Best Health Coaching Certification Programs

13 Best Health Coaching Certification Programs

Let’s say you went to the doctor and saw him/her wearing a t-shirt, torn jeans and holding a coffee mug emblazoned with “World’s Best Doctor!” Would a message like that on a cup of joe assure you the doctor is a genuine, trained professional? Probably not.

Health coach certification works on the same principle. Without it, your credibility flounders. You’re basically announcing that you’re undereducated and/or just don’t care. Your employability becomes questionable. As a matter of fact, most people won’t even hire an uncertified health coach.

Certification is crucial to acquiring the vital skills necessary for professionally entering the coaching field. It can also teach you the fundamentals of starting your own business. Like any advanced level of education, certification can open doors and speed up your success. (To learn more, check out our guide on the benefits of health coach certification.)

With all the certification programs out there, how do you choose one? We’ve eliminated the guesswork by reviewing thirteen of the best health coaching certification programs available. (Want to see our top two recommended programs straight away? Jump to the section here.)

So, let’s get started…

Health Coach Certification Program Comparison Chart

First, here’s a snapshot showing some of the main differences between the health coaching certification programs reviewed below:

PROGRAM NAMEBEST PROGRAMSPREREQDURATIONPRICING
Health Coach InstituteBest Overall ProgramNone6 months$4,450
ACE Fitness Health CoachBest Overall Program on a BudgetCPR/AED Certification3-4 months$650 – $1200
National Society of Health CoachesBest for Licensed ProfessionalsHealthcare Professional12 months$600
AFPA Health CoachBest for Least Amount of PrerequisitesNone6 months$750 – $900
—————————————MORE TOP PROGRAMS————————–——–
Adapt Health CoachHealthcare Professional12 months$12,000
Dr. Sears Wellness InstituteNone2-9 months$945 – $3,850
Duke Integrative Medicine Health CoachBachelor’s Degree5 months$5,000
Emory Continuing EducationBachelor’s Degree3 months$4,600
Institute for Integrative NutritionHigh School Diploma12 months$6,800
International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP)None6 months$5,550
Precision NutritionNone5 months$1000
Primal Health Coach InstituteNone4 months$4,500
Wellcoaches School of CoachingHealthcare Professional5 months$2,350

1. Health Coach Institute

** Best Overall Program **

Health Coach Institute

Health Coach Institute (HCI) is a very well-rounded, online-only certification course that rolls habit change, personal development, nutrition, and business management training into one program.

Besides its primary program, Health Coach Institute offers a graduate-level health coach training program (Holistic MBA), which is now regarded as the principal graduate business training for health coaches.

Health Coach Institute helps you work on your own personal growth, enabling you to effectively help clients change. It also offers coaching experiences with real practice clients.

HCI has an expert faculty including celebrity health expert, JJ Virgin, and “Happy Gut” author Dr. Vincent Pedre.

Certification Programs Offered

The Health Coach Institute offers two certification programs:

  • The Become a Health Coach (BCH) Program, which is HCI’s core training program.
  • The graduate-level Mastering the Business and Art of Coaching (MBA). The MBA offers practical business management lessons that complement the health coaching lessons.

What Does the Program Include?

The BCH program is released in weekly, self-paced modules containing training videos, done-for-you scripts, templates, handouts, and action guides. The program builds upon what HCI calls Four Pillars:

  • Pillar One – Nutrition, Health, and Wellness
  • Pillar Two – Habit Change Coaching Method
  • Pillar Three – Personal Growth
  • Pillar Four – Proven Marketing & Simple Business Systems

The curriculum is delivered in video, MP3 or PDF formats so you can choose the one that best fits your learning style. Each training video is broken down into easily digestible 15-minute sessions. If you watch all the videos and take part in all the Q&A sessions, you’ll probably spend about five to seven hours per week studying.

HCI also offers several mentorship calls with one of the Institute’s Success Coaches.

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

HCI has no enrollment prerequisites.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

The Institute’s course is designed to be completed in six months.

Pricing

Tuition for the health coaching program is $4,450 (paid in full) or $6,950 (monthly payments starting at $299/month).

Overall Impressions

Health Coach Institute laser focuses on habit change, rather than generalized diet and nutrition shifts. It also incorporates practical business and marketing instruction, allowing graduates to knowledgeably set up their own practice.

The program has no entrance prerequisites, which makes it accessible to almost anyone. Health Coach Institute also helps you cultivate your own personal growth so you can have a deeper understanding of helping clients grow.

Get **Special Pricing and Maximum Savings** for your Health Coach Institute enrollment here or read our detailed Health Coach Institute Review first.

2. ACE Fitness Health Coach

** Best Overall Program On a Budget **

ACE Fitness Health Coach

ACE (American Council on Exercise) Fitness Health Coach is a certification program that draws upon behavior-change principles and lifestyle medicine. The course will help you learn and apply active listening, motivational interviewing, and client-centered goal setting. ACE Fitness Health Coach is the only health coach program accredited by the elite National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Certification Programs Offered

ACE Fitness Health Coach offers two certification programs:

  • Basic Program
  • Plus Program

What Does the Program Include?

The Plus Program is an interactive, online training. It comes with a 20-chapter textbook, “The Professional’s Guide to Health and Wellness,” whose topics include:

  • Coach-client relationship
  • Behavioral psychology
  • Mindfulness stress management
  • Motivational interviewing
  • The business of health coaching

The Plus Program provides access to the ACE University Learning Center, which contains textbooks and ebooks to help you pass your certification exam. It also supplies video and audio coaching sessions, video lectures, quizzes, knowledge checks, and practice tests.

