Hey everyone, and welcome to PT Pioneer. 

If this is your first time here, you’ve gained access to the most comprehensive resource base for career and academic guidance in the health and fitness industry.

This article will guide you on How To Become A Wellness Coach.

To provide you with a well-rounded insight, I will be taking a look at the following:

  • What is wellness coaching
  • How to Become a Health and Wellness Instructor
  • Certifications and qualifications
  • The job description of a wellness professional
  • The average income you can expect

I also highly recommend that you take the quiz and find out which wellness coach certification is best for your career goals.

What wellness coach certification is right for you?

We developed this critical quiz to help you find the best certification for you and your goals.

I’ve designed it to help you discover which qualification or certification best suits your career goals.

So without further ado, let’s get right into it.

How To Become A Wellness Coach

What is Wellness Coaching?

Unlike personal training, wellness coaching provides advice, recommendations, and guidance toward healthier lifestyle choices.

A wellness coach helps clients construct a personalized roadmap toward healthier habits.

A personal trainer dictates methodologies and protocols for a client to achieve desired goals.

In that sense, a personal trainer doesn’t leave their clients with too much agency beyond the personalization of the program administered.

A wellness coach, however, allows for a self-empowering process where clients receive gifted education, motivation, and suggestions to be the stewards of their ships.

That means as a wellness coach, you are more of a mentor than an instructor. 

You use your knowledge and expertise in health and fitness to inspire individuals to craft their path to wellness.

This is achieved primarily through the right communication skills, namely, active listening.

Active listening is a profound and essential interpersonal skill that focuses on hearing what someone has to say about themselves or their circumstances and actively engaging with that information in a way that allows them to dig deeper for insight or solutions.

As a wellness coach, you use active listening to give you the necessary information to understand your clients and help them better understand themselves.

After laying the foundation of understanding, wellness coaches can apply their knowledge of scientific principles and practical methods to help their clients develop a strategy toward health and wellness.

How to Become a Wellness Coach?  

To become a wellness coach, I’d suggest you work on your health and wellness first. 

Developing a repertoire of healthy habits and lifestyle choices allows you to look at the part and gives you a firm reference for applying the right principles when it comes to coaching others.

It also allows you to develop the right sense of passion that will propel you toward doing the best job possible.

With all that said, the most essential and logical step towards becoming a certified health and wellness coach is to get certified.

Wellness Coach Certifications and Qualifications  

The role of a wellness coach demands that you obtain certain qualifications.

That’s because you deliver advice and guidance based on medical science, which will impact a person’s current state of health.

Attempting to administer such advice and protocols without the proper training and accreditation can lead to a lack of results at best and dangerous outcomes at worst.

This can also become a legal pitfall since many qualifications allow you to indemnify yourself through access to insurance and liability cover.

So what sort of qualifications does a wellness coach need to obtain?

That all depends on how far you want to take your career as a wellness expert.

For some, simply having the foundational ability to add value to an existing core service, such as personal training or nutrition coaching, means a simple diploma or certification will do.

For others who want to take health and wellness coaching into medical practice and clinical intervention, a university or college degree, along with wellness-specific certifications, would be the bare minimum.

Getting Certified

Regarding certifications, there are quite a few great options regarding wellness coaching.

This category of credentials doesn’t hold as much weight as a degree; however, depending on which cert you get and how it’s accredited, you can get a reputable, industry-recognized qualification at a fraction of the investment of a degree program.

This means your scope of practice will be relatively limited, but you’ll also be able to jump into your career much sooner and with less initial expenditure.

Some of the best wellness coach certifications include:

  • American Fitness Professionals & Associates
  • Precision Nutrition
  • Health Coach Institute
  • National Society of Health Coaches
  • Dr. Sears Wellness Institute
  • Wellcoaches School
  • Duke Integrative Medicine

I’ve covered some of these in more detail in my article on best wellness certifications, which you can check out here.

One important consideration is that many of these certifications have special prerequisites.

Some of those criteria include having a degree and experience in the medical field before you can enroll.

So let’s talk a bit about getting a degree.

Getting A Degree

Regarding wellness coaching and the closely related field of health coaching, getting a degree, while not always necessary, is often recommended.

That’s because much of the work you will be doing if you want to be a well-rounded wellness and health coach includes medical advice and even clinical intervention.

To be a licensed practitioner in such situations, you will professionally and legally be required to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in a healthcare-related field.

