What is a Health Coach?

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: November 8, 2021  •  8 min read  •  Health
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Understanding the answer to, what is a health coach, isn’t exactly straightforward. It’s important to look at the type of job this is, along with the type of clients you can help. Let’s take a deeper look at what a health coach is and how you can get into this type of career.

What is a Health Coach?

Defining a Career as a Health Coach

A health coach will help to empower those looking to work in their minds and bodies. You will work hard to help clients figure out why they make specific health choices.

A health coach can also help to provide accountability and support to clients. Identifying the challenges a client faces is a big part of this type of coaching. By using your knowledge of health and wellness, you can help people with many health issues.

With a unique skill set, being a health coach is a very important job. In addition, this type of person often helps those dealing with chronic diseases. If you decide to become a health coach, you will fill the gap in the healthcare system.

Health coaches tend to work with the least healthy patients. However, they support those dealing with many types of challenges, from chronic disease to weight loss. For example, it’s common to work with patients managing diabetes or those very overweight.

Benefits of a Health Coach for Clients

The most common benefits clients gain from health coaches start with the ability to overcome challenges. In addition, it’s common for clients to see a shift in mindset after working with a health coach.

Those with chronic diseases will often see many positive benefits. For example, health coaches can help patients with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases better understand their treatment plan and diagnosis. They can also offer emotional support.

While most of the benefits will likely be seen in the area of focus, other benefits can also be seen. Clients will commonly see the following benefits:

A health coach can work with clients to help them learn how to live a happier and healthier lifestyle.

Skills You Need to Be a Good Health Coach

A health coach is there to empower clients. The goal is to help clients make better and healthier choices. The skills necessary for this career include:

As a health coach, you’ll need to practice what you preach. It’s necessary to practice the lifestyle, diet, and exercise you preach to your clients. Health coaches should also practice a self-care regimen similar to what they advise.

Health Coach vs. Nutritionist

As a health coach, you will only say so much about exercise, lifestyle, and nutrition. The regulations will depend on your state. But, commonly, you can provide guidance in areas where you have credentials and point to resources in other areas.

Nutritionists tend to hold credentials allowing them to provide advice to clients. Therefore, health coaches may need to refer patients to nutritionists in some cases.

How a Health Coach Helps Those Working From Home

Many people are looking to gain better health. Going through a health crisis can make people see things differently. Turning to a health coach can help with some new lifestyle changes for those working from home.

Working from home is a big adjustment for many. Health coaches can help people navigate these issues. As a health coach, you can make recommendations to help people exercise without a gym, get the right amount of sleep, and live a healthier lifestyle.

Education Requirements to Become a Health Coach

There are a couple of options if you want to become a health coach. The traditional route often includes getting a bachelor’s degree. This degree can be in counseling, speech, and communications, psychology, or sociology. Of course, you should also study things, such as nutrition and food science, along with physical therapy.

While getting a college degree can be rather beneficial, it’s not required. A health coach will need a certification from one of the national organizations. Many colleges offer health coach programs. Some may have a specific focus, such as fitness, but others may be more general.

Many of the health coach certification programs are offered online. This can allow you to get the training you need without needing to go to an actual classroom. It’s common for coaching programs to offer some training on finding clients and running your own private business, too.

Top Reasons People Use a Health Coach

Better Diet

It’s really common for people to seek a health coach when they know their diet isn’t helping them. So whether it’s a better diet for diabetes, weight loss, or for another reason, many clients will come to you for dietary help.

In some cases, it might be necessary to figure out some food allergies. Health coaches will likely help clients figure out which foods they should keep and eliminate.


Sometimes, clients need accountability. This is very helpful for people without a strong will. As a health coach, you will help people stay motivated to choose healthier foods and a better lifestyle. With good training, you’ll be able to help your clients remain accountable.

Find a Healthier Lifestyle

Clients might not be able to figure out how to practice a healthier lifestyle on their own. From advice about career, exercise, relationships, and mindset, you can help people find the right style of living for their needs.

Clients will come to health coaches for many different reasons. However, it’s common for people to need help, especially if they are struggling with specific health concerns or chronic diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions About Health Coaching

How much do health coaches make each year?

According to Salary.com, the salary range for a health coach is about $41K to $55K. Payscale.com puts the average pay per hour at about $20.59. This website puts the salary range at about $33K to $74K per year.

Is health coaching a growing field?

Yes, it has become a $6 billion market over the past few years. With many employment opportunities available, you can work in private practice or at a hospital or a medical clinic.

Where do health coaches work most commonly?

It’s common for health coaches to run a private coaching business. Many will also work in a corporate setting or a medical clinic. Some hospitals hire health coaches, and you can even find some jobs offered by the CDC, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and other larger medical organizations. Some health coaches may also work with universities or colleges.

Is virtual health coaching a career option?

Yes. Many health coaches work from home and help their clients virtually. This is a great way to keep overhead costs down and help more clients all across the country.

How much do health coaches charge when working for themselves?

It’s common for health coaches new to the profession to charge $50 to $75 per session. Usually, a session will last 45 minutes to an hour. More experienced coaches will usually charge between $100 and $200 per session.

Some insurance carriers will cover health coaching. As a health coach, this means you might be able to accept HSA dollars to pay for sessions.

What type of job titles do health coaches commonly hold?

It’s common for health coaches to hold many different titles. Of course, the most common is simply a health coach. Other titles you might hold in this career include:

These titles may also include specialties. For example, you might work with specific types of patients suffering from specific diseases.

Which certification programs are the most popular for health coaches?

There are several great options if you want to become a health coach through a certification program. Some of the most popular include The American Council on Exercise, Wellcoaches School of Coaching, Duke Integrative Medicine, Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, and The National Society of Health Coaches.

These programs represent some of the best you will find and come highly recommended by current health coaches.

Is Becoming a Health Coach Right For You?

If you’re interested in helping people live happier and healthier lives, becoming a health coach might be a good career path. This type of job offers plenty of satisfaction. In addition, you can help clients become healthier by supporting them and holding them accountable.

As a health coach, you will be working in the specialty of life coaching. With the right training, you can help others for a living and earn a nice salary. It’s even possible to work for yourself as a health coach.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.