Should You Become a Health Coach? Yes and No

Health coaching is a growing career path and rewarding in so many ways. But before you become a health coach, there are a few things to consider to determine if it’s right for you. I’ve been a certified health coach for over 5 years, let me share some insights and tips.

Health coach sitting on sofa with laptop and notebook.

The Career of Health Coaching

It seems many are intrigued by the fact that I ditched the corporate world and struck out on my own as an online entrepreneur, after becoming a health coach. While some health coaches decide to coach clients individually, others like myself, use their health coaching certification as a jumping off point for creating cookbooks, food products, wellness-centered brands, and online businesses.

Am I a health coach? Yes. Am I a food blogger? And I a YouTuber? Yes. Am I social media influencer? Yes. And depending on which day of the week it is, I may give myself a handful of other titles. Welcome to the world of entrepreneurship.

But becoming a health coach was a pivotal moment for me and the catalyst for starting my business. Today, five years later, Downshiftology is a successful business that reaches over 100 million people a year. And while I no longer coach clients individually, the knowledge that I learned continues to be woven throughout everything I do.

Should You Become a Health Coach?

For the full explanation, watch the video below! 

The short answer is yes and no. There are several good reasons to pursue health coaching, which I highlight below. If these are your driving factors, I think you’ll be happy with the program. But there’s also an important reason why you shouldn’t pursue it.

Yes, if you want to improve your own health

Did you know that many who enroll in health coaching programs have zero desire to create a business? It’s true. They simply want to learn more about nutrition and holistic health to benefit their own wellness and help those around them. It’s preventative medicine at it’s finest.

Trust me, there are things I wish I knew 10 years ago about nutrition, wellness and self-care that may have mitigated my numerous doctor appointments as I was diagnosed with four autoimmune diseases. I’m super thankful that I’m healthy today, but an education in wellness can’t be underscored.

So if you’re interesting in health coaching for your own wellness, you’re not alone.

Yes, if you want to positively impact others and make a career out of it

One of the most rewarding aspects of health coaching is positively impacting clients and helping them reach their goals. But just to clarify (as it does get confusing) health and wellness coaches are NOT dietitians, clinical nutritionists or doctors. They don’t prescribe medicine, order lab tests or provide medical advice. 

Health coaches, similar to athletic coaches or business coaches inspire, motivate and provide a level of accountability. And it’s been proven to be effective. They do this either independently, or working with doctor’s offices as part of their clinical practice. 

Can you make a career out of it? Yes. Absolutely. Media outlets for the last couple of years have mentioned health coaching as an emerging occupational trend, simply based on the needs of society. WebMD and the CDC highlight it as well. In short, the field of health coaching is gaining in popularity, with doctor’s offices even employing health coaches on staff.

Yes, if you want to create a wellness-centered business

It may seems like an oxymoron to obtain a health coaching certification to not coach, but this may in fact be the largest trend. Many people pursue health coaching to have a solid, well-rounded background in nutrition and holistic health, as the basis for other endeavors.

Next time you go to the bookstore, peruse the cookbook aisle. Then, flip to the back and see how many cookbook authors are certified health coaches – a lot! Many health coaches pursue other revenue generation streams like writing books, holding wellness retreats and creating physical or digital products.

Kelly Leveque wrote her wildly popular book, Body Love, after becoming a health coach. And Elizabeth Stein from Purely Elizabeth launched a healthy foods company. Pursuing health coaching can be the jumping off point for numerous wellness-centered businesses, even bricks and mortar businesses like yoga studios and healthy cafes. 

No, if you’re not realistic about the work involved

I’ve talked to numerous people who pursued health coaching with visions of massive wealth dancing through their heads. They do the math of what they could charge: $100/hr x 2080 work hours in a year equals $208K! Unfortunately, those individuals were let down and re-joined the 9-5 game after deciding that it really wasn’t for them.

Yes, you can make good income as a health coach, but it won’t happen overnight and it will take quite a bit of effort. When you finish your certification, clients will not automatically fall into your lap. You’ll have to find them, market to them and work to gain their business. This requires confidence, business skills and marketing savvy.

