Health coaching is for those who want to inspire change in their clients. Many seek a way to transform themselves physically and even emotionally but have no idea where to look or where to start. Health coaches act as guideposts for them along the way, making the practice a meaningful career path for medical professionals to follow. Seeking health coaching certification is the first step.
Health coaches offer accountability and support to their beleaguered and often overwhelmed clients. They’re a helping hand in times of need, an open ear in moments of stress, and an expert in evidence-based self-improvement methodologies ranging from nutrition counseling to behavioral therapy, and everything in between.
Interested in earning a health coach certification? There are a few things you should know first:
- The average cost will range between $600 and $8,500.
- This cost varies based on the location of the program, its reputation, and other major factors.
- You can expect to spend anywhere from six months to two years earning that certification.
It’s a major commitment, but the possible rewards are limitless.
How Much Is a Health Coach Certification?
The National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC) Health Coach Certification program, for example, is one of the best options for earning a health coach certification available. This is the only program specifically aimed at working healthcare professionals. A team of highly competent healthcare providers oversees the program, ensuring its rigor and accuracy. While the program is open to those outside of healthcare, only current medical professionals are eligible to receive NSHC certification.
NSHC’s program costs only $875, making it one of the most affordable certification programs on the market. Coupled with its professional staff and a curriculum geared to experienced medical professionals, NSHC Health Coach Certification is the top choice for aspiring health coach providers. Financial aid options, such as employer reimbursements and payment plans, are also available for those who qualify.
Factors Influencing the Cost of Health Coach Certification
Reputation and Accreditation of the Program
Certification programs that are recognized by more professional accreditation bodies tend to be more expensive. This often reflects their greater commitment to quality, but also the increased potential for marketability once you’ve completed the program. Receiving a certification from a highly regarded accreditation agency can make it easier for you to secure employment as a health coach later on down the road. Employers and clients will recognize the name of your institution and associate your work with a high standard of quality.
As a result, you gain some important potential advantages:
- Giving you greater credibility in the eyes of future employers and clients.
- Opening more doors for your career in later years.
- Providing access to a broader network of like-minded healthcare professionals.
- Delivering more opportunities for career advancement and promotions.
- Using the certification as a launching point for pursuing an increased level of specialization in a more niche health coaching field.
Nevertheless, these benefits come at a cost. Since programs from highly recognized institutions tend to be more expensive, you may have a harder time meeting their financial obligations. While scholarships and financial plans are viable options for meeting them, not everyone will qualify, and others could still struggle to afford the program even with a dedicated financial plan.
Length and Depth of the Curriculum
The length of the program also has a decisive influence on its final cost. Longer programs tend to require greater levels of financial commitment, corresponding with the increased amount of time they need for completion. You’ll be spending more years of your life immersed in a comprehensive curriculum and in-person training, so the costs will rise accordingly.
Longer programs do have their advantages, however. The increased program length allows coverage of a more diverse range of topics, facilitating the development of a broader and more holistic perspective to address the multifaceted needs of the patients with whom you’ll work. That can make it easier to market yourself, get hired, and find more fulfilling employment options.
A program like this will certainly require a lot more time and energy on your part. You may find it challenging to balance your job responsibilities with the certification program’s demands for an extended period of time. The benefits could be worth it in the long run, but that does you little good if you’re overwhelmed and unable to complete the program.
The Mode of Delivery
Health coach certification programs utilize alternate forms of delivery. An in-person program can be very demanding on your time and finances. It can offer a more immersive and hands-on learning experience, one in which you can “get your hands dirty” with the curriculum, but this comes at a cost. Many people are unable to fulfill these obligations at the same time as they hold down a full- or even part-time job.
A major thing to consider about online programs, however, is the amount of self-discipline they require. Online learning programs are certainly convenient, but not everyone can be the master of their own schedule. You’ll have to plan and fulfill your own learning pace in an online program, which is often harder than it sounds.
You have to be proactive if you expect to meet assignment deadlines. That means planning your schedule and having the self-motivation to see it through. Although stereotypically a solo affair, some online classes do offer collaboration opportunities, such as group discussions accessed through online portals. This will require:
- Effective time management skills
- The willingness to actively engage in online discussions
- An ability to be open-minded when it comes to encountering the diverse points of view of your classmates.
Whether these are pros or cons for you will depend on your personality type and way of working. Online programs can be less expensive most of the time, but educational institutions still need to invest in digital infrastructure, tech support, and various curriculum management systems that can run the costs up. The flip side is that you might have access to a more comprehensive online library full of archived educational material than you would in an in-person program.
The actual physical location that hosts the program also plays a significant role in shaping the price of health certification programs. A program located in a busy metropolitan area, or areas with high costs of living, often costs more — their staff have higher living expenses and those costs trickle down to you, the student. Plus, health certification coaching programs may adjust their prices to stay in line with prevailing market conditions in their area.
The reverse can be true for programs found in less populated regions. Often favoring remote students, these certification programs can bring in students from around the country with far less overhead. They tend to have lower operating expenses, lower costs of living, and lower demand for round-the-clock support. On the other hand, they might not have the reputation or prestige of a certification program found in a busy city.
These are significant trade-offs for students to consider as they weigh their options for health coach certification programs.
Breakdown of Costs
All healthcare providers know that planning for success is the key to making sure that it happens. Before embarking on a new health coach certification program, you’re going to want a detailed breakdown of all the applicable costs you’ll be paying. Although this will naturally vary from one program to the next, you can expect to pay for these obligations at a minimum:
Tuition is the core financial component of your health coach certification cost breakdown. These fees cover the core curriculum and also any specialized training modules involved in it. They also cover the maintenance of digital and physical infrastructure needed to keep the course running, as well as the salaries of any experienced instructors involved. Without tuition fees, the course simply could not be offered.