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

In order to take the ACE Health Coach Certification exam, you must:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Hold current adult CPR/AED certification including live skills check
  • Take the exam within six months of purchase
  • Present a current government-issued photo ID with signature (driver’s license, passport or military ID)

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

ACE’s program is self-paced. Preparation for the exam typically takes 80 to 100 hours of study over three to four months.

Pricing

  • Basic Program – $649/one-time. ACE recommends this program for those who “have deep knowledge in health coaching principles or extensive experience in healthcare.”
  • Plus Program – $844/one-time or $71/month. ACE recommends this program for “the candidate seeking the most robust study experience or who has little to no knowledge of health coaching principles or little to no experience in healthcare.”
  • Advantage Program – $1,169 or $98/month. This new program includes everything the Plus Program offers with the addition of Health Coach Live Classes and one-on-one individualized support.

Overall Impressions

The American Council on Exercise is an extremely well-respected certifying agency. It’s the only NCCA-accredited health coach certification, which gives it tons of credibility and, in turn, increases graduates’ credibility.

We’re impressed with ACE’s textbook and its inclusion of extensive lessons on behavioral psychology. ACE also has a very responsive live support team to help you through any parts of the book you don’t understand. ACE’s prices are realistically aligned with what a fledgling coach can probably afford.

ACE is currently offering $100 Off their health coach study programs with the code: GOACEHC

Visit ACE Fitness Health Coach here or read our detailed ACE Health Coach Certification Review first.

3. National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC)

** Best for Licensed Professionals **

National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC)

Created by healthcare providers and clinicians for students who are clinicians themselves, the National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC) is a certification program open only to professionals.

The NSHC pioneered the nation’s first clinical model of evidence-based health coaching and motivational interviewing, which many Fortune 500 companies have used to train their healthcare staff, including Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Lockheed Martin, and Tiffany & Co.

Certification Programs Offered

The company offers one program, for professionals only.

What Does the Program Include?

The NSHC program is self-study, with either a hard copy or ebook version of the study manual, “Evidence-based Health Coaching (EBHC) for Healthcare Providers.” Resources also include:

  • Webinars
  • Video series
  • Online quizzes
  • Audio
  • Articles
  • Online interviewing skills in motivational practice
  • Live practice webinars
  • Quick reference pocket guide

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

NSHC has very stringent enrollment standards. It’s only open to licensed or credentialed healthcare professionals, including:

  • Doctor of chiropractic
  • Physical/occupational/speech pathology
  • Nurse practitioner
  • License acupuncturist
  • Dentist/licensed dental hygienist

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

The NSHC program takes a minimum of 85 hours to finish. Once completed, you have 12 months from the purchase date to take the exam for free. Testing after the complimentary 12 month period costs a $50 testing fee and a $50 NSHC membership renewal fee, if applicable.

If you don’t pass on the first try, you’re offered a 30-day waiting period for a do-over, with each additional attempt costing $50. (There’s no waiting period to retest the exam’s Skills Competency portion.) After you pass the exam, your certification remains valid for five years from the date you pass the exam.

Pricing

The cost for a one-year certification is $595. Expedited delivery of course materials is an additional $65. One-year membership renewal costs $50 and two years is $90.

Overall Impressions

Because the National Society of Health Coaches certification is so prestigious, you’ll have significant credibility after passing the test. One of NSHC’s biggest strengths is that every aspect of the program is evidence-based and research-driven.

Unfortunately, if you’re not a credentialed professional, you can only acquire a “Certificate of Completion.” This does little more than let people know you learned the material without being a qualified healthcare professional.

Learn more about National Society of Health Coaches here.

4. AFPA Health Coach

** Best for Least Amount of Prerequisites **

AFPA Health Coach

AFPA (American Fitness Professionals and Associates) is one of the few accredited certification organizations. The program encompasses more than 25 certifications in various health and wellness fields, including senior fitness, yoga instruction, nutrition, and health coaching. Its health coaching certification program teaches you to:

  • Provide nutritional coaching to clients
  • Inform clients about lifestyle and nutritional goals
  • Apply counseling strategies and motivational interviewing techniques

Certification Programs Offered

AFPA offers one comprehensive certification program.

What Does the Program Include?

AFPA’s educational materials can be adapted to personal learning style. They give you the choice to either opt for 100 percent digital access and/or textbooks (for an additional fee). Other coursework includes:

  • Chapter outlines and chapter study guides
  • Nutrition and health audio, PDF slides
  • Video lectures
  • Worksheets and case studies
  • Practice quizzes
  • Online learning activities

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

To qualify for enrollment in AFPA’s Health and Wellness Certification Program you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a strong command of English

You’ll need a final exam score of 85 percent or more to pass. A retest costs $75. After passing the exam, you’ll attain the title of Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Once you become a certified member, you’ll receive free professional support for the length of your certification.

Graduates of the AFPA Health and Wellness Coach Certification Program are eligible to apply for Board certification through the ANMAB (American Naturopathic Medical Accreditation Board).

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

AFPA’s certification is self-paced and is generally completed in six months, but the course can be completed in whatever time frame works best for you.

Pricing

The program has two pricing tiers, depending upon the learning style that suits you:

  • $899 for the online course, plus physical ebooks and textbooks
  • $749 for the 100 percent online course

Overall Impressions

AFPA’s accreditation establishes it as a trustworthy program, which gives you credibility, as well. Whether you prefer learning digitally, via textbook or both, they give you the freedom to choose the format that works best for you.