The health coaching program I attended, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, does provide courses to address this. But even still, it takes time to really find your groove, develop your niche and grow your business. In other words – don’t quit your day job (just yet!).

My recommendation is to build your health coaching career while you still have a steady income stream. Then, once you’ve gained enough momentum in your coaching career, you can choose your future path – whichever path that may be.

More Health Coaching Tips

If you’d like to learn more about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), the health coaching program I attended, you can take a free sample class or download their course curriculum.

This post was originally published Jan 2016, but recently updated. 

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166 comments on “Should You Become a Health Coach? Yes and No”

  1. I have worked in Advertising for 11 years but have always been drawn to the health and fitness industry. I recently qualified as a Personal Trainer with the view to pursuing a career in the health industry and promoting a preventive lifestyle through solid choices around nutrition, exercise, sleep etc. I have been a bit lost as to what that would look like in terms of a career but after reading your article I think you’ve just provided the missing link! If you have any other articles or qualifications apart from the IIN you can recommend if love to hear about them. I’m based in London.

  2. Thinking about becoming a health coach. Have worked in healthcare over 20 years, now an injured RN, I have to consider a direction not requiring lifting 50 plus pounds repetitively. Have always been interested in making and belong others be educated to make better health choices, concerned about potential liability as licensed RN?

  3. I’m encouraged to read that one of the reasons TO become a Health Coach I to improve mine and my family’s health. I love encouraging people.

  4. Great article, I am also going to be a Health Coach. I am going through ACE Fitness, so I am getting my CPT first. I should have both certifications by next June ‘19. I hear nothing but good things in this field.

  5. I want to also become a helth coach. Thanks for inspiring me to also inspire others and help them to be healthy and fit!

  6. Love the article. Have not thought about health coaching, so not sure why I clicked, but i have started to change my eating lifestyle and enjoy telling others about healthy eating! So maybe health coaching. Do you know if they offer any grants?

  7. Thank you for your insight, I have recently finished a health coach program with health coach institute, I have worked for a weight loss doctor for 10 years and wanted to understand why its so difficult for a patient to change a habit, I have also read a few books on the topic. I want to help clients move forward in becoming a healthy version of themselves.

  8. Hi,
    Great article. Im currently living in Asia (Im English). 10 years ago I was just over 300 pounds and now I am just over 200 pounds, which for a tall guy is a fairly decent amount of weight to have lost.
    I spend my weeks in the gym, own a juice business and I would love to become a health coach, although I think my resources around me are limited (being in SE Asia).

    Are there any “decent” online courses you recommend? I dont want one that I can do in 3-5 hours but something that is a solid 3 month min. commitment.
    Ive searched around but have either found really terrible ones or really expensive ones.

    At the end I plan to launch my own website and help people in person, with a 1on1 bases. (Aimed at the SE Asian market) Im sure this is very new in Bangkok and Taiwan so Ill be very interested to see what I can do with limited language abilities for my potential customers.

    Thanks so much!

  9. Health is SO important to me. The older I get the more I want to share it with the world! Help people feel their best. I just don’t know where to start or what the best path is to do that. 

    • I’m right there with you Sarah! :) Definitely research various health coaching programs to find one that might be a fit for you. I recommend IIN (linked above) as it’s the health coaching program I attended and loved it.

  10. I’ve been pondering over the idea of going back to school to become a wellness/ health coach. I don’t know anything about what is needed to become one, but I was also concerned about what it can do for me. All of the things mentioned above has calmed my nerves about the career choice, and has proved my thought about it correct! Thank you for writing this post, it has given more drive to look into becoming someone who can help others with their health and over all life! 

