You are goal-oriented and always have a detailed, organized plan of attack to reach your goals. You care about maintaining your own health, striving to eat right and exercise and encouraging others to do so as well. As an important member of the patient’s healthcare team, a health coach fulfills a vital mission: educating patients, staff and the community on living healthier lives.
A career as a health coach (also called a health educator, community health worker or wellness coach) might be right for you, if:
You enjoy developing a plan of action
You enjoy gathering and analyzing data
You like to create programs that meet specific needs
You enjoy learning about topics such as health, fitness, nutrition, lifestyle modification and community health
You enjoy working with others one-on-one or as a member of a team
You are a good listener
You encourage others through mentoring or motivation
You educate others—acting as a teacher or guide
You are passionate about living a life of wellness
Internet Research: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, what is the job outlook for a health coach (educator)?
The Journey to Becoming a Health Coach
There are many different educational paths to becoming a health coach (educator), including:
Obtaining a license as a nurse, dental hygienist, physician assistant or other healthcare professional, followed by studying and passing the National Society of Health Coaches exam.
Obtaining a four-year degree in Health Education, followed by studying for and becoming a certified health education specialist (CHES).
Obtaining a four-year degree in Dietetics that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE), completing a six to twelve month CADE internship and passing a licensing exam. Followed by completing the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching exam and certification.
Becoming a certified personal trainer, obtaining 2,000 hours of experience in personal training, then registering and completing the wellcoaches® School of Coaching course and exam.
Internet Research: Research a local college/university/school with a health education or community health degree program. Provide the following information:
Length of program/degree
Internet Research: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, what is the current median pay of a health coach (educator)?
The Responsibilities of a Health Coach
As a member of the healthcare team, you are extremely important to each patient and to other members of your team. You are proud of the many things you do, including:
Assessing the needs of the people and communities you serve
Developing programs and events to teach people about health topics
Teaching people how to cope with or manage existing health conditions
Helping people find health services or information
Providing training programs for other health professionals or community health workers
Supervising staff who implement health education programs
Collecting and analyzing data to evaluate the effectiveness of programs
Advocating for improved health resources and policies that promote health
Providing outreach and discussing healthcare concerns with community members
Educating people about the importance and availability of healthcare services such as cancer screenings
Collecting data and reporting findings to health educators and other health providers
Providing informal counseling and social support
Conducting outreach programs
Ensuring that people have access to the healthcare services they need
Advocating for individual and community needs
On Your Own: Using the list above, identify which responsibilities benefit the patient and which responsibilities benefit other members of the healthcare team.
Physiology: The branch of biology dealing with the functions and activities of living organisms and their parts, including all physical and chemical processes.
(“Physiology.” Dictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2014.)
Psychology: The science or study of the mind and behavior.
(“Psychology” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 12 June 2014.)