Do You Need a Nutrition Degree?
As a coach, you clearly have a passion for helping people turn bad habits into good ones! You may also be particularly interested in nutrition or feel drawn to working with people who hope to eat a healthier diet and ditch those bad habits.
If your primary coaching interest lies in the field of nutrition, a nutrition degree could be a huge benefit to your practice as a Health Coach! But you will need to pursue your education in nutrition separately from your Health Coach training.
How a Nutrition Degree and Health Coach Certificate are Different
A Health Coach education program typically addresses nutrition as one of several core components. For example, nutrition is one of the four key pillars of Health Coach Institute’s Become A Health Coach (BHC) curriculum. When you complete your training, you can apply for and earn a certificate as Health Coach.
But a nutrition degree will give you a much more in-depth experience in food and nutrition. You could start with an associate degree at a nearby community college, or you might want to get a bachelor’s degree in nutrition. Some people are so excited to learn about good nutrition that they pursue a master’s degree—something you might want to consider later, too.
Depending on the educational program you choose, you could even become a licensed nutritionist. Before you commit, though, check out the requirements to practice as a licensed nutritionist in your state. If you want to pursue that route, seek out a program that will prepare you for your state’s formal licensing and certification requirements. Some states do require that you earn a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, food science, or a related program from an accredited institution.
Where to Get Your Health Coach Certificate
You don’t have to get certified to practice as a Health Coach. But there are definitely advantages to taking this step. Getting certified as a Health Coach emphasizes your commitment to your profession. And that shows potential clients how seriously you take your job—and their well-being.
A number of organizations certify Health Coaches, including:
- National Society of Health Coaches
- American Council on Exercise
- International Coach Federation
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (offers a nutrition certification)
As you research which organization to choose, be sure to find out important information such as the number of training hours required to apply, as well as the cost. You may also want to find out the requirements for maintaining certification.
Different Jobs for Health Coaches
If you’ve got a passion for nutrition and for Health Coaching, there’s some good news! Lots of job opportunities are open to you. Health Coaches with a background in nutrition, or a nutrition degree, can find terrific openings in places such as:
- Weight loss clinics
- Doctors’ offices
- Fitness and athletic facilities
- School systems
- Colleges and universities
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Nursing homes
- Health insurance companies
- Community centers
- Alternative medicine practices
You could even work for a corporation designing employee wellness programs and helping staffers develop a healthy approach to diet and nutrition.
It’s important to understand what speaks to you. Part of what makes a coaching practice successful is your own enthusiasm driving it. Do you feel called to work with athletes or people who’ve been sedentary for a long time? Do you want to work with young students or college students? Do you want to work in a hospital or would you prefer a community-based setting? You could even try visiting a few locations to gauge your interest before applying for jobs.
Working From Home with a Health Coach Certificate
Lots of Health Coaches relish the chance to work in a group environment, reaching a big group of people at once. But others prefer a more intimate, one-on-one environment, where they can work closely with one individual at a time. If that’s you, you might be interested in the opportunity to work from home as a Health Coach.
You can build a solo practice, using your home as a base. You could take on clients by phone, email, Skype, or in person to talk to your clients and find out which format works best for them and for you. You’ll be able to carve out the time in your day to spend with each person, listening to their concerns, and helping them chart a healthier way forward. You may find that you really love the blend of rewarding work and a flexible schedule that lets you live your best life, too.
Start Your Health and Wellness Coaching Career with HCI
Coaching is a great career that you can help others, while also learning how to help your own personal growth. Health Coach Institute is a top health and wellness coaching certification program. Join our Become a Health Coach program and begin coaching in 6 months! If you are already a coach and want to advance your skills, check out HCI’s Coach Mastery program. Feel free to get in touch with with one of our clarity coaches directly, by calling 1-800-303-2399.