  11. Love your post and glad I came across it as I recently been looking into IIN. I am a nurse and feel almost guilty handing out medications pushed onto people that’s controlling symptoms and not curing actual disease or problem. I was diagnosed with diabetes and on my way to reversing it naturally. So I see the power in nutrition and looking for a chance. Unfortunately alot of healthcare workers don’t get enough education on nutrition in school. Enough rambling lol I s wondering about the business side of the school. How prepared do you believe the school made u upon graduating or even at 6 month point when they state you can start seeing clients? Do you find it easier to “coach” online compared to in person

    • Hi Omar – there’s a time and a place for medications and some are definitely necessary, but I agree with you that they’re far to often the first line of defense when they should be further down the list. As for the business side of IIN, they definitely help you to learn how to market your business and give you tools for signing and engaging clients and contracting with them. But I find that those coaches who are most successful also go above and beyond in learning further business skills. Plus, I’m a fan of constant learning. ;) And it’s personal preference on coaching online versus in-person, but I wouldn’t say one is easier than the other. Hope that helps!

  12. I have transformed my health and wellness personally over the last couple years and love it so much, I read a lot of self help books and always have,  I committed to follow the Whole30 program of healthy eating a couple years ago and it improved my health so much in a short amount of time, it has changed my life, and now I want to continue to improve my health and my familys and would love to help others. I am what my friends call a caregiver.  I want to continue to learn as much as possible.

  13. Hello! Thanks for the article! Would you say having a part time job could be sustainable while tackling a health and fitness coaching career during the start of your business would work?

  14. Hi there, I’m seeking to pursue a coaching career myself and have a few questions.
    Is working as a health/life coach location free? Could I work online from anywhere? or realistically will I be needing to do regular face to face with people to make a full time income? I would really appreciate your insight. Thanks!

  15. I understand you went to IIN and you’re an ambassador but can you name any other reputable nutrition/health coach programs in the US, either online or brick and mortar? 

    Thank you!

    • Hi Leah – it’s been several years since I’ve looked into programs, so unfortunately I’m not up-to-date with them all. But I remember looking into Wellcoaches as well as the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) program :)

  16. Hi Lisa I really appreciate your article as I seek a second part time focus in Health & Wellness.  I am very much in the early stages of getting a website going but this advice is so helpful seeing as Rome wasn’t built overnight either.  Much success and blessings in all of your future endeavors including your ebook.

  17. I’m thinking of becoming a weight loss coach. Do you need to have any degrees? Obviously a business license and staying up to date on health trends and goods is a must. I will get for certified as well but was thinking about doing mostly online coaching. 

    • Hi Jennifer – If you’re considering mostly online coaching, IIN would definitely be your best bet and you don’t need any additional degrees. But if you read some of my replies below you’ll see that I’m always a proponent of further education. The more education the better in my books. ;) You can learn more about IIN by clicking on their curriculum link above.

  18. How much did you pay for your health coaching program 

    • Hi Wanda – I attended my health coaching program several years ago, so I doubt the prices are still the same. If you’re interested in IIN, I’d reach out to them for their most up-to-date pricing. And if you do decide to enroll, mention my name (as I’m a grad affiliate) and IIN will give you their best discount. Hope that helps!

  19. Thank you for the post Lisa! I’m currently considering enrolling in IIN’s health coaching certification program, and am on the fence, so any advice is appreciated.

    My intent in enrolling would be to improve my (and my family’s) current health, as well as create a revenue stream through 1:1 and group coaching sessions. My hesitation right now though is the thought of going through the entire program, and not being able to find (or maintain) clients. While I have a background in business and sales and even an MBA, I still wonder how the process works to get your first few clients. I guess I think, there are hundreds to thousands of other health coaches out there – why me? I know I have a natural knack for coaching as I’ve done many 1:1’s and lead group trainings etc. in my corporate career. I also have always been interested in nutrition and health/wellness.

    Does IIN help its’ students explore these and other questions through the 1 yr. self study? Thank you!

    • Hi Kristina! With your background in coaching/training, your business and sales experience and interest in nutrition, you sound like you’re perfectly suited for health coaching! Now, I’d be remiss to indicate it’s easy to find clients. It does take work. But I don’t think the total number of health coaches out there should be any factor in your consideration. If that was the case, I would have never started blogging as there’s already tens of thousands of bloggers out there. ;) You’ll naturally bring a unique perspective to your coaching practice that’s all you, because it’s about telling your story and why you’re motivated to do this. IIN does help students explore these questions, but I find that success after IIN is far more centered on personal drive and gumption than anything. Hope that helps! :) x

  20. Hello,

    I have some questions and would love to talk to you more about them. Could you email me?

