How to Become a Wellness Coach and Transform Lives

how to become a wellness coach

Working as a wellness coach can be one of the most rewarding careers. You get paid for helping people transform what might be the most important aspect of life. Well-being is the foundation for everything else, including harmonious relationships and a thriving career or business.

If the idea of wellness coaching sparked something within you, your next step is to learn how to become a wellness coach. In this article, we’ll explore different trainings to help you decide which is right for you. 

What is A Wellness Coach?

Wellness coaches help their clients feel better and achieve their health goals. They often have a broader scope of work than health coaches, although some use the terms interchangeably.

One way of distinguishing them is that wellness coaches focus more on the “softer” factors behind peak health, such as spirituality and stress management.

In contrast, health coaches may work on holistic healing of physical disease, nutrition, or weight management.

A wellness coach can also help clients with a positive mindset, self-esteem, and work-life balance. Thus, becoming a wellness coach can be a great option if you want to work with people who aren’t necessarily ill or need to change their diet but want to improve their mental or emotional well-being. 

Life Coaches vs. Wellness Coaches

To define what a wellness coach does, we compared the definition to that of a health coach. But what is the difference between a life coach and a wellness coach? 

A life coach has an even broader scope. They help clients with relationships, health, wellness, career, fitness, mindset, time management, and business. Life coaches care about balancing all areas of their clients’ lives. 

Ultimately, your niche choice comes down to where you want to place yourself on the scale, from general to specific. Do you prefer the novelty of solving different problems for each client? Or does the thought of focusing on one or a few well-defined issues and becoming an expert on them excite you? That can give hints on whether you want to become a life or wellness coach. 

And remember – you can always change your title later! Perhaps you’ve been working with a client and discovered you were passionate about helping them solve that problem. Some examples of titles to explore are happiness coach and mental health coach. Remember that you may need a certification for certain types of coaching, such as mental health. 

How to Become a Wellness Coach 

In contrast to other professions, you don’t need a certification to start to work with clients as a wellness coach. You might still want to pursue a wellness coach certification for different reasons, such as confidence, knowledge, and credibility. 

The most critical factor in becoming a successful wellness coach is being able to help your clients achieve results. A recommendation within the coaching space is to coach something you have personal experience with and have overcome.

For example, you may have experienced burnout, which led you to change your priorities and lead a more stress-free lifestyle. Or, you may have struggled with anxiety or a negative mindset and found a way to recover and thrive. Look back at your health issues and wins, and you’ll find a great place to start.

Create coaching packages for streamlined transformations 

Once you have become a wellness coach (congratulations!), the last thing you want is to get stuck on the tech part and postpone offering your valuable services.

Paperbell can help you get started as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Our software lets you create custom coaching packages in a few clicks – either for 1:1 coaching, group coaching, or a hybrid. You can include files and PDFs with homework, offer payment plans, and free discovery calls. All to make your business and life as simple as possible and help you focus on what you love – coaching your clients to greater well-being!

Wellness Coach Certifications

You have many options if you pursue a wellness coach certification. 

The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching is an organization that quality-assures health and wellness coaching. Choosing a training program approved by the board is a quality stamp that can help add credibility, especially when you’re new. 

A ​​national board-certified health and wellness coach must pass a centralized exam proving their skills. 

Here are our recommendations for becoming a certified wellness coach.

Some programs require a bachelor’s degree, while others suit wellness professionals or individuals passionate about lifestyle changes.

Most are board-approved, with some also recognized by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

  1. Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach Training Program
Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach Training Program

The wellness coaching certification from Mayo Clinic has an excellent reputation. It is 100% online and only 12 weeks long, yet it covers many relevant topics, including how to incorporate self-care into your coaching career.

A drawback is that you need a bachelor’s degree. Although the curriculum is relatively short, you must complete 50 practice hours before getting certified.

Pricing: $4,900 

2. Duke University’s Integrative Health Coach Training 

Duke University’s Integrative Health Coach Training

Lifestyle changes get easier if our daily habits support them. That’s the philosophy of Duke University’s highly acclaimed health coach certification. This 10-month certification is rooted in the science behind behavior change. It includes experiential practice so that you’re ready to coach upon graduation!

