training. 

However, if you’re not a personal trainer and just want to become a health coach, I, personally, wouldn’t pick the NASM-CWC. There are other options out there with NBHWC approval that cost less than NASM.

The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches (NBHWC) is the main accrediting institution when it comes to health coaching. If they approve a course, it means you can use it as a prerequisite to sit for the national board exam. 

NASM hasn’t been approved yet, but their course is still a valid way to learn about health coaching for any fitness professional who isn’t going to be a full-time wellness coach. 

3.5out of 5

Credibility and Reputation3
Study Materials4
Cost/Value3.5
Exam Process5

NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification vs Other Health Coach Certifications

There are countless health coach certifications. Some of the other top choices come from ISSA, ACE, NSHC, Wellcoaches, and Dr. Sears Wellness. Each of these organizations offers unique benefits with their health coach certification. 

The ISSA Health Coach Certification is similar to the NASM-CWC, except it costs $2000 less. 

ISSA also offers some great bundles with multiple certifications with their Elite Trainer package.

Your opportunities always expand as a fitness professional when you get more credentials, which is why I always recommend that when you start training you get a nutrition certification along with your CPT. Typically, this gets expensive, but ISSA gives you three certifications for the price of one, which makes it a no-brainer. Double check the website, because prices can shift from month to month. 

ACE has two health coach certifications. One option is less comprehensive (and less pricey) and more geared towards personal trainers. The other, the ACE Health Coach Advanced Training Program, is similarly priced to NASM, but it is a NBHWC-approved program. 

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The National Society of Health Coaches has a less expensive program that is reasonably priced, but you need to be a qualified medical professional to receive the certification. So, this option could be good for nurses, or anyone else in the medical field who wants to be a health coach. 

The others, Wellcoaches School of Coaching and Dr. Sears Wellness, both offer excellent NBHWC approved health coach programs which are also expensive, but well regarded.

Who is NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification meant for?

The NASM CWC is meant to help individuals learn how to coach someone towards better wellness, both physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

This is a great course for personal trainers who want to take more of a hands-on approach to coaching their clients in the wellness sphere. I wouldn’t recommend this certification for people who just want to be health coaches or someone who needs a NBHWC approved program. 

NASM Wellness Coach Certification Cost

The NASM Wellness Coach costs $2,999 with the current sales price. You can pay upfront or with payments of $165 per month. This price is on par with other health coach certifications; however, ACE and ISSA are both cheaper than this. The payment plan helps, but three thousand dollars is still more than three times the price of most personal training certifications. 

NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification review – content coverage

Section 1: Introduction to Certified Wellness Coach

Here, NASM teaches the proper scope of practice for a health coach as well as how to evaluate information sources for credibility, reliability, and validity, so that you can decide if you want to use them with clients.

Part of what health coaches do is interpreting new studies and data for misinformation, however, wellness and health coaches are not licensed therapists or dietitians. You need to know when to refer clients to a qualified medical professional. 

The next chapter discusses how to use behavior modification strategies as part of wellness coaching.

You learn proper communication skills and how to build rapport with a client. The relationships you build with your clients sometimes last years and years, so make sure to learn how to nurture those bonds. 

Section 2: Movement

The next section of NASM’s CWC curriculum begins with methods to assess your client’s past history with movement from a wellness perspective.

Everyone has a different relationship with exercise, and you need to figure out how your client views movement innately in order to help them succeed. 

Then NASM reviews the benefits of exercise and its role in supporting clients’ needs and goals. Knowing these benefits can encourage clients to embrace exercise as part of their lifestyle.

There’s a chapter on how to manage recovery. This material will be essential for those people you work with who tend to overdo things and do not pay attention to the need for rest and balance in life. Without time for rest and regeneration, our bodies and minds do not have the support to maintain peak performance. 

The Certified Wellness Coach certification addresses the benefits of physical activity on mental and emotional health. 

Finally, NASM covers topics like barriers to exercise and how to deal with any that might interfere with a movement program. This often happens when people are just embarking on a new routine. If you can fix these obstacles before they pop up, you can conquer them easily. 

Section 3: Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

You get an introduction to brain and psychological wellness, how the brain processes emotion and some of the scientific physical processes that happen in the body when regulating emotion. 

NASM covers the many types of stress and how your body and brain deal with stressors. 

Then NASM teaches about memory and learning processing and how pain and stress influence these processes.

