March 29, 2022

If you’re interested in a rewarding career that allows you to help people reach better physical, mental, and emotional well-being, you might consider looking into health coaching.

This career could have you writing a meal plan for a client who wants to go plant-based, checking in on fitness goals with someone who’s trying to lose weight, and researching herbal supplements for adrenal support… all in the course of a day.

In the wide world of wellness, there’s no limit on what kind of path you can take as a health coach. Let’s explore more.

What Does a Health Coach Do?

A health coach’s job is to empower clients with the tools, strategies, and encouragement to reach their individual health goals. Whether a client is looking to lose weight, decrease stress, or better manage a chronic condition, a health coach can help provide tangible action steps to help them achieve this.

Unlike a nutrition coach, a health coach doesn’t necessarily hone in on the culinary aspect of a client’s journey to better health. Instead, food is one factor in the bigger picture. Health coaches may also take into account fitness and movement, stress management, sleep patterning, curbing addictions or unhealthy coping mechanisms, and much more. It’s important to note that they do not treat specific medical conditions or make diagnoses – practices which would require additional education and credentialing.

There is no standard certification, license, or educational requirement to become a health coach, although certifying bodies do exist for those looking to add legitimacy to their business.

How to Become a Health Coach

Due to the array of options for health coaches, there is no singular prescribed path to this profession. However, there are certain steps you can take to pursue a successful career in this field.

Obtain an Education

Since there isn’t a standard certification or credential for all health coaches, there is also no degree requirement. But having an education can help you speak from a more informed perspective and may help you answer that tough question from a future client.

Plus, exploring wellness concepts like mindfulness and meditation, optimal sleep and stress management, and herbalism and nutrient-rich diets can also help better equip you to make helpful recommendations to your future clients. Escoffier’s Exploring Wellness Concepts courses can teach these theories and many more.

Additionally, since health coaching is a solo profession – even if you’re working within a larger organization – honing skills in communication, entrepreneurship, and psychology can go a long way in the success of your coaching.

Woman teaching on her computer while holding a green bell pepper

With this kind of well-rounded education, you can also set yourself up for managing the business side of health coaching (bookkeeping, sound decision-making, etc.) as well as the interpersonal side (encouraging distraught clients, shifting stubborn thought patterns, etc.)

Get Experience in the Field

Of course, the only way to become an excellent health coach is to actually practice health coaching. By working directly with clients, you can gain the valuable experience needed to excel on your path as you continue to hone your skills.

John Hadala, Line Cook, Il Posto; Culinary Arts graduate“One of the best parts about Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is they can help you along the way to find externships… I went in and talked to the Sous Chef and then started going in two days a week to learn prior to my externship. At the end of my externship, my Sous Chef said that if I gave him a few weeks, he could probably get me a job. You have to be patient in small kitchens, and you have to let them know how you feel too.”
John Hadala, Escoffier Culinary Arts graduate

One great way of doing this is through a hands-on industry externship. At Escoffier, degree and diploma students must complete either one or two externships as a requirement for graduation.

Externships can allow you to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to real-world clients and situations. They also may provide valuable networking opportunities with professionals in the field.

Specialties in Health Coaching

Health coaching can take a variety of forms. Depending on the types of populations you wish to work with, you could pursue health coaching in the following niches.

Comprehensive or Holistic Health Coaching

Working with clients to achieve their health goals sounds broad, but this allows for comprehensive coaching practices. If you’re interested in helping everyday people to reach outcomes like lowering blood pressure, stopping smoking, or getting better quality sleep, a well-rounded health coaching practice may be for you.

This niche could also include holistic nutrition, as you might help your clients incorporate healthier eating habits into their overall roadmap to better health. Knowing some concepts in psychology can help you better coach people to make the mindset shifts they may need for the breakthrough they’re looking to achieve.

A nutrition coach is filming a video on her phone with cucumber, tomatoes, and other vegetables

Athletic or Fitness-Related Health Coaching

These health coaches might work with average people looking to lose weight – for personal or health-related reasons. They may also work with athletes who are looking to improve their performance.

This type of health coaching can require deep knowledge in nutrition and culinary concepts, as well as exercise science. It may require knowledge of special diets, substitutions for allergies, and anti-inflammatory aids.

Like holistic health coaching, it will typically require thorough understanding of human behavior and strategies for shifting problematic mindsets.

Corporate Health Coaching

Many companies seek to promote health and well-being in their workforces, whether to increase employee satisfaction and productivity or to meet benchmarks for health insurance incentives. Often, health coaches are brought into corporations to provide programs for groups of employees.

Health coach speaking to a class while standing in front a board with nutrition facts

This could look like making nutrition presentations to staff teams at lunchtime, holding regular “office hours” allowing individuals to come in for health consultations, or even designing and delivering fitness programs. Some corporate health coaches work with one company solely, while others may serve in a consulting role for several companies at once.

Special Population Health Coaching

There exists a wealth of opportunities for working with special populations to promote better health. If you’re seeking an older demographic, you might consider pursuing geriatric health coaching in a hospital, nursing home, or retirement community.

If you’re passionate about encouraging healthy habits with kids, you could look into health coaching in schools, camps, or after-school programs.

Empowering women during their pregnancies might be your calling, and in this case you could work one-on-one with clients in prenatal or postnatal wellness. These opportunities to support women’s health might exist via partnership with a medical provider or practice or even a gym or yoga studio.

Taking the First Step

As we’ve discussed, there are no specific or industry-regulated degree requirements for becoming a health coach. That said, a formal education in the field of wellness can lay the groundwork for a career in this field, as well as fostering your future clients’ trust and confidence in your services.

“As far as the cost, Escoffier was definitely worth it. You can’t put a price tag on knowledge and education.”
Brent Unruh, Escoffier Boulder Campus Graduate

Escoffier offers a robust holistic nutrition program with a foundation in the culinary arts. By earning a degree or diploma in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness, you can help set yourself on the path to a fulfilling and potentially lucrative career as a health coach.

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*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.