How to Become a Health Coach
Duties, Responsibilities, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary
Health Coaches are passionate advocates who use clinical interventions and strategies to safely engage clients in behavior changes. These professionals are experts on human behavior, motivation, and health. If you possess strong communication skills, enjoy motivating others, and excel at independent work, becoming a Health Coach could be a great career choice for you. Through your efforts, you can help people around the world better themselves and build new habits.
One of the many perks of this position is the ability to work remotely. In fact, we featured Health Coaches on our list of the best work from home nursing jobs. We’ve put together this career guide to help you better understand the role of a Health Coach.
(Click here to see our full list of the best work from home nursing jobs).
Continue reading to learn more about the requirements, responsibilities, training, salary, and job outlook of Health Coaches.
Health Coach Definition
What is a Health Coach?
Health Coaches collaborate with patients through a number of purposeful, structured actions to help them achieve their individual goals and needs. Perhaps most importantly, they teach patients how to recognize and live healthy lifestyles. However, nurse coaching is more than just identifying healthy choices. They use their knowledge and skills to help patients understand how they can adapt a better lifestyle.
Think about it like this: Nursing Health Coaches guide patients toward comprehension, not memorization.
Health Coach Duties & Responsibilities
What Does a Health Coach Do?
The primary goal of a Health Coach is to advocate for the wellbeing of their patients. To ensure this, they might negotiate with insurance companies, speak with doctors on a patient’s half, and devise plans to meet their patient’s economic needs. Health Coaches want to provide their patients with the tools to make beneficial and informed decisions about their lifestyle, health, and treatment.
Some of the day-to-day job responsibilities of a Health Coach include:
- Assessing a client’s current health condition.
- Developing health goals for a client.
- Providing counseling services.
- Documenting a client’s progress.
- Conducting behavioral health screenings.
- Establishing a treatment plan.
Where Do Health Coaches Work?
Since many Health Coaches create their own schedule, work one-on-one with patients, and offer online sessions, a good portion of their work is solitary. In some positions, a Health Coach can work from home in order to benefit from a quieter, more controlled environment.
These remote professionals may work at home or in person for hospitals, fitness centers, public health organizations, large corporations, insurance companies, nursing homes, nonprofit agencies, training centers, or more.
Health Coach Hours
Health Coaches typically work during regular business hours. They also tend to fill full-time positions at 40+ hours per week. On occasion, they may need to work outside of regular business hours and assist their patients. Overall, health coaches are generally known to have flexible work hours.
Health Coach Skills
Becoming a Health Coach might be a great fit for you if you:
- Offer strong interpersonal communication skills
- Develop positive relationships with patients as well as family members
- Work with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians or dieticians
- Enjoy organization, sending emails, making telephone calls, etc.
- Feel passionate about health and want to inspire others
- Excel at multitasking, problem solving, and time management
- Are resourceful and eager to find solutions to problems
- Approach tasks with a patient and dedicated mindset
- Work well with others, various types of personalities, etc.
Health Coach Schooling & Certification
How Long Does It Take to Become a Health Coach?
What Degree Do You Need to Be a Health Coach?
In order to be qualified for the role of a Nursing Health Coach, you will likely need to earn an advanced nursing degree. Most nursing Health Coaches start by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. It’s vital that they also obtain an active RN license so that they can show their credentials as well as their experience. Some schools even focus on nurse coaching to help these nurses enter their chosen profession.
It’s highly recommended that nursing Health Coaches pursue certification.
If you’d like to become a Health Coach, then you’ll need to take the following steps:
1. Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN)
The first step to becoming a Nursing Health Coach is to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Candidates of BSN programs must usually submit various application materials, such as academic transcripts, GRE scores, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.
The core nursing classes during a BSN program often include the following topics:
- Professional nursing
- Health assessment
- Family nursing
- Medical and surgical care
- Nursing management
- Psychosocial nursing
2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Licensure Exam
The next step is to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) developed two exams to test the competence of aspiring RNs and LPNs/LVNs.
Learn more about the NCLEX and what to expect with this detailed FAQ section.
(You can also click here to learn more on how to become a nurse).
3. Consider Certification
While certification is optional for Health Coaches, it would likely be beneficial to pursue it. The primary certification for these professionals is the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC). The AHNCC currently offers two credentials: the Nurse Coach (NC-BC) and the Health and Wellness Nurse Coach (HWNC-BC). Similarly, the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching offers a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach (HBC-HWC) credential.
Health Coach School Cost
So, how much does it cost to become a Health Coach? As previously stated, most Nursing Health Coaches have earned a bachelor’s degree. If they choose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, the cost will depend on the institution.
However, you can probably expect to pay anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 when this process is all said and done.
Work from Home Opportunities
Nursing Health Coaches are able to empower patients from the comfort of their homes. The job itself allows nurses to become independent and even self-employed. While some Health Coaches work for insurance companies, hospitals, hospices, or other medical services, they can often work for themselves and apply their particular skillset.
To find open positions, visit job boards at websites like registerednursing.org. Other helpful organizations include the below:
Health Coach’s Salary
How Much Does a Health Coach Make?
According to RegisteredNursing.org, the average salary of a nursing Health Coach is around $66,000 per year or about $32 per hour. While their salary can range between $43,000 and $87,000 annually, Health Coaches in the 90th percentile can earn more than $90,000 per year.
(Click here to learn about the highest paid nursing jobs).
Health Coach Job Outlook
Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) may not offer specific job outlook data for Health Coaches at this time, they do predict great overall growth for Health Education Specialists, Community Health Workers, and Registered Nurses throughout the next decade.
According to the BLS, employment of Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers is projected to grow 17 percent by 2030. On the other hand, the BLS has predicted that overall employment of RNs will likely grow 9 percent by 2030.
Why Pursue a Career as a Health Coach?
If you’re looking for a new career in the medical field, you might want to consider becoming a Nursing Health Coach. In this role, you can become an expert on human behavior, motivation, and health. Your skills fill a crucial role in the public health infrastructure across the globe. In addition, you can act as a change agent who helps people achieve their goals and build better habits.
If you’re an aspiring nurse but don’t know where to begin, you can earn your Vocational Nursing diploma, BSN degree, or enroll in any of our other nursing programs at Unitek College.