    Thank you so much!

  21. Hello,
    I am very interested in IIN and obtaining certification as well. I do have a bachelors degree but not in a health related field or nutrition. I am concerned that this may hinder my ability to be taken seriously and obtain work as a health coach. Any thoughts on this? I am having difficulty finding information that discusses this. Thank you for your article.

    • Neither of my degrees were health, medical or nutrition related. But that also didn’t stop me from becoming Vice President of a large healthcare company or striking out on my own to become a health coach – and now full time online entrepreneur and wellness influencer. To be taken seriously I firmly believe that you need to have passion, drive, confidence and competence in what you do. So no, I don’t think it will hinder you. :) Good luck!

  22. I am interested becoming a health and wellness coach. However I’ve been doing some research online and from what I’ve read there may be a thin line as far as giving people advice on their health and nutrition especially people who may have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. A lot of the information I read stated you have to have a bachelor’s degree or br a degreed dietitian or nutritionist. Is there any information you have found in regards to this. I am interested in attending the institution you suggested.
    I am interested in starting a business teaching others on how to become healthier especially in our community. The focus will be more on the nutrition side as opposed to exercise although that will be included too. I’d appreciate any advice you or anyone has.

    • I have those same questions. I have bachelors degree but it is not in healthcare or nutrition so I am not sure that the certification will be enough to be taken seriously. Any thoughts regarding this?

    • As a health coach you are not diagnosing or providing medical advice to clients. I speak more about this in the “What exactly is a health coach” article linked above. What you are doing is coaching, leading, supporting and inspiring them to make positive changes in their life that will benefit their health and wellness. And that’s huge!

      You could absolutely teach others on how to become healthier and having a health coach background would definitely be of benefit in how to listen, communicate and provide guidance to your community attendees. Hope that helps!

  23. Loved your article. I have been told by many of my friends that I should become a health coach.Heres a little bit of my story. I was weighed 460 pounds. I now weigh 200 pounds. I did it all on my own. No surgeries no drugs no miracle diet. Just shear determination. I went from sitting on the couch eating pizza to running my first marathon this year. My question to you is this. I currently work in the construction industry. I have been looking for a career change. My problem is that I don’t have much college education. 1 year almost 32 yrs ago.(im51 yrs old). Is having a college degree imperative to becoming a health coach? I have read that it is not required,I could be wrong. But of course like most fields the more education you have the better chances you have in obtaining a job. I’m not looking to make a million dollars. But I’m looking to help people. What I lack in formal education I make up for in personal experience. The old been there done that experience that I think most people who are overweight or immobile can appreciate. I would love your feed back. I’m really excited about the possibilities of changing not only my life but more importantly helping others change theirs.

    • Hi Jim – big kudos to you for all your personal health success. That’s awesome! As for education, no, it’s not required to have a college degree to become a health coach. While further education is always great, I’m a firm believer that drive and determination are significant factors to success (which I’ll be writing more about soon). I also find that “like attracts like” – so your inspiring story and experience will likely help others who find themselves in similar situations. Best of luck to you!

  24. Hi Lisa,
    I am currently enrolled in IIN. I love it. I feel stuck right now because I feel I need to find a name for my business to start spreading the word. I work in the health insurance industry and see how it’s not working and feel this is a better way to health. There are so many avenues to go and it’s exciting. When you started, what did you focus on? Thanks for a great article!

    • Hi Alise – that’s awesome you’re already enrolled! I think “like attracts like” so when I first started, I attracted many women who were similar to me – those who were a bit burned out from a demanding career and who were not prioritizing self-care and whole foods. It just naturally evolved from there. :) Best of luck to you!