AFPA offers a wide variety of certifications, so you can augment your health coach certification in different ways if you wish. AFPA stays connected with its students after certification and you’ll continue to receive professional support so long as you’re certified.

Learn more about AFPA Health Coach here.

5. Adapt Health Coach

Adapt Health Coach

The ADAPT Health Coach Training Program is an online certification program that combines audio, video, webinars, written materials, demos, and Q&A sessions. It also provides live group and individual sessions with mentor coaches and TAs, more than 35 practice sessions with classmates, and more than 25 practice sessions with actual clients.

Certification Programs Offered

ADAPT offers only one certification program.

What Does the Program Include?

ADAPT’s training focuses on three main areas:

  • Art and Practice of Coaching (Training includes positive psychology, the science and art of behavioral change and conflict resolution.)
  • Functional Health (Training includes ancestral nutrition fundamentals, the role of nutrient status and supplementation, and food and kitchen prep.)
  • Business and Professional Development (Training includes clarifying your vision, purpose and brand, building and managing a practice, establishing your online presence and platform and career opportunities.)

Unlike programs that only provide recorded webinars, students interact directly with ADAPT’s founder, Chris Kresser, in live, monthly Q&A sessions. The program also offers roundtable discussions, as well as live lectures and demonstrations.

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

You automatically qualify for enrollment in the ADAPT program if you have:

  • A professional license, certification or an associates degree or higher in any healthcare or wellness-related field.
  • At least two years of full-time work experience in a healthcare or wellness-related field.

You can also qualify with other types of education and experience, at ADAPT’s discretion.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

Upon successful completion of the course, you’re also eligible to sit for the esteemed National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach credential.

ADAPT Health Training is a 12-month long course, divided into two six-month sections. One is a Pre-Practicum for developing the skills necessary to become a successful health coach. The other six-month section is a Practicum to further hone your skills, featuring both group and one-on-one feedback and supervision.

Pricing

ADAPT has two payment options:

  • $12,000 – Total price, paid in advance
  • $1,080/month for 12 months ($12,960)

ADAPT offers a refund before the end of the enrollment period. They also have a satisfaction/refund policy applicable to the first six weeks of the course. No refunds are made after six weeks.

Overall Impressions

One of the things we like best about ADAPT is the practicality of its training. Not only does it provide “book learning,” but also one-on-one experience with real clients and real-world business development instruction.

The program may be prohibitively expensive for some aspiring health coaches, tipping the scales around $12,000.

Learn more about ADAPT Health Coach here.

6. Dr. Sears Wellness Institute

Dr. Sears Wellness Institute

Dr. Sears Wellness Institute Health Coach Certification Program is a science-based curriculum developed by Dr. William Sears. The program revolves around his L.E.A.N. pillars of wellness: Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, and Nutrition. After certification, students are encouraged to teach at the Institute’s workshops and seminars.

Certification Programs Offered

Dr. Sears offers three specialized programs focused on various life stages:

  • Families Coach
  • Adults and Seniors Coach
  • Pregnancy Coach

The Institute also offers four combo courses:

  • Families/Pregnancy
  • Families/Adults and Seniors
  • Adults and Senior/Pregnancy
  • Families/Adults and Seniors/Pregnancy

Additionally, Dr. Sears Wellness Institute offers three Advanced Course Certifications.

What Do the Programs Include?

All courses come with core materials and activities:

  • Complete training kit delivered to your home
  • Live instruction
  • 24/7 access to online training materials
  • Interactive learning including videos and e-learning sections
  • Peer-to-peer interaction
  • Marketing strategies to help you start your business
  • Live support

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

Unlike many other health coaching certification programs, the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute Certification Program has no prerequisites to enroll.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

Courses vary from six weeks to 36 weeks and encompass:

  • The standalone course – six weeks
  • The two-course certification – nine weeks
  • The three-course certification – 12 weeks
  • Advanced Course, Plus One Life Stage – 30 weeks
  • Advanced Course, Plus Two Life Stages – 33 weeks
  • Advanced Course, Plus Three Life Stages – 36 weeks

Pricing

Dr. Sears has a very in-depth course selection for coaches who either prefer single packages or obtaining several certifications at once:

  • Families – $945
  • Adults and Seniors – $945
  • Pregnancy Coaching – $945
  • Families/Pregnancy, Family/Adults/Seniors, and Adults/Seniors/Pregnancy – All three are $1,345
  • Families/Adults and Seniors/Pregnancy – $1,645
  • Advanced Course, Plus One Life Stage – $3,145
  • Advanced Course, Plus Two Life Stages – $3,545
  • Advanced Course, Plus Three Life Stages – $3,845

Overall Impressions

Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is a very thorough certification course. We appreciate the flexibility it gives you to choose one, two or three certification programs, according to your personal preference.

It’s also nice that several of Dr. Sears’ courses explore overlooked segments of the population, such as seniors and pregnant women. Since the program has no enrollment prerequisites, more people have an opportunity to get certified.

Learn more about Dr. Sears Wellness Institute here.

7. Duke Integrative Medicine Health Coach

Duke Integrative Medicine Health Coach

Duke’s Integrative Medicine Health Coach Certification is very detailed and one of the most challenging to obtain. Duke is the country’s first medical center to create a health coaching program based on clinical experience and research.

