How to Become a Holistic Health Coach

Overview

What exactly is a holistic health coach? Well, holistic health coaches, also known as wellness coaches, community health workers, and health educators, are health professionals, who provide natural, health-based information and services to clients and other medical professionals (i.e. counselors, nutritionist, nurses, social workers, physicians, etc.). These coaches focus on the health and well-being of the “whole person,” rather than just individual body parts, and/or conditions. They also take into consideration how physical, mental and spiritual factors contribute to the development of various health conditions and ailments. Moreover, holistic health coaches treat and manage ailments and health conditions with the use of alternative/natural products, herbs, vitamins, stress management techniques (i.e. yoga, meditation, deep breathing, etc.).

It is important to note that as a holistic health coach, you may have to work with demanding, frustrated, irritable and/or socially inept medical professionals, clients, and patients. In these cases, you will have to exhibit extreme tact, patience, empathy, and tolerance. Most holistic health coaches have degrees, additional training, licenses, certification, and/or prior experience in the healthcare field. If you want to become a holistic health coach – you have come to the right place. This article will give you all of the information you need to enter the holistic health coaching field.

Related Reading: How to Become a Wellness Counselor

Requirements

Educational Requirements

To become a holistic health coach, you will first obtain training or education in the healthcare field. It is important to note that most colleges and universities do not offer specific degrees in holistic health coaching, so if you are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher in health coaching, you will need to earn degree(s) in a healthcare field (i.e. health psychology, nutrition, nursing, medicine, anatomy, etc.) instead. Although degrees are not required at the basic level of holistic health coaching, if you plan to use your coaching skills in counseling, medical or social work practice, you will need to earn advanced degrees (i.e. M.S. and Psy.D. or Ph.D.) in one of those fields before providing coaching services to others. During your degree or training program, a holistic nurse, and/or a naturopathic practitioner mayteach you about traditional Western treatments, psychotherapy, and/or acupuncture techniques.

Courses

Holistic health coaching courses tend to focus on the body and the mind. In addition, some programs also include spirituality topics. Moreover, some programs only focus on a couple of topics, while others cover a broad range of topics.

Listed below are common courses taken in a health coach training program:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Aromatherapy
  • Herbal Studies
  • Pathophysiology

Licensing & Certification

It is important to note that you cannot be licensed as a holistic health coach or a health coach; in general, therefore, if you want to become licensed in this field, you will need to seek licensure in another healthcare field, and then gain certification in holistic health coaching or health coaching. For example, if you are psychologist, who wants to use holistic health coaching during counseling sessions, you will need to first become licensed as a psychologist, and then seek certification as a holistic health coach, life coach, etc. Most states require medical/mental health practitioners to obtain licenses before providing healthcare services to clients and patients.

Job Duties

You can use your holistic health coaching training in a number of fields and careers (i.e. acupuncturist, nutritionist, massage therapists, counselors/psychologists, nurses, doctors (i.e. osteopathic, medicine, and naturopathic), and herbalists.

As a holistic health coach, you may perform the following job duties:

  • Soliciting new clients and patients
  • Selling holistic health coaching packages, and/or natural/alternative products that are accessible and affordable
  • Developing a solid understanding of natural/alternative products, services and supplements so that you can clearly explain them to clients and patients
  • Educating clients and patients on the origin of their ailments and health conditions, and teaching them how to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes into their daily routines
  • Providing support and advice to clients and patients
  • Helping clients and patients determine which individualized plan is best for them
  • Motivating clients and patients to continue with the program, and encouraging them to comply with the program requirements
  • Addressing client and patient questions and concerns
  • Advising clients and patients on topics like: a healthy, well-balanced diet, and healthy lifestyle choices
  • Assisting clients and patients with weight loss and cosmetic treatment services
  • Praising clients and patients when they reach their goals
  • Using charts, pamphlets, and/or educational materials to advise clients and patients on various treatment options

Salary Prospects

Most holistic health coaches work a full-time job (i.e. 35 to 40 hours a week). Some even work an additional part-time in a healthcare field. If you have your own holistic health coaching practice, there may be times when you offer coaching “free of charge” or discount practices such as: $5 to $10, per hour (bls.gov). This is especially true when first starting your practice, and soliciting new clients and patients. You may also need to provide free health-related education seminars to the public a couple of times a year. Although the majority of holistic health coaches use their coaching skills in their current profession, as a social worker, psychologist/counselor, nurse, or physician, some actually devote all of their time to life and health coaching.

If you decide to take this route, and open up your own business, be prepared for a slow start. In other words, it can take up to 12 months before you see real profit, and a significant clientele list. Be patient – your practice may eventually grow. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), you can expect to make approximately $49,000, per year, as a holistic health coach. If you fall in the lower 10%, you can expect to make approximately $28,000, per year, while if you fall into the upper 10%, you can expect to make approximately $87,000 or more, per year (bls.gov).

Career Outlook

The career outlook for holistic health coaches is positive. In fact, holistic health coaches should expect a 21% increase by the year 2022 (bls.gov). This increase will stem from an increased awareness in alternative/natural treatments. As healthcare costs skyrocket, more and more people will turn to holistic treatments, which will then fuel the need for more holistic health coaches.

Related Reading

References

  • International Association of Health Coaches. (2014). Health coaching. Retrieved from https://www.iahcnow.org/
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Health educators and community health workers. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm#tab-1
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