  25. Thanks for the to-the-point article. I’ve been thinking and researching becoming a health coach of late. My dilemma is that although I’m relatively healthy, I’m not the picture of health. I could and would love to lose 10kg! Do you think this is an issue in being hypo-critical for being a health coach? I know that I’d be a great before/after poster boy id I’d lose the weight during the course period! Wouldn’t that be nice!
    When you started out, how did you manage to hold a full time job and do the coaching on the side? Didn’t people want to see you during work hours??

    • I think the picture of health is very individual and definitely not based solely on outward appearances. In other words, don’t let your personal health goals stop you from helping others. I also found it easy to coach on weekends and after hours. Most of my clients had full-time jobs as well, so they preferred evenings and weekends. And all of my coaching was done online. :)

  26. Hi Lisa,

    Thanks so much for that informative artificial. This answered a lot of questions for me. I’ve been thinking of doing this for sometime now. I’ve very into fitness, (gym, yoga) eating healthy and clean, I lead a healthy ladies only group, and believe you should be able to heal yourself without the use of standard medications, although I don’t knock them at all. I personally have IBS, and I have had RA since a teenager. So staying active and healthy is a must for me. I have been looking into IIN and after reading your artificial I think this is it for me. Not going to quit my 9-5 yet, but this sounds like a great path to what I really want to do. Thank for sharing.

  27. Pingback: What Exactly is a Health Coach? | Downshiftology

  28. Hi Lisa! I have most of my college degree done (gen eds, upper level classes, etc) from when I was considering a Nursing career. That wasn’t for me! I stepped out of school for a while, and am wanting to jump back in to become a health/wellness coach. I am wanting to go into it the best way, but am not sure which way that is. Should I get certified first? Get a degree in Nutrition? Take a business degree route? etc. What do you suggest?

  29. Hi Lisa!

    Thanks for the great article! I’ve been considering joining IIN to do a Health Coaching Certificate for some time, but am that much closer to making the commitment after reading this! ?

    I think the main motivation for me wanting to complete the certification is the struggle I’ve had with my own health – I too have an autoimmune disease (along with a few of AI’s unwelcome friends!). Had I come across health coaching 5 years ago, the money I’ve spent on Doctors, medications and tests, would have more than paid for my training!! ?

    Thanks too for being real/honest about making big bucks as soon as we finish the course! Knowing that there’s a lot of ground work to do to make a business out of it, will help ground me on my “fantasy days”! LOL

    Thanks again Lisa! ?

    • Hi Deanne – glad you liked the article! I’m totally with you in wishing I had discovered health coaching sooner (for my own healthy). And kudos for taking a realistic approach to your health coaching business and education. Just stay inspired and driven and you’ll do great! :) x

  30. Hi Lisa! It was when I was pregnant with my first child almost 18 years ago that I first became interested in nutrition. I stayed home with our kids from the beginning and eating healthfully provided motivation to find other ways to live a healthy lifestyle. My husband once told me he’d be “mad” at me if I didn’t pursue a career in nutrition because of all my reading and talking about it. The thought of becoming an RD didn’t appeal to me because I think most people who are sent to an RD won’t listen, won’t follow advice…it probably wasn’t their idea to see an RD. Currently I’m a part-time student finishing the prerequisites to apply to a Massage Therapy program at our local community college. After taking nutrition and biology, my thoughts keep going back to healthy eating and living. Conversation with friends and family often move toward diet and exercise. It surprises me how many people don’t want to be just healthy–it’s all about calories and dieting and losing weight. I just want to reach out to them and explain that it’s okay to eat some nuts, and yes avocado has fat but it’s okay!! It’s HEALTHIER than that diet soda and “lite” chips. I’m interested in massage because it helps people heal from injuries and relieve stress. But I’m finding myself torn. I have the summer to think about it but that’s it. It would be amazing to become a massage therapist AND a health coach, but I’m 43 with three kiddos at home…it’s not feasible right now. I’m starting to wonder if I’m on the wrong path:/ Any advice?