Certification Programs Offered

Duke Integrative Medicine offers two programs, both of which are mandatory. All students must start with the Foundation Course, which can be taken online or in-person at Duke’s 3475 Erwin Road, Durham, North Carolina location. The course takes a total of eight days, with two separate four-day modules spaced six to eight weeks apart.

The Foundation Course includes lessons about:

  • Personal health planning
  • Mindful awareness
  • Science of behavior change
  • Applying integrative health coaching techniques to individuals and groups
  • Learning how to motivate positive behavior changes

After completing the Foundation Course, students are required to take the Certification Course. Course completion includes a written and oral examination.

What Do the Programs Include?

Both programs have a rich variety of tools and hands-on experience.

The in-person Foundation Course includes:

  • Lectures
  • Live coaching demonstrations
  • Experiential practice
  • Training modules
  • Coaching demonstration videos
  • Telephonic skills practice sessions

The online Foundation Course includes:

  • Live, weekly instruction webinars
  • Web-based training modules
  • Coaching demonstration videos

The Certification Course includes:

  • Skills practice
  • Mentored feedback
  • Online learning modules
  • Video demonstrations

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

Applicants to the Foundation course must have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field. Duke waives this requirement if you have three to five years of experience in an associated field such as nursing, physical therapy or psychology.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

Duke’s in-person Foundation Course is an intensive learning experience totaling eight days, featuring two separate four-day modules, six to eight weeks apart.

The online Foundation Course is 16 live, three-hour webinars, once a week. The overall course length is 18 weeks.

Pricing

  • Foundation Course – Registration for the Foundation Course is $4,440 full fee or $3,996 for early registration.
  • Certification Course – Registration for the Certification Course is $1,440 full fee or $1,296 for early registration.

You can bundle both courses for a total of $5,550 or $4,995 for early registration.

Overall Impressions

One of the best things about Duke’s coaching program is that it provides real-world coaching experience. The program is excellent for health and wellness professionals who want to learn about behavior modification techniques.

Learn more about Duke Integrative Medicine Health Coach here.

8. Emory Continuing Education

Emory Continuing Education

This coaching program is part of the continuing education curriculum offered by Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s endorsed by the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) and is a challenging, in-depth program.

Graduates earn the prestigious title of National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Aside from being one of the top universities in the United States, Emory is only one of a handful of universities offering a health coaching program.

The program is a hybrid of live, online courses, and self-paced learning.

Certification Programs Offered

Emory offers only one health coach certification program.

What Does the Program Include?

Emory offers an in-depth program that includes:

  • Theory and practice in coaching psychology and behavior change
  • Learning about lifestyle-related issues and chronic illnesses
  • Client-centric communication skills that foster independent change
  • Evidence-informed structure and process
  • Coaching ethics

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

To enroll in this health coach certification program, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree or higher and/or real-life experience in a health-related field.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

Emory’s health coach certification is 12 weeks long. It’s comprised of weekly practice coaching sessions, self-paced and live lessons, and five sessions of mentored coaching.

The program is very rigorous, and you’ll spend eight hours or more per week doing it.

  • Ninety minutes of live, online classes
  • Sixty to 90 minutes of recorded, self-paced lessons
  • Ninety to 120 minutes of coaching practice. This includes five mentored sessions
  • Three or more hours of self-paced reading lessons

You must participate in 100 percent of the courses. Class attendance will be noted. Students must also participate in 100 percent of the practice coaching sessions. Quizzes must be completed with a score of 80 percent or higher and students must pass the final mentored evaluation with a score of 80 percent or more.

Pricing

The tuition for this coaching certification program is $4,595.

Other expenses include:

  • Mandatory textbook, “Lifestyle Wellness Coaching,” by James Gavin and Madeleine McBearty (available online)
  • A $100 exam application fee
  • A $300 exam fee

Overall Impressions

Emory University is one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States, and this reputation is reflected in the quality of its health coach certification program. Its information-packed curriculum, from evidence-based nutrition to ethics to active listening, will put students through their paces. Emory’s health coach certification program is ideal for anyone who has a higher education and wants to expand on it.

Learn more about Emory Continuing Education here.

9. Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Having awarded the very first health coach certificate in 1992 and boasting over 100,000 graduates in 150 countries, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) is the world’s largest nutrition school. Another claim to fame is that they led initiatives to help ban trans fats in New York City restaurants.

IIN teaches more than 100 dietary theories from ancient Eastern traditions to modern Western medicine. They also cover basic science and anatomy concepts, giving you a general sense of how the body functions. In addition, IIN provides business training to prepare you to launch your own practice.

Several celebrity health and wellness experts consult for IIN, including Deepak Chopra, Mark Hyman, MD, Arianna Huffington, and Dr. Oz.

Certification Programs Offered

IIN offers only one certification program.

What Does the Program Include?

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition is an online-only course comprised of 40 digital modules, containing both audio and video lectures. You’ll be quizzed upon completion of each module and take four tests throughout the program. Coursework generally takes five to 10 hours per week.

The Institute will teach you:

  • Health and wellness principles to help you achieve certification
  • Business principles to help launch your business
  • Active listening
  • How to ask questions that require a deeper answer than “yes” or “no”
  • Finding your niche market
  • Creating a website
  • Using social media

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s only requirement is a high school diploma, GED or equivalent.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

The program takes one year to complete.

Pricing

The IIN health coach certification is $6,795. Payment plan options as low as $199/month.

