The 5 Best Health Coach Certifications w/Prices & Reviews
Best Overall: ISSA Certified Health Coach Certification
Founded in 1988, ISSA is a leader in fitness education that delivers practical distance learning solutions. ISSA offers 3 custom Health Coaching Programs to fit your interests and prospective clients. Watch your income grow by an average of + $4,000 per year, for each specialized certification you hold. Health Coaches address obstacles bigger than what can be solved in the gym. They provide the guidance needed to help clients with health conditions and develop programs that empower these individuals — providing insight, accountability, and motivation to make lasting positive change. ISSA Certified Health Coaches offer an essential service to trainers, other health professionals, and clients.
ISSA Health Coach Certification
This a comprehensive online course for fitness professionals who want to broaden their careers, and provide their clients with a holistic solution to managing their health and wellness. If you're looking for a way to expand your fitness career, the Health Coach Certification by ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) is a top-notch program. The online certification is open to certified personal trainers and other health professionals Founded in 1988, ISSA is the global leader in online fitness and wellness education and certifications. ISSA is accredited by the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) and the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS).
As an ISSA Certified Health Coach, you’ll guide your clients to create lifestyle and behavior change that supports optimal health and longevity and impact your clients' lives for the better. The course teaches essential skills so you can coach and help clients with weight management, improving sleep and recovery, setting and achieving goals, creating mental and emotional
well-being, and managing stress.
This 100 percent online course offers guided study resources, lecture videos, scenarios, and a library of client intake forms and job aids. Everything you need to know is included in the ISSA Certified Health Coach textbook which is available in digital form and you also have the option to purchase the book in paperback. Their guided study provides chapters from the textbook, lecture videos to accompany the chapters, and quizzes to test your knowledge in a total of 10 modules- designed to be completed in as few as 10 weeks. ISSA also offers unlimited educational support via 24/7 live chat, phone, or email.
From the day you enroll, you’ll be assigned an educational advisor and a designated success coach to mentor you, answer any questions and help you complete the program. The self-paced course takes an average of eight weeks to complete, culminating in an online final exam to earn your Health Coaching certification. When you pass, you’ll have access to an online printable certification and will receive a physical credential via mail.
To learn more about this course, click here.
ISSA partners with Trustpilot, an independent review site that gathers customer feedback. According to Trustpilot, ISSA has an excellent 4.7 out of 5 rating with over 8,000 reviews. You can read the customer reviews here. ISSA also has a Facebook business page, followed by over 98,000 people. ISSA was also named the best personal trainer certification by our staff who compared over 50 different certification platforms.
ISSA offers three custom Health Coaching Programs – which include additional course specializations, including Nutritionist, Exercise Recovery, Weight Management, Yoga Instructor, Online Coaching, and more – so you can pick the program that best fits your interests and the needs of your clients. ISSA Health Coach Certification courses start at $99/month.
Try ISSA for free! Become a Certified Health Coach
Our Other Favorite Options:
- Best for Newcomers: Dr. Sears Wellness Institute
A well-rounded online program with no prerequisites for career changers.
- Best University-based Program: Duke Health & Well Being
Designed for people with some professional experience or college education, this program enables graduates to sit for a certifying examination.
- Best for Those with a Personal Training Certification: American Council on Exercise
Expand your credentials with this online program accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
- Best for Holistic or Integrative Health: Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Explore the mind-body connection through this long-running program that examines how stress and relationships impact one’s health as much as nutrition.
- Best for Building a Coaching Business: Health Coach Institute
Earn a dual foundation in health and life coaching while learning business and marketing strategies.
Best for Newcomers: Dr. Sears Wellness Institute
If you’re interested in changing careers and becoming a health coach—or enhancing the training you already have—the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute has one of the most accessible and top-rated programs in the industry. It doesn’t require students to have a related bachelor’s degree, and all of its training is online.
More than 10 leading agencies in the health and fitness industry, including the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) certify its training. Its science-based curriculum follows the philosophy of Dr. William Sears for healthy living: lifestyle, exercise, attitude, and nutrition.
The institute’s goal is to provide students with the tools, practical skills, and confidence to succeed as a Certified Health Coach or Master Certified Health Coach. In addition to these certifications, the institute offers specialized programs targeting different stages of life, including:
- Pregnancy Coach
- Adults and Seniors Coach
- Families Coach
Courses vary from six to 36 weeks, and they’re all online. You don’t need specialized software, just high-speed internet and an up-to-date web browser.