    • Hi Lynette! I don’t know if I really believe in wrong paths…but sometimes there are meandering paths. Where one thing leads into the next (and usually it’s complementary). It sounds like you want to be both a massage therapist and health coach – and while it may not be feasible to do both simultaneously, what if you became a massage therapist first (as you’ve already started down that path), then followed that up with health coaching in the future? Health coaching isn’t going anywhere, so it’ll still be there when you’re ready for it. :) x

  31. Lisa,

    I am 21 years old and have been doing some major battling with what I want to pursue as a career. I have really been interested in holistic health and nutrition. Do you know of any good degree programs for this or know anyone who has gone down that path and had great success? I also enjoy nutrition in general and all aspects of it but I’ve always been a little fuzzy on what all you can do with nutrition degree or certificates and what opportunities are available with this education. I would appreciate any advice you could give me.

    • Hi Kayla – I’m not familiar with degree programs on nutrition, just IIN, where I obtained my health coaching certification (linked above). There are numerous careers that you can pursue in nutrition and wellness – and sometimes it’s not a linear path. Look at me, I’m a full-time blogger now after getting my health coaching cert. Not at all what I expected (or planned), but I love it! In fact, I’m gonna to be starting a blog series soon, highlighting “a day in the life” of those who’ve gotten their health coaching cert. I think some of their careers may surprise you. Keep your eyes peeled! :) x

  32. Hello Lisa, thanks for the article! It is greatly educative besides being inspiring for people like me who do not know that they have it in them.

    I come from a family that has no history of major illnesses other than an occasional indigestion or common cold. That is all because of the way my family sees, cooks and eats food. I have raised my daughter to be 17 (5 feet 11 inches) without having to go to a doctor’s clinic (even as an infant), except for school admissions. I must admit at this point that the only time she did visit the clinic was last year, at 16, when she wanted a quick remedy for her acne. (Preparation for prom!). Now she is back to dealing with her acne with kitchen based remedies and lifestyle changes.

    The point I am trying to make is, my kitchen cabinet has always been my pharmacy. Through watching my grandmother and mother (both practiced ayurveda) cook, using an array of spices, herbs, seeds and vegetables (my parents side of the family is strictly vegetarian) I have acquired tremendous knowledge about the usage of spices, spice blends, herbs, grains, seeds, nuts, salt substitutes, veggies, so on, so forth, for disease reversal and wellness upkeep. Besides, I have training in Yoga and meditation. My friends turn to me for health advice and I find myself making them weekly food charts and suggesting yoga exercises and lifestyle/ habit changes. A big thanks to them for trusting me.

    Knowing that I have this in me, I now want to utilize the knowledge I gained in the last 30-something years (I am older than that!), for changing the lives of people around me. What I felt, I lacked, was a prerequisite degree. Do I need one to be certified as a wellness coach? What are my other avenues? I have two masters degree, not related to health.

    Any information would be greatly helpful. Thank you.

    • Hi Esther. That’s wonderful you had such a holistic upbringing! Your vast knowledge in ayurveda, yoga and meditation has clearly served you (and your very lucky friends) well. As for certification, it really depends on what you want to do. If you’d like to branch out to a wider audience, I definitely think a health coaching certificate would be beneficial. Not only will you learn about numerous different dietary approaches, you’ll learn how to manage clients, market yourself to grow your business, and more. I have a masters degree as well, but still found the IIN health coaching program to be very beneficial as I started an entirely new career. Hope that helps! :) x

  33. Where did you obtain your certification? There are so many programs out there ranging from $70 up to $1000. How do I know which program to choose?

    • I attended IIN – the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (linked above) for my health coaching certification. There are several wonderful programs available, so I’d recommend researching them yourself and finding the one that resonates with you. :) x

  34. Hello Lisa, In one of your replies, you mention that you are no longer a health coach? Why is that? Is it not lucrative enough? I am considering this as a side career option and possible full time someday. thanks

    • Hi Steph. I’ve been fortunate that over the last two years this Downshiftology community has grown to millions of readers (which is crazy exciting). And with that has come new opportunities not only with the blog, but also with brands and partnerships in the food, lifestyle and travel space. Like many careers which morph and change over time, my health coaching has now morphed into so much more – and I’m excited for what the future holds! :)