Overall Impressions

Not only does IIN have a comprehensive health coaching program and instruction in a substantial number of dietary theories, but it also provides practical, real-world business management prep. There’s absolutely no pressure to complete lessons within certain timeframes, regardless of the number of days/weeks it takes you.

We do, however, have an issue with how they present their price. Many of the other programs reviewed here have a similar cost. But IIN seems to feel the need to justify it:

“The cost….is $5,995 [currently now $6,795], but the return is priceless. Remember, this is an investment in you…you’re taking steps toward achieving your goals…you’ll contribute to bettering the health of your family and community…”

This statement feels more like a guilt-trip than a sales pitch.

Learn more about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition here.

10. International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP)

International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP)

The International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP) Holistic Wellness Coach Certification Program is a 100 percent online course. At IAWP you will learn how to start and grow your business, as well as learn significant lessons about health and wellness and how to tailor your coaching to each client. IAWP touts their program as one that promotes hands-on experience, and it’s built on their Three Pillars of Learning, which are:

  • Wellness 360 Education – This pillar encompasses holistic health, natural healing, and nutrition.
  • CORE Coaching Method – This pillar is IAWP’s trademarked coaching method, focusing on creating lasting changes in clients’ lives.
  • Coach Launch System – This pillar provides training to build and launch a successful business.

Certification Programs Offered

IAWP offers one health coaching certification program.

What Does the Program Include?

This program includes:

Done-for-you coaching resources including:

  • Nonverbal behavior
  • CORE coaching blueprints
  • Coaching case studies
  • Communication styles
  • Coaching techniques for habit change

It also contains more than 25 monthly live, virtual training sessions, live training calls, and access to more than 300 client tools, such as templates and scripts.

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

There are no prerequisites for enrolling in the certification program.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

Since the certification program is 100 percent self-guided, you can take as much time to complete it as you’d like. Most of their students finish the program in six months.

Pricing

Enrollment in IAWP’s certification program has two main payment options:

  • Pay in Full – Pay in full is one payment of $5,450, which is discounted from $7,450.
  • Basic Payment Plan – This plan costs $1,950 down plus 12 payments of $345.

In response to COVID, IAWP has added Pay as You Go plans. The Pay as You Go plans each provide different degrees of access to the certification training modules. Modules “unlock” each time you make a payment:

Pay as You Go Plans:

  • $199 a month for 36 months. A new module unlocks every three months.
  • $295 a month for 24 months. A new module unlocks every two months.
  • $385 a month for 18 months. A new module unlocks every 45 days.
  • $575 a month for 12 months. A new module unlocks every month.

Overall Impressions

International Association of Wellness Professionals Holistic Health Coach Certification equips you to be an effective coach and a successful entrepreneur. They offer a wide selection of payment plans to accommodate students financially impacted by the pandemic.

They have a stellar faculty and guest teachers including Marci Shimoff, author of “Happy for No Reason” and “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul,” Max Simon, founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, and Janet Atwood, New York Times Best Selling Author of “The Passion Test.”

Learn more about International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP) here.

11. Precision Nutrition

Precision Nutrition

Precision Nutrition is a heavy hitter. They’ve been associated with Nike, the New York Times, Seattle Seahawks, and Cleveland Browns, among others. Their program offers two levels of certification, and Level One can be scaled to focus on women, men, elite athletes, or military personnel.

The programs not only concentrate on coaching but also business development. Although not accredited by DEAC (Distance Education Accrediting Commission) or NCA (National Committee on Accreditation), Precision Nutrition is a well-respected remote learning program.

Certification Programs Offered

Precision Nutrition offers two certification programs:

  • Level One – This certification course teaches effective coaching and the principles of nutrition.
  • Level Two Master Class – Level Two is an advanced program you may qualify for after completing Level One. It provides intensive, real-world experience with actual clients and one-on-one mentoring from Precision’s elite coaches.

What Does the Program Include?

Precision Nutrition’s main program is its Level One course. It’s self-paced and provides these resources:

  • Workbook and study guide
  • 20 instructional videos
  • Real-world case studies
  • Three textbooks
  • Access to the Precision Nutrition Facebook group
  • More than 40 learning tools (questionnaires, assessment forms, etc.)
  • Resources for business growth
  • Precision Nutrition exams

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

There are no prerequisites for participation in Precision Nutrition’s programs.

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

Precision Nutrition’s Level One course is 100 percent online and completely self-paced, so there is no deadline. The course has 20 chapters, and most participants take three to four hours to study one chapter a week. This equates to attaining certification in about five months.

Pricing

Precision Nutrition’s Level One certification program only accepts new students twice a year. Next year (2022) enrollment is on March 23rd and costs $119 a month for 12 months. If you sign up on their presale list, you have the opportunity to buy the certification program for $99 a month or a one-time payment of $999. Being on the presale list enables you to sign up 24 hours before the general public.

However, both are first-come, first-served, so there’s no guarantee you’ll get in either way. This seems strange because the course is strictly remote and there wouldn’t be any overcrowding issues. But maybe this can all be chalked up to very persuasive scarcity marketing.

To their credit, Precision has a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Overall Impressions

Precision Nutrition presents a wealth of valuable information to point you toward a successful coaching career. Most of the materials are written conversationally and are understandable even if you don’t have prior coaching experience or education. It’s 100 percent online, so you can learn at your own pace. It’s also commendable that they have a money-back guarantee.

Although Precision Nutrition is cheaper than some other programs on this list, it’s off-putting that a limited number of students are accepted only twice a year and on a first-come, first-served basis.