This standard also comes across by the fact that some wellness certs require you to have a degree to qualify, as I mentioned.

In any case. It’s important to remember that a degree is a notable investment in time and money.

Be sure to carefully consider your options before making that decision.

Wellness Coach Job Description  

By now, you have a good idea of what a wellness coach is and how to qualify as one, but what is the nature of the job?

One option is working as an employed wellness coach.

This typically involves working for an established health practice, clinic, or hospital.

You can also find work in the hospitality sector or as a corporate wellness facilitator in the HR department of a major company.

Another option is self-employment or setting up your own practice.

Getting it right will take more work, time, and effort, but the benefits are worth it.

You’ll set your rates and schedule and control the number of clients you can take on.

As a wellness coach, the bulk of your engagements will either involve weight loss or corrective exercise.

For this reason, I suggest you get clued up on fitness principles by getting a personal trainer certification or similar.

Because you’ll be running your own business, it’s also a great idea to equip yourself with entrepreneurial skills.

Taking a short business management, sales, and marketing course or simply investing time in the endless library of free educational content online are great ways to get ahead.

Scope of Practice As A Wellness Coach  

I’ve mentioned the scope of practice several times in this article.

For any career field, your scope of practice is the range of activities you are professionally qualified and legally authorized to conduct based on your credentials.

For a wellness coach, this may vary depending on the level of credentials you hold.

In general, a wellness coach’s scope of practice would include the following:

  • Educate clients on evidence-based health and fitness principles
  • Provide perspective on how those principles can be applied to the client’s status.
  • Provide tools, resources, and practices to empower clients in managing their health
  • Providing guidance and assistance in the application of said tools, resources, and practices
  • Act as a source of motivation, adherence, and accountability in achieving set goals
  • Provide support or assistance such as clinical intervention where necessary

With this approach, a wellness coach is very similar to a health coach, with many roles overlapping.

The only underlying difference is that a wellness coach’s scope extends beyond physiological health.

As a wellness coach, you aim to improve your client’s mental and emotional state and physical health.

This means tackling aspects of well-being such as:

  • Nutrition
  • Physical performance
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Weight management
  • Mental health 
  • mind/body alignment
  • Meditation 
  • Life Coaching

There are many more, and the aspects you apply depend on your approach to wellness.

For instance, if your career is centered on teaching yoga, your approach and, thus, the scope of wellness practice will be angled more toward the mind/body and meditative aspects with a focus on nutrition.

If you work with athletes as another example, your focus would be on strength & conditioning and physical performance.

This makes wellness coaching one of the most versatile career paths in health and fitness, whether you engage part-time or full-time.

What Is An Average Wellness Coach Salary?  

Before diving into a profession, most people consider their earning prospects above most other factors.

If you are passionate about something, salary and income shouldn’t be your only consideration, but they should certainly be a pressing concern.

In the US, wellness coaches earn an annual average income of $60,035 per year, according to salary.com.

That puts wellness coaching in league with personal training regarding average income, with personal trainers in the US earning an average of $62,477.

However, the average hourly rate sits at $66/ hour, almost triple the hourly rate of personal trainers in the United States.

This means, on average; wellness coaches can make more by working less.

This is further proven when looking at the top percentile earnings, where the top-earning wellness coaches profoundly outnumber the top personal trainers with figures of $170,391 and $89,755, respectively.

The higher income potential is something I would attribute to the level of credentials one needs to obtain to make wellness coaching a viable career option.

There are many other factors besides that that I’d like to look at.

Location

Location plays a huge role in determining salary and income.

It’s such an important factor that it often dictates where people decide to live when pursuing their chosen career paths.

Location plays into income prospects mainly due to the state of the local economy in that given location.

Many underlying factors, such as infrastructure, political climate and stability, commerce, industry, population size, density, and the region’s GDP, govern the local economy.

Location can influence your salary potential on both a macro and micro scale.

On a micro-scale, salary can fluctuate from city to city or even across suburbs in the same city. 

That’s because infrastructure and income often tend to be unevenly distributed, even on a small scale.

In this regard, targeting the more affluent neighborhoods or districts will improve your odds of favorable income prospects.

On a macro scale, income fluctuates across the state, national and continental lines.

The differences are less subtle and more expected since entire nations normally have vastly different economies. 

Your best bet usually means working in countries or regions with developed, first-world economies.

This isn’t always the case because many developed nations, while awarding their labor forces decent wages, also have a high cost of living and income tax.