  35. Hello Lisa! I am about to graduate with a public health degree and am considering going back to school, or becoming a health coach. I am a bit conflicted because I am in a position where I don’t think my BS will open enough doors for me, allowing me to be happy where I land in my career path. I have a huge interest in nutrition (will be getting a minor in Nutrition also), and am extremely interested in constantly learning about the new surfacing diets, as well as new products/supplements in line with Nutrition. I am mostly interested in these things, because I think that there is little to no disclosure as far as what people are buying from the grocery store anymore. I also think that everybody is different in terms of what sorts of “diets” will work for them– I want to get involved in helping people figure out exactly what works for them to eliminate any health issues they may be experiencing by following the general “diet trends” that surface in the media. I am wondering, approximately how much did it cost you in terms of education to get your credentials? And based off of my interests, do you think this might be a good thing for me to pursue? Thanks so much for your help! Your article was extremely helpful. xoxo

    • Hi Alice – health coaching definitely sounds like the perfect next step for you! And your motivation in wanting to help people find what works best for THEM is spot on. In terms of cost, it’s been several years since I obtained my coaching certification from IIN, so I’d recommend reaching out to them for their current pricing. You will get a discount if you mention me. :) One other piece of advice is that I wouldn’t rely on your BS (or any credentials) to open doors for you. After 15 years in the corporate world (plus a BS and MBA), I’ve learned that the only way to open doors is to knock them down yourself! You just have to go after what you’re passionate about and be relentless in that pursuit. Best wishes! xo

  36. Great article! I’m a student in the 2016 class with IIN. I actually left my day job a few months ago to reasons unrelated to me studying to become a health coach, and it actually caused me to end up in a rock bottom cycle in my life again, as I have not been able to land a new role. Part of that also has to do with the fact that I moved to LA from NYC for 3 years mostly for personal change but also because I was favored more on the west coast (I’m a digital designer) than on the east, and then moved back to NYC because of outside influence from my ex’s family and spiraled from there.

    Now I have to work 10x as harder to get something off the ground when I graduate as I think of a solution in the meantime, so my question is, is it possible to make 50-55k net (in Los Angeles perhaps) as a health coach? And is that possible early on? I just need enough to cover my expenses every month with money left over for my wants. I have a 3400 a mo. expesne roughly, rent included in that, so ideally for me I’d be happy with making 4-4.5k a month. Is that realistic? Sorry for such a long, revealing post. I’m at rock
    bottom and any advice or hope is helpful at this point.

    • Hi Ray – anything is possible. :) There are lots of successful health coaches (who make a full-time salary from it) and there are many who do it part-time while working other jobs. But as I mentioned in the post, there’s usually quite a ramp-up period if the desire is full-time. I’d recommend finding a part-time job or consulting gig for digital design until your health coaching is where you’d like it to be. No sense in adding undue stress and pressure to yourself. Best of luck to you! :)

  37. I became a Health and lifestyle coach a little over 5 yrs ago. I had always been passionate about health but didn’t know how to actually build a successful business without putting too much money or time into it (I have 6 little kids). After finding an amazing healthy lifestyle program that was very turn key and simple to follow that produced predictable results I knew I had found a great solution. I became a COPE certified health coach through Villanova school of nursing and Center of Obesity Prevention Education. I have been able to build a very large coaching business, helping 100’s of people every year get to a healthy weight, get off of many medications, and learn how to incorporate a healthy lifestyle. My income consistently has grown over the years now well over $100,000/yr working part time from home. I Help people all over the U.S. because my services are offered via phone, email and text (and video conferencing). I now train other health coaches to start their own successful health coaching business Because our program is so turn key, our program is very affordable for clients, and the start up cost to become a health coach is very minimal. I’d love to explore this option with anyone looking to become a Health coach to help others get healthier. You can email me at

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  39. I work in a weight loss clinic and I would love to help people eat better. We use diets that I don’t think works for everyone. Our bodies are not the same, I want to suggest the right foods for each individual to lose the weight they want.