Learn more about Precision Nutrition here.

12. Primal Health Coach Institute

Primal Health Coach Institute

The Primal Health Coach Institute uniquely offers an ancestral health (primal) education. It’s well-credentialed, with approval from the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), the Health Coach Alliance, the UK Health Coaches Association, and is accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP) Certification and Accreditation Board.

The Institute claims to be the world’s first coaching program centered around the Primal/paleo/ancestral health movement.

The program is all-online, and much of it focuses on sales and creating your business. Business-building is immediately delved into the first week.

Certification Programs Offered

Primal Health offers two certification programs:

  • Level One Self-Paced Program – This program qualifies you to become a certified health coach.
  • Level Two Live Virtual Program – Primal Health Coach Institute offers an advanced Level 2 Certification for coaches who want to become NBHWC board-certified.

What Does the Program Include?

The Primal Health Coach Institute’s main Level One program encompasses:

  • 20-chapter online course. The chapters are based on Mark Sisson’s New York Times bestseller, “21 Day Total Body Transformation.” Sisson is the founder of the Primal Health Coach Institute.
  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • Lifetime access to monthly webinars
  • Access to a private Facebook group
  • Three audiobooks and seven downloadable ebooks
  • Monthly Q and A webinars hosted by Master Coach Christine Hassler
  • Business Resource Center marketing information, forms, and career guidelines

A large part of the Primal Health Coach Program focuses on building your coaching business, including sales, closing sales, creating a sales and enrollment script, and creating a 90-day marketing plan.

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

There are no prerequisites to enroll in Primal’s certification program. However, they advise that it is “an intensive educational program similar to an upper-division level college course in health sciences.”

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

Primal’s program is four months long.

Pricing

Primal Health Coach Institute offers three payment plans:

  • Single payment of $4,495
  • Six payments of $764.17
  • Twelve payments of $389.58

Promo codes may also be applicable.

Additionally, Primal has a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re dissatisfied with the program.

This payment information was very easy to find. On some coaching certification websites, you have to go through a labyrinth to find them.

Overall Impressions

Primal Health Coach Institute offers a unique curriculum focused on ancestral health, with a strong emphasis on business-building. Its challenging course material, from metabolism to cell biology to physiology, will help students build a robust knowledge base that will serve them well in real-world applications.

Learn more about Primal Health Coach Institute here.

13. Wellcoaches School of Coaching

Wellcoaches School of Coaching

Wellcoaches was the first coaching school for health and wellness professionals, founded in 2000 and endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and the Australasian Society for Lifestyle Medicine. Wellcoaches CEO, Margaret Moore, also co-founded the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching and the Institute of Coaching.

Certification Programs Offered

Wellcoaches offers two certification programs:

  • Certified Health and Wellness – This certification is for allied health professionals who want to impact behavior change in a healthcare setting.
  • Certified Personal Coach – This certification is for non-health professionals who want to apply behavior change skills in environments outside of healthcare.

What Does the Program Include?

The Coaching Psychology Manual, the first coaching textbook in healthcare and wellness, is the foundation of the Wellcoaches Core Coach Training & Certification Programs, now used widely in academic courses on coaching psychology and health and wellness coaching, including a Science of Coaching Psychology Course at Harvard University Extension School.

The Manual describes the Wellcoaches health and wellness coaching protocol, now disseminating widely and science-based as reported in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. It is also available in Spanish.

What Are the Requirements to Enroll?

The prerequisites for entering Wellcoaches’ Certified Health and Wellness Coach Certification Program are quite stringent. You must qualify in one of the following ways:

  • An Associate’s degree or higher in an area of Allied Health from an accredited institute of higher education
  • Any fitness certification (personal trainer, group exercise, etc.) and an ACSM Exercise Is Medicine® Credential
  • Current Clinical License such as an RN
  • A National Board Certified Coach with a Certificate of Completion from Wellcoaches Lifestyle Medicine for Coaches course

How Long Does It Take to Complete the Program?

The Wellcoaches program is offered in two formats:

  • Eighteen-week teleclasses – These are delivered in 90-minute sessions over 18 weeks or 9 weeks.
  • Four-day residential sessions – This is a live, four-day-long on-site training. You’ll learn the same material featured in the 18-lessons class but at an accelerated pace.

Pricing

The total cost of the Wellcoaches program is $2350 and is broken down into the following modules:

  • Module 1 $1475 teleclasses. Complete Core Coach Training. This first module addresses topics such as how to entice motivation and establish rapport with your clients.
  • Module 2 $175. Module 1 is a prerequisite to Module 2. This module is designed to deepen your knowledge and practice, covering topics such as organizing your mind and emotions.
  • Module 3 – $700. This module is the final step in preparation to becoming a certified Wellcoach. It consists of exams, assessments and individual mentoring sessions.

For an additional $250, you can also earn the Lifestyle Medicine for Coaches Certificate, which teaches you how to support clients in making healthier lifestyle choices for themselves (e.g., eating, sleeping, etc.)

Overall Impressions

Wellcoach training teaches you how to field different coaching situations you may encounter in real life. Its alliance with the ACSM, ACLM, and ASLM gives the program a lot of credibility, which will help you in turn.

Wellcoaches is great for health professionals who want to take their ability to impact behavior change to the next level.

Learn more about Wellcoaches School of Coaching here.

Which Health Coach Certification Program Should You Choose?