You might find that plying your trade in a region with a middling economy, decent tax incentives, and a low cost of living will ultimately earn you more money once all is said and done.

Qualifications

I’ve already gone over how important qualifications are in being able to operate as a wellness coach. Still, the extent of your education and the level of your qualifications can sway your income potential.

For instance, if you only hold a health and wellness coaching certification, your income potential is limited, especially if you’re searching for employment.

However, if you’ve done postgrad studies in health sciences, relevant certifications, and courses in wellness, health, and fitness, you’re well on your way to being a top earner.

It’s not just the level of your qualifications that optimizes your income potential but also the variety.

So having qualifications in other interrelated fields such as fitness and nutrition will also count towards your success.

Remember, to obtain the qualifications that allow you to be a top earner, you must invest proportionately.

Level of Experience

Experience is an asset that can only be appreciated over time. 

Unlike education or location, which can be altered at a moment’s notice, experience takes time.

The only thing you can control is the quality of your experience. 

This is achieved by maintaining a high standard of service and client satisfaction over time.

Experience instills a sense of trustworthiness, allowing for easier client conversion and retention.

It also dictates your reputation in the industry, allowing you to justify higher earnings in exchange for the value of your expertise and authority.

An experience level of years or higher is typically when professionals in the health and fitness space begin to see a return on their time in the game.

So the key is to be consistent and stay in the game as long as possible.

Conclusion  

Wellness coaching is a full-spectrum approach to health and well-being.

Where most services within the health sector focus on optimizing physiology, wellness coaching emphasizes the mental and spiritual aspects of human health.

Therefore, compassion and a qualitative approach are required instead of just a quantitative approach.

I hope this article gave you some much-needed insight into wellness coaching.

If you still have any questions or suggestions, please comment below, and I’ll try to get to it as soon as possible.

FAQ

What qualifications do you need to be a Wellness coach?

To qualify as a Wellness coach, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher in a Wellness relevant field and certify with an organization specific to your chosen sport.

How much do Wellness coaches make?

Wellness coaches make an average annual income is $62,477 per year.

How long does it take to become a Wellness coach?

You can become a Wellness coach straight after earning your degree and certifications, which can take 3 to 5 years.

Can you be a wellness coach without a degree?

Yes, you can, but you’ll be very limited in the type of jobs and opportunities you’ll have access to.

What are the best schools to become a Wellness coach?

Universities and colleges with reputable Wellness science or Health management programs.

What are the benefits of wellness coaching?

Wellness coaching allows you to change lives meaningfully while opening the door for a lucrative business.

What is the best way to find a Wellness coaching job?

The best way to find a Wellness coaching job is to search available classifieds. You can also gain job opportunities through your qualification program since most universities or colleges will try to link their candidates with work opportunities.

References

  1. “Health and Wellness Coach Salary Calculator.” Salary.com, https://www.salary.com/tools/salary-calculator/health-and-wellness-coach.
  2. “Life and Wellness Coaches.” WebMD, https://webmd.com/balance/guide/life-and-wellness-coaches.
  3. “What Is a Wellness Coach, and When Do You Need One?” Verywell Fit, https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-a-wellness-coach-when-do-you-need-one-4175824.
  4. “What Is Wellness Coaching?” Wellness Coaching Australia, https://www.wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au/What-is-wellness-coaching/what-is-wellness-coaching.
  5. “Wellness Coaching Initiative.” Global Wellness Institute, . https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/initiatives/wellness-coaching-initiative/.
  6. “What Is Wellness?” Pfizer, https://www.pfizer.com/health-wellness/wellness/what-is-wellness.
  7. “What is a Wellness Program? Definition, Examples, and Tips.” WellSteps, https://www.wellsteps.com/blog/2020/01/02/what-is-wellness-program-definition/.
  8. “The Concept of Wellness.” Physiopedia, https://www.physio-pedia.com/The_Concept_of_Wellness.
  9. “What Is Wellness?” University of South Dakota Wellness Center, https://www.usd.edu/student-life/wellness-center/what-is-wellness.
  10. “Wellness Coach Job Description.” La Clinica, https://www.careinnovations.org/wp-content/uploads/Wellness-Coach-Job-Description_La-Clinica.pdf.
  11. “Health Coach Job Description.” Betterteam, https://www.betterteam.com/health-coach-job-description.
  12. “Health Coach Job Description Examples.” Great Sample Resume, https://www.greatsampleresume.com/job-description/examples/fitness-nutrition/health-coach.
Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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