Pricing: $5,500 

3. Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN)

Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN)

This program from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition provides holistic health coaching skills. Besides course modules focusing on nutrition, the school teaches you how to guide clients toward their goals in all areas of life, including career, spirituality, and relationships.

IIN uses the concept of primary and secondary foods. Primary foods nourish you outside of what you eat: relationships, workouts, spirituality, career, and education. Their philosophy is that these components are more critical to your overall health and well-being than the food on your plate (secondary foods).

IIN offers a year-long training that can be condensed into six months.

Note: Besides your IIN degree, you must take a three-month course to be eligible for the board exam and become a certified health coach with the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching. 

Pricing: Starts at $2,995 for six months. 

4. Health Coach Institute – Dual Life & Health Coach Certificate Program

Health Coach Institute – Dual Life & Health Coach Certificate Program

Can’t decide on your niche? Then, Health Coach Institute’s dual certification program might be for you! 

This certification is ICF-approved. The flexible format lets you complete the program in 6 to 12 months, depending on your busy schedule. The founders are successful coaches and online entrepreneurs, and they’re sharing their business-building skills in the curriculum to ensure you’ll be able to coach and make good money doing so.

Pricing: $5,950. Health Coach Institute will pay back your tuition if you don’t get a paying client.

5. International Association of Wellness Professionals – Holistic Wellness Coach Curriculum

International Association of Wellness Professionals – Holistic Wellness Coach Curriculum

If you believe wellness is about more than the food you eat and your exercise routine, this might be the wellness coaching certification for you. The International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP) offers holistic wellness coach training that takes a 360-degree perspective on health. This certification covers 12 aspects of human health and wellness and dives into topics such as money, sunshine, and air quality. 

It is an excellent alternative if you want a truly holistic approach to health. That said, if you prefer to focus on the health side of the wellness spectrum, one of the other options may suit you better.

Pricing: Not mentioned on the page – visitors are prompted to book a free call. 

6. Emory University’s Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate

Emory University’s Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate

The Emory University’s Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate is a 20-week academic immersion. You’ll get an academic certification with an excellent reputation. The program offers a mix of theory and hands-on practice. 

You need a bachelor’s degree and 100% attendance on the practice sessions to get certified. So, if you’re on a tight schedule, you may want to look at one of the other trainings that offer more flexibility.

Pricing: $4,995 

7. University of North Dakota Health and Wellness Coach Certification

University of North Dakota Health and Wellness Coach Certification

This graduate certification from the University of North Dakota is another program on the academic end of the wellness coaching spectrum. With a one-year curriculum, you’ll have ample time to go deep into nutrition and other areas of health. Besides coaching skills, you’ll learn how to create a personalized workout program and diet plan for your clients. 

That said, this program focuses heavily on nutrition. It might not be your first choice if you want more lifestyle and spiritual aspects. 

Pricing: $747 

8. Institute for Wellness Education – Wellness Coach Training Certification

Institute for Wellness Education – Wellness Coach Training Certification

Becoming a certified wellness coach with the Institute for Wellness Education will teach you to coach well. The course is online and self-paced, making it a great option if you have a lot on your plate. It looks outside the individual and covers social, environmental, and spiritual wellness. 

However, it is shorter (36-50 hours) and doesn’t include mentorship by an accredited coach, as some other trainings do. 

Pricing: $895 

Wellness Coach Certifications

Your Future As A Thriving Wellness Coach

Working as a wellness coach is incredibly rewarding. You help people transform their well-being, which supports harmonious relationships and successful careers.

If wellness coaching excites you, the next step is to explore how to become one. Browse the options in this article, and you’ll likely find training that suits your wellness philosophy and budget.

how to become a wellness coach

By Linnea Segerstedt
Linnea Segerstedt has been a freelance writer since 2016. In addition, she holds two coaching certifications – one in holistic health and one in relationship coaching. When she's not crafting top-ranking articles, she can be found longboarding, drinking cacao, and creating art in Tulum, Mexico.
June 7, 2024

Are You Undercharging?

Find Out In This Free Report

Ever wondered exactly what other coaches are offering, and ​for how much? Find out if you’re charging too much or too ​little by benchmarking your own rates with this free report.

Subscribe to our updates for instant access: