State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields

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Career Path on How to Become a Health Coach

As health care costs continue to surge, more American companies are beginning to hire health coaches to establish workplace wellness programs for employees. In fact, according to the Huffington Post, 51% of all employers with a workforce of fifty or more employees created workplace wellness programs in 2013. With over 500 vendors selling these programs, workplace wellness is estimated to be a $6 billion industry. 

Health care professionals that intend to become a health coach typically have either an undergraduate or graduate degree an applicable discipline. After earning a degree, aspiring health coaches acquire experience in the field through job positions, internships or volunteerism. To establish creditability, many health coaches also become certified professionals.

Job Description for Health Coaches

The main function of a health coaches is to help clients to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. Examples of specific duties may 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 client’s treatment plan

Education for Health Coaches

Students interested in a health coach career should begin by completing a bachelor’s degree in a field-related discipline such as nutrition, counseling, fitness, psychology, wellness, nursing or health care. Although a bachelor degree is considered a professional standard, job candidates that hold a master’s degree or higher will likely benefit from preferential treatment during the hiring process. When choosing a degree program, students are encouraged to select one that integrates classroom instruction with experiential learning.

Health Coach Careers By State

Health Coach Certification

A great way for health coaches to prove their professional skills and abilities is by becoming certified. Credentialing associations such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC) administer examinations to individuals that want to attain the distinction of certified health coaches (CHCs). Some certification agencies require individuals to meet education and experience eligibility criteria to qualify for certification examinations.

Employment for Health Coaches

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 99,400 health educators and community health workers, including health coaches, employed nationwide in 2012. By 2022, this employment figure is projected to increase to 120,800, which expresses a 21% growth change. These statistics indicate that these health occupations are growing faster than the average growth for all other occupations.

The top five industries of employment for health educators in 2012:

  • Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations
  • Ambulatory health care services
  • Government
  • Hospitals
  • Social assistance

The top five industries of employment for health community workers in 2012:

  • Individual, family, community, and vocational rehabilitation services
  • Outpatient, laboratory, and other ambulatory care services
  • State and local government (excluding education and hospitals)
  • Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations
  • Hospitals (state, local, and private)

Common places of employment for health coaches:

  • Day spas
  • Corporations
  • Medical centers
  • Natural health food stores
  • Physician offices
  • Wellness centers
  • Schools

Salaries for Health Coaches

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May 2012 health educators received a median annual wage of $48,790. Professionals in the low ten percentile earned under $27,730/yr. while those in the high ninety percentile earned closer to $86,810/yr. State, local, and private hospitals are credited with paying health educators higher salaries than any other industry.

In that same year, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that health community workers earned a median annual wage of $34,620. Professionals in the low ten percentile earned under $20,340/yr. while those in the high ninety percentile earned closer to $58,650/yr. State, local, and private hospitals are credited with paying health community workers higher salaries than any other industry.

 

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