It’s important to carefully evaluate any school before committing your time and money. But after thoroughly researching the nine schools above, we’d like to offer our recommendation for the two best health coaching certification programs:

Health Coach Institute

One of Health Coach Institute’s greatest strengths is its program’s broad range of disciplines, from habit change to nutrition to personal development. They also help their students achieve real-world success by providing business management courses. Moreover, the Institute guides you toward your own personal growth so you can more insightfully help clients achieve theirs.

Best Choice

Health Coach Institute understands that information overload can sabotage meaningful learning, so they’ve presented their training videos in palatable, 15-minute portions. The program has no enrollment prerequisites, so you’ll have a wide-open opportunity to take the course, regardless of your education or credentials.

All things said, Health Coach Institute offers the best certification program for aspiring health coaches.

Enroll in Health Coach Institute here and get **special pricing and maximum savings** or read our detailed Health Coach Institute Review first.

ACE Fitness Health Coach

If you’re on a budget, ACE Fitness Health Coach is an excellent alternative to Health Coach Institute (both its Basic and Plus programs cost under $850). In fact, certification from ACE is quite prestigious as it’s the only certification program accredited by the renowned National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

ACE has great course materials, especially its meticulously detailed textbook, “The Professional’s Guide to Health and Wellness,” which delves deeply and clearly into the psychology of behavioral change.

Qualifications for ACE Fitness Health Coach are nice and simple: you must be at least 18 and have an ID. You also need to have CPR/AED certification, which is easy to obtain if you don’t already have it. ACE’s certification program is brief but effective: it only takes three to four months to complete.

ACE is currently offering $100 Off their health coach study programs with the code: GOACEHC

Learn more here or read our detailed ACE Health Coach Certification Review first.

Conclusion

Trying to be a health coach without certification is like trying to be a doctor without going to medical school: You won’t get very far. Certification rolls out the red carpet to employment or even self-employment. A health coach certificate is, quite simply, far more than a piece of paper.

So, what are your thoughts about our choices for the best health coaching certification programs? Leave your questions and comments below!

34 Comments

  1. Certification is very important for someone who wants to become a health coach. Even if you are already very skilled at health coaching, and knowledgeable about health, there is no way around it. You need that certification title. I was fortunate to have been practicing weight lifting since I was young. Getting my personal trainer certification was more a matter of formality than actually learning anything new. But once I did that I was able to get much more business. 

    I got the ACE certification because it was recommended to me as the one that would be well known to potential clients. With the textbooks and my years of experience i was able to get certified within a few months. I also did the CPR certification and started working in a gym. Since then I have started my own business!

  2. Dave Sweney

    I had no idea that there were so many programs available for varying certifications and credentials you can gain to become a coach in the health field. The niche is really full of sub-niches, so it is good to see so many options. They all have their pros and cons, and I agree with you that it is important to determine which might be best.

    The costs are all over the map too, as are the focus’ of the programs. Do any of them accept the VA program for education for retirees or service members? That would be of great help for defraying the costs and many people have served in the military so would have these benefits.

    I agree with your best choices as well. Although expensive, the Health Coach Institute offers a ton of value for the money, and since anyone can apply and get certified, it does open the doors to more people while providing quality training. There is an ever-growing market for this type of coaching, so it makes sense to open the doors to more people.

    • Hi Dave, as far as I know, these programs don’t offer discounts for retirees or service members. But as you point out, many only cost a few hundred dollars versus several thousands. Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi Debbie. I had no idea there were so many health coaching courses available online. I’m not personally interested in pursuing a course such as this but I am looking for my grandson. He has a brilliant young mind and has finished his secondary education and is looking for a purpose in life. At 20 years of age, knowing what to do can be difficult. He has an interest in natural medicines and is into sports coaching, having completed a certificate in this. I suggested he take it a step further and finish a uni degree but at this stage he doesn’t want to go to school full-time. Reading your article made me think that there might be a health-related course that would fit in with his coaching desires and help him to get a job in this field. I did look through your courses but couldn’t find a relevant one for him. Is there a course you could suggest for him. Jim

  4. Hello Debbie, my name is Roula and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Community Health but I have not worked in the domain in 12 years since having two children. I now want to go back and find a career. I also want to refresh my memory and get certified to add to my resume, thinking it will look good after not being active all these years. I love health coaching and helping people change their habits to better ones as well as helping people with diseases and making lifestyle changes. What recommendations do you have to help me start again? (I feel so excited already!) Any ideas you have would be much appreciated. Also, which certification program do you recommend? One more question… I read so many online reviews stating that the Ace exam was hard to pass, what are your thoughts on that? Thank you Debbie!

    • Hi Roula, I think you’re on the right track. The first thing you need to do to become a professional health coach is to get certified through a reputable company. Afterwards, you can start tackling these other steps. As far as which program to go with, if you have the funds, we recommend Health Coach Institute above others. If not, Ace Fitness is a good, cheaper alternative. Yes, the exam is difficult, but certainly not insurmountable! Let me know if you have other questions. All the best in starting your new career as a health coach!

  5. Catherine Dudley

    Hi Debbie,
    Thanks for this clearly written and very detailed overview of health coaching certifications. As I live in Canada, I’m wondering if anyone has writtten a similar evaluation of programs offered in Canada? If I did an online course from an American school, would the certification be accepted and recognized in Canada? (Let’s day the ACE program)
    Thanks for your insights!
    Catherine

    • Hi Catherine, I reached out to ACE regarding your question. They do, in fact, have a number of Certified Professionals in Canada. That said, specific organizations may have different requirements. ACE also has exam locations in Canada so you’d be able to take the exam without having to travel to the U.S. Hope that helps!