For some certifications, the institute requires students to attend weekly live lectures but has a flexible schedule. Overall, the coursework includes videos, e-learning, live support, peer interaction, and marketing strategies to help you launch your health coaching business. The institute also allows certified students to teach its workshops and seminars after graduation.
Harvard Health Publishing ranks the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute among “the most popular and well-respected” Health Coach Certification programs. Graduates share their reviews here.
The Dr. Sears Wellness Institute has different tiers of instruction, all with payment plans. Costs are as follows:
- Health coach training with one life-stage specialty: $945
- Training with two life-stage specialties: $1,345
- Training with three life-stage specialties: $1,645
For more information, click “Contact” on the institute’s homepage, or call (866) 446-1967.
Best University-Based Program: Duke Health & Well Being
The Integrative Health Coach Professional Training Foundation Course at Duke Health & Well Being is designed for people with a college background or some professional experience. It combines an online curriculum with experiential practice and instructor-led training, either fully online or in person at Duke’s campus in Durham, North Carolina.
The in-person course involves two four-day training modules roughly six to eight weeks apart, along with distance-learning components. It also includes lectures, small-group learning exercises, experiential practice, live coaching demonstrations, and mentored feedback.
The online program takes place over roughly 18 weeks, with three-hour weekly live webinars after an online orientation period. Similar to the in-person program, it involves live instruction, experiential practice, coaching demonstrations, and mentored feedback. The online program also has distance-learning components about coaching topics and demonstrations.
For either program, completing the course requires a written examination. Graduates earn a certificate of completion and continuing education units, as well as credits for the International Coaching Federation’s Continuing Coach Education (CCE) program.
The NBHWC also approves this as a Transition Program, with graduates eligible to take the board’s health and wellness certifying examination.
Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field. The program might consider exceptions for people with three or more years of professional experience in medicine or a similar field.
Harvard Health Publishing ranks the Duke program among “the most popular and well-respected” Health Coach Certification programs. Graduates share their reviews here.
The Integrative Health Coach Professional Training Foundation Course costs $5,500, paid in full regardless of format. However, there is a 10% discount for early registration, as well as a 15% discount for Duke Affiliates.
For more information, use the online “Contact Us” form, or call (866) 313-0959.
Best for Those with a Personal Training Certification: American Council on Exercise
If you’re a personal trainer who wants to broaden your expertise, check out the American Council on Exercise (ACE)’s Health Coach Certification. You don’t need to be an ACE-certified personal trainer to enroll, but the program does require two years of related experience or an associate’s degree.
Accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the ACE Health Coach Certification program focuses on the principles of lifestyle medicine and behavior-change science. In addition to exercise professionals, people who work in the clinical setting might benefit from its techniques.
Fully online, the program has three learning tiers. All include video lectures and coaching sessions, quizzes, and digital or hard copies of a textbook and workbook. All tiers have access to a live Q&A session, a Facebook study group, and the ACE Answers resource center. The top tier, Advantage, also has a live online class and one-on-one support.
All students can take the certification exam from home. The tuition includes payment plans, as well as occasional discounts advertised on the ACE home page.
If you’re curious about the curriculum, fill out this online form to download a free preview.
The ACE Health Coach Certification program earns top marks from industry peers, as well as students via its Facebook page.
Prices for three different levels of the ACE Health Coach Certification program are as follows:
- Basic: $999 (on sale at this writing for $649)
- Plus: $1,299 (on sale as of this writing for $844, or $71 per month)
- Advantage: $1,799 (on sale as of this writing for $1,169, or $98 per month)
For more information, visit the ACE website or call (888) 825-3636.
Best for Holistic or Integrative Health: Institute for Integrative Nutrition
If you’d like to highlight the mind-body connection in your health coaching, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) offers a holistic approach to nutrition and wellness. It doesn’t focus solely on food but also teaches how to nourish people through spirituality, relationships, and physical activity.
Founded roughly 30 years ago, the IIN says it has more than 100,000 students and graduates across 175 countries. The curriculum covers roughly 100 diverse dietary theories from modern Western medicine to ancient Eastern traditions.
The IIN offers both a one-year program for students who work full time or have various obligations, as well as a six-month accelerated program. Both have materials and resources also available in Spanish for students who read and write in English but would like additional Spanish-speaking support, such as participating in discussion activities.
Graduates receive a certificate of completion, which allows them to apply and sit for a board certification exam from the NBHWC or the International Associate for Health Coaches (IAHC).
To enroll, students need a high school diploma or GED. The IIN also enables prospective students to try a class for free. Just fill out the online form and click on “Send Me My Class!” at the bottom of this webpage.