Assessment is one of the most necessary but underestimated parts of any certification program. Many students don’t take into consideration all that goes into offering a good exam: the planning, expertise, and resources are all things instructors carefully consider in advance. The development of thought-provoking and challenging questions is something of a labor of love, which makes it time-consuming, and accordingly more expensive.
Moreover, examination fees contribute to the security, and thus integrity, of the entire certification program. Imagine a certification program whose examinations were vulnerable to cheating. The credibility of the entire institution and all its graduates is at stake if suspicion is cast on their past achievements merely by association with the program. Exam security keeps such a scenario from ever happening and so protects everybody.
Study materials play a significant role in making a quality certification program. Textbooks, of course, are the staple of all higher education classes anywhere. The writing, editing, and publication costs of these textbooks are substantial, and they’re often written by highly regarded or notable experts in the field.
That isn’t to say there aren’t other major material costs to consider. Remote learners will need a consistent way to access the internet — often, but not exclusively, in the form of a personal computer or laptop. You might also need specialized educational software or learning tools, which will have to be purchased separately before you can participate in the course.
Financial Aid and Payment Plans
Considering the challenges of handling your finances while seeking health coaching certification, many are happy to know there are options available. Students often look for payment plans to help them stretch out the burden of paying for their certification program. Instead of being forced to pay for the program in a lump sum, students can stretch those obligations out over a longer period and meet them more easily.
Yet such financial aid for health coaching plans is far from the only option available. There are also —
Scholarships and Grants
Taking a look at the various scholarship options specific to the health coaching field that are available can help applicants relieve some financial strain. Many academic institutions offer financial aid as a way of recognizing someone’s dedication to the healthcare field. Applying for scholarships and grants, especially as a working healthcare professional, can be a solid way forward.
Employer Reimbursement Programs
Many employers can help make the process of seeking health coaching certification easier. They have an incentive for doing so: the employer gains a more skilled and educated employee who can offer greater assistance with their future operations. Applicants to a health coaching program can take advantage of these reimbursement programs to pursue their educational goals.
Employer reimbursement programs vary in the extent of the costs they cover. Some will reimburse the entire value of the certification program, while others only offer a partial reimbursement. Either of these can be a great help, making this an avenue well worth pursuing for those in need.
Plans Offered By the Institutions Themselves
Educational institutions often provide customizable payment plans to students attending classes there. They aim to make their programs more accessible to a broader range of applicants, fostering unique and challenging educational opportunities among those who might not have them otherwise. Seekers of health coaching certifications can take advantage of these programs to cover a portion of their tuition costs.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Those who attain a health coaching certification receive the right to begin working as a health coach at major healthcare institutions and private practices across the country. They can even begin their own private health coaching businesses, marketing themselves to anyone interested in their services. In addition, new and exciting career opportunities open up for people with a health coaching certification.
Let’s explore the return on investment (ROI) of attaining a health coach certification and its attendant advantages.
Job Opportunities With Certification
In a tight job market like this one, someone presenting themselves with a health coaching certification from an institution like NSHC can set themselves apart. It demonstrates a range of skills and proficiency that many other applicants simply won’t bring to the table, allowing you to get ahead in the job search, find better employment, and start enjoying a more fruitful career. Having a variety of options is one of the keys to providing that, and that’s precisely what a health coaching certification provides.
Just a small selection of possible job opportunities include:
- Private health coaching – offering your services to local clients who need your expertise.
- Recovery coaching – helping those with serious addictions to restore a sense of normalcy in their lives
- Community health work – giving back to your community by leveraging your newfound healthcare skills
- Corporate health coaching – selling your services to corporate clients, often working with many people at once in group coaching sessions
A large number of options like these doesn’t just make it easier to find a job — it opens up new pathways to personal and professional growth. The inability to align personal and professional skills is always one of the main reasons people struggle to find fulfillment in their jobs. With a health coaching certification, you can truly explore the field and maneuver yourself into positions that exercise your abilities to their fullest.
Certification also provides a great deal of flexibility. A multifaceted skill set lets you be more selective in the work you take on. If your current line of employment isn’t working out for whatever reason, you’ll find it easier to leave that job and look for a better match.
Potential Salary Increases
New skills can increase your value to an organization. They position you as an immensely valuable asset, one that offers substantial contributions to the institution’s mission and core objectives. A health coaching certification shows that someone has the ability, knowledge, and wherewithal to aid the organization’s overall growth, particularly when it comes to attracting and serving new patients.
This translates into actual value for the institution, which, in turn, can translate into a higher salary for you. It also enables the certificate holder to negotiate for a higher salary at their current employment or when seeking a new job. The certification is a reflection of the significant amount of impact you can bring to the institution.
Healthcare providers are in it for the long haul. This is a career for those with a serious interest in helping others, which isn’t a switch we can just turn off when we want. As we advance and grow in the profession, we can and should develop new skills to broaden our toolbox and serve more people in need. Attaining a health coaching certification can be just the way to achieve that goal.
The National Society of Health Coaches’ affordable Health Coach Certification program offers a wonderful opportunity for working medical professionals to explore new avenues of the healthcare career. It’s a program built by clinicians and for clinicians, with the express aim of delivering an expert, rigorous, but accessible certification program to career professionals. To get started with our online health coaching program, simply sign up for it here.