  6. Jason Caperton

    Thank you so much for the info listed here, it is hard to find a clear and concise resource for what is available. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 28 years, and now want to become a diabetic health coach (in whatever terms that may reside in). Do you think that any of these options you present here would be better than others in this regard? Thanks again Debbie and I hope to hear from you!

    • Hi Jason, glad you found it helpful. 🙂 I think any of these programs will provide you with a good all-around education from which you can then specialize. All the best!

  7. Laurie Romero

    Debbie,
    Thank you for taking the guess work out of my search. This post was exactly what I was looking for with so many Health Coaching programs to navigate the process can be confusing. Do you have a business Instagram account?

  8. Thank you so very much for spelling this out! I was about to casually enroll in a program when I realized it was $8,000! While I do understand the value, I cannot believe how much the investment varies. I was expecting the $1,000 price range.

  9. Hi Debbie,
    I am a 2012 Graduate of the Institute Of Integrative Nutrition. I am interested in obtaining my Health Coach Certification through ACE. Would I qualify?

  10. Meredith Williams

    I’m a registered nurse with specialty in intensive care unit, psych and research. I’ve been through my own health journey during the past five years battling mold toxicity and chronic Lyme disease. Consequently I Have worked with a functional medicine doctor and have really developed a love for that modality. I Also have my instructor certification in power Pilates mat and love lifting weights and all things exercise. I wanted to get a certification in a functional medicine course and Chris Kressers looks the best to me but it’s so expensive. I would love your opinion on the courses for a registered nurse that would hit the functional medicine areas and teach about running a business since that is not my strong suit. Thank you!

  11. Jessica Ferrar

    HI, I am an elementary teacher, with background in yoga but not certified. I’m looking for career change! My friend recommended i look into WellCoach, I did watch an info video by the founder, who sounds very established in the field. I’m curious why you recommend HCI over wellcoach (I would have to do the personal coach program). It does look more affordable. I also wonder if you have heard of the masters at CIIS in integrative Health studies in San Fran.(I live in area). It’s a lot more $ but does give masters.

    • Hi Jessica, the main reason why HCI is preferred over WellCoach is because they don’t have prerequisites to enroll in the program. Many people interested in health coaching don’t have prior training or degrees, which excludes training programs like WellCoach. In regards to your second question, I’m not familiar with CIIS in San Francisco but will take a look. Hope that helps!

  12. I’m a physical therapist and would like to expand my practice to health coaching, behavioral changes (particularly motivational interviewing) and nutrition/sleep. Any program that really focuses on those areas specifically in the curriculum ? I also want a program that would be well known to clients and professionals.

    • Hi Tiffany, for the areas you’re specifically interested in, I would look into Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Health Coach Institute. All the best!

  13. Naomi H Galvan

    Hello Debby, I am Naomi from Mexico. I have always been relatively interested in the healthy option but more so in the last 10 years. I always try to cook healthy for my family, I did Yoga for 10 years (still afraid to do the handstand), I ran my first marathon 3 years ago and qualified for Boston in my second one…..I was supposed to run it this year 🙁 . I always like to read about meditation, diets, running, I listen to Podcasts that address these topics and I am always interested in trying easy and healthy recipes.

    Anyway, since I am always listening and reading everything regarding wellness I thought I might as well earn a degree or certificate for it, and that is why I am thinking of becoming a health coach and enter the IIN. Do you think IIN would be the right course for me?
    Thank you very much. Best regards, Naomi

    • Hi Naomi, it sounds as if health coaching may be a great fit for you. IIN is renowned program and would likely be a good fit. Health Coach Institute is another great option. A lot of this depends on your budget and time commitment. Hope that helps and good luck!

  14. Yen Lim Piper

    Hi, what do you think of the Integrative Health and Wellness program offered by The Andrew Weil Centre for Integrative Medicine? Can I get your comments and review on that too?

  15. Hello Debbie,
    I have been interested in taking a health/wellness coaching course for over a year. I was a certified medical assistant but unfortunately became unemployed because of downsizing, due to the virus. I am really torn as to which program to do. I want to do the online learning, I know that much. I would like to know if all the programs mentioned above offer certification after completion? Are there any hidden fees involved that I should be aware of? is there any other information that I would need to be aware of to gain certification ? ( other than passing a test ) Do the programs offer assistance in how to set up your clientele?
    Thank you for your time and dedication to the above information.

    • Hi Beth, thanks for your comment. Every program listed here offers certification upon completion of the program. As far as I’m aware, there are no hidden fees, only a one-time payment upfront. Each program also shows you how to set up and market your health coaching business to help build up your clientele. Hope that helps!

  16. Hannah H Reeves

    Hi Debbie,

    Thank you so much for this extremely helpful overview of health coach training programs. I had two quick questions I wonder if you might answer at your convenience. First, are you at all familiar with the IAWP Holistic Wellness Coaching program? If so, what are your general thoughts? Second, I’m most interested in pursuing this training to apply in a school setting. Are there programs out there that might lend themselves to working with children and schools? Many thanks again.

    • Hi Hannah, thanks for your lovely compliment. 🙂

      Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with IAWP but will look into it.

      In regards to your second question, I’m not sure whether any of these programs would be an exact fit but I saw that Dr. Sears has a program geared toward families (including children). You can learn more about it here.

      Hope that helps!

  17. Thank you for putting this informative list together. you really saved me time, continued success.

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