The IIN has several student reviews here, answering questions such as, “What can I do when I graduate?” and “Is integrative nutrition really going to help me get healthier?”
The one-year or six-month programs each cost $6,795. The IIN offers payment plans.
For more information, visit the IIN’s website or call (877) 730-5444.
Best for Business Support: Health Coach Institute
If you love the idea of helping others as a health coach but you’re intimidated by the thought of launching your own business, the Health Coach Institute (HCI) includes mentorship and support to help you get started with confidence.
Accredited by the International Coaching Federation, the HCI’s Health Coaching Certificate combines the certifications of a health coach and a life coach. Students study neuroscience, healthy lifestyle design, psychology, habit changing, and intuitive listening, as well as holistic practices to help others set and achieve goals regarding their health, careers, money, and relationships.
The six-month Health Coaching Certificate program includes an online curriculum, plus one-on-one coaching and support. Students also have access to an active student community of private online groups, partner practice labs, and live networking events.
To learn more about building your business, HCI offers a 12-month Coach Mastery program, which includes advanced coaching programs and instruction in sales and marketing techniques.
HCI also provides access to a free class to test out the material. Just fill out the online form on its FAQ page.
HCI has an “Excellent” rating from the consumer reviews site Trustpilot. It also features several student reviews here.
The Health Coach Certificate program costs $6,950, which HCI reduces to $4,450 when paid in full. HCI also has a monthly payment program starting at $299. For the cost of the Coach Mastery program, HCI suggests speaking with a representative by calling (800) 303-2399.
For more information, click on “Request Info” on HCI’s programs page, or call (800) 303-2399.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a Health Coach?
A health coach isn’t a medical professional such as a doctor or a registered dietician. Rather, a health coach helps clients develop behavioral changes and practices that set them on the path to a healthier lifestyle. These experts balance their training in nutrition, health, and exercise with education about motivation and human behavior.
A health coach creates a comfortable environment where clients can explore and discuss their health and wellness goals. These might involve losing weight, making dietary changes due to a health condition, building muscle or stamina for a race, boosting everyday energy, managing stress, or even sleeping better.
Although they’re not therapists, health coaches narrow down the reasons why people need or want to improve their health and discover the obstacles and challenges that prevent them from doing so. They provide support, accountability, and guidance.
You might find health coaches connected with various medical and health centers, including:
- Family practices and pediatricians’ offices
- Occupational therapy offices
- Gyms and spas
- Athletic studios
- Senior centers and retirement communities
- Public and private schools
- Government agencies
- Insurance companies
Many also open their own wellness centers or produce books, videos, podcasts, and nutritional products. Some provide coaching through apps and websites, as well as by phone.
How Do I Become a Certified Health Coach?
Becoming a certified health coach involves finding an accredited or certified training program, of which there are many. A January 2021 report from Marketdata includes a list of 75 approved training certification programs.
Although you don’t need to choose from the ones highlighted here, selecting an accredited program from a widely recognized organization such as the NBHWC ensures you’re receiving thorough and up-to-date material. It also boosts potential clients’ trust.
Many of these training programs take three months to one year to complete. Much like the ones we’ve mentioned here, they also have online curriculums that are flexible for people with part-time or full-time jobs or other commitments.
Is Hiring a Health Coach Worth It?
One study notes that 60% of Americans want health coaching, but 80% say this type of coaching has never been offered to them. For people who want to lower high blood pressure, lose weight, and improve their cardiovascular fitness, a health coach might have just the strategies and motivation necessary to ease them away from poor habits.
Some people want to pursue a healthier lifestyle but don’t know how to take those first steps. Others are unsure how to work healthy snacks, exercise, and stress relief into an already-busy schedule. A health coach’s guidance, listening skills, and gentle accountability can prove invaluable.
A person’s health insurance or employer might partially cover such an expense. One 2021 report notes that 86% of the $3.5 trillion annual health care expenditures in the United States are for people with chronic and mental health conditions. Health coaching may reduce these costs by assisting people with lifestyle changes.
How Much Do Health Coaches Earn?
As of January 2021, there are an estimated 128,000 health coaches and health educators nationwide with an annual average salary of $55,220. However, this can vary depending on education, experience, skills, and client base. One report found that health coaches can earn about $50,000 or more, or roughly $25 to $100 an hour.
In any case, health coaching is a $7.1 billion industry that’s only expected to grow. One forecast estimates there will be about 137,000 practicing health coaches in the United States by 2025 in a market worth $8.87 billion.