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There’s a chapter on sleep which covers the different sleep stages and what factors impair or promote good sleep. The importance of sleep on mental health cannot be understated in my opinion. If a person isn’t getting enough sleep, fixing that can be one of the ways you help them improve their mental outlook. 

The NASM Certified Wellness Coach discusses recovery psychology and the relationship between social interaction and your brain. You learn how we process trust, empathy, prejudice, and attachment. Each of these components has an impact on our behaviors and why we make the choices we make. 

Then you learn mindset and mindfulness techniques to improve brain function and stress reduction. 

Section 4: Nutrition

The CWC discusses the difference between eating for health versus weight loss or performance.

You learn energy balance, how alcohol influences health and general recommendations for macronutrients and micronutrients.

You cannot go outside your scope of practice, but knowing the different RDA standards can assist in your coaching business. 

NASM details information about diet culture, and how our circumstances influence our dietary eating patterns. 

Then the Certified Wellness Coach covers how to spot fad diets, which supplements could be ineffective or even harmful and how to discuss this with clients. 

Then you get information on how diet influences our disease risk, the microbiome of the body and overall inflammation.

There’s a chapter on how diet affects satiety and one on fasting protocols or different meal timing strategies to use.   

Section 5: Coaching

In Section 5 of the CWC textbook, you learn the key characteristics of effective coaching, how to use self-efficacy. NASM covers shame resilience theory.

You explore how to effectively set goals and how behavior change works. 

Then you get an understanding of how to evaluate your own personal biases and how to look for mentorship for guidance. 

NASM discusses managing coaching sessions and creating a wellness plan for someone. 

NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification Exam Prep and Study Materials

Each chapter has high quality videos that discuss the content, and then you get knowledge checks after each of them. The knowledge checks quiz you on what you’ve learned in each chapter. You also have access to NASM’s forums and plenty of resources like handouts, forms, and checklists to use in your practice. The NASM study content is also available in audio and text formats, which supports multiple learning styles. 

Most of NASM’s programs create a good user experience and the Certified Wellness Coach is no exception. You don’t get quite as much study material on the student portal as you do with the CPT, but it’s enough to get by given the free exam retakes.

NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification Requirements

NASM recommends that you have a previous fitness credential before taking the Certified Wellness Coach Certification; however, it is not required. 

NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification Salary

Health and wellness coaches make an average of $56,000 per year, according to Glassdoor. In my experience, if you combine your health coach salary with nutrition or personal training, you can make even more income. Exercise professionals who are experts in multiple fields tend to attract more employment opportunities because they can serve more clients and find their niche in the fitness industry.  

NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification Final Exam

The final exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, which you can take from your home computer. You have a 2-hour time limit, and you must score 70% or higher to pass. You have 3 total test attempts, but you can purchase additional retests if needed from NASM member services. 

NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification Continuing Education & Recertification

CWC renewal guidelines are similar to the NASM certificate. Credential holders must submit 1.9 CEUs every two years to renew your NASM CWC certification. Unlike other NASM certs, you don’t need to submit a renewal application fee, but you are still responsible for any late fees. 

Keep in mind the course will also give you 1.9 continuing education units when you take it the first time, which could be used to help renew your NASM CPT or other NASM certification. 

Other NASM Offerings

NASM has a range of other courses you can take which will add credentials to your name and help you renew your other certifications upon completion, including: 

Some of these specializations are kind of like extension courses for your CPT, while others are full-fledged certifications. Either way, you can use them to your advantage by learning more about the areas you need to know to create a well-rounded training business on your career journey.

NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification Overall Rating

NASM Certified Wellness Coach
NASM Certified Wellness Coach Review 2

Read my complete breakdown of the NASM Wellness Coach Certification. Find out if the NASM Certified Wellness Coach is the right move for your career.

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 2,999

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.5

Overall, the NASM Certified Wellness Coach gets a 3.5 out of 5. It’s a promising newer certification from NASM that offers a good look at the field of wellness coaching. I think many fitness professionals can have great success with this certification. 

If NASM can get the course accredited in the future, that will sweeten the deal and perhaps justify the high price tag. If you want to become a health coach, make sure to check the particular requirements of the place you want to work. Some employers require a certain qualification while others are less stringent. 

Good luck with your health coach career and the path to success!

NASM Certified Wellness Coach Certification FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How long does it take to become a NASM Certified Wellness Coach?

Most people should take 4-6 to finish the NASM CWC certification; however, you have a full year from the date of purchase to finish the program. This means you can study at your own pace. 

References

  1. glassdoor.com/Salaries/wellness-coach-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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