    • We’re definitely not all the same – from so many angles (genetics, microbiome, ancestry, environment, etc). That’s wonderful you want to help people eat better Joan – it sounds like health coaching may be a perfect fit for you! x

  40. Thanks for the post! I ‘ work as a pediatric occupational therapist, but i have been more interested in branching off into a more integrative wellness model. I have been through, and still going through a lot of health conditions that I have treated with an integrative model. Part of me wants to share this with people, although feeling responsible for people’s healing has been exhausting. Health Coaching seems like it transitions the responsibility to people to take charge of their own health a little more. I also like the flexibility of using it in other ways like you have. Due to my degree, work, and personal health experience I’m concerned I won’t gain enough “new” tools with this certificate. I was debating doing holistic nutrition that will provide more detailed skills but honestly I’m having trouble deciding what I will enjoy and be good at. Any thought’s since you went through he program?

    • I think you nailed it on the head when you said coaching transitions the responsibility to people taking charge of their own health. And that’s exactly it. You’re not diagnosing, you’re simply listening, guiding, educating, inspiring and providing accountability for your clients to make they changes they (more often than not) usually already know they need to make. IIN isn’t heavy on science-based nutrition, rather it gives you an overview of numerous nutrition theories, dietary models, trends, and approaches. But it’s strength lies in helping you become a coach and start a business. I personally didn’t want to go the RD route, as I preferred a more holistic approach. But it’s not uncommon to find health coaches with multiple certificates. It’s all about finding where your interests lay. Hope that helps! :) x

  41. Hi! I found the information very interesting. I would love to be a health coach but I’ve always been a “keep to myself” person. Any thoughts on how to put myself out there? I work in Mental Health Case Management right now and would love to merge the two together. Thanks for any help you may offer.

    • Hi Angie. I’m actually an introvert (which surprises most). I’ve found that the best way to put yourself “out there”is to just take small, incremental steps. For instance, launching this website a couple of years ago was a big “holy moly” moment for me – my face was plastered on the home page! But over time I became more comfortable with my public persona and I no longer have the vulnerability fears I had two years. Surprisingly, becoming more public has actually boosted my confidence. With your background in mental health case management, it seems like health coaching would be a perfect fit and I agree the two would merge together beautifully! :) x

  42. I found your article very interesting. I’ve been thinking about couching others, some what like I do now, being involved in dietary cooking & herbs /oils, exercises. Although, I’m not a people person due to there attitudes, personalities, criticism. Looking for a career?

  43. Thank you for writing this! I’ve been researching health coaching for a few months now and I’ve been on the fence about whether to jump in and what school to go with. But I really want to help people identify their health, fitness and wellness goals and give or help them find the resources they need to see their goals become a reality. I’ve been only a short time on my own journey to a healthy lifestyle and I know, I personally, I would greatly benefit from the classes.

  44. Great article as I am considering this. I graduated with an elementary education degree in May 2016. I love education but with an unpredictable chronic illness (the basis of my blog) I knew being a classroom teacher was out of the question. I am working hard to build up my blog and ideally earn at least a part time income from it. (Very helpful in the case of being in a flare up and not having to worry about going into work!) I am currently a nanny with a flexible schedule so I have lots of time to work on this.

    I have 10 years experience living with Crohn’s and have made huge improvements in my life with diet and lifestyle changes. I looked online for specifications for my state, MA and there is no real guidelines one HAS to follow. I am going to research different certifications and such. I feel I could help people because I understand chronic illness and transitioning into a gluten free/paleo lifestyle.

  45. Thank you for writing this. I am seriously considering enrolling in a health coach certification class and working to launch my practice while still working full time. It is daunting and intimidating and exciting and scary, all at the same time. You provide a realistic perspective on the profession, and I really appreciate that. It is very helpful as I work through this very big decision.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Sheri! Becoming a health coach is definitely a mix of emotions, thoughts and decisions. And while I’m not a practicing health coach anymore, I still think it was one of the best decision I made to jump start an entirely new career path for me. I wish you the best of luck! :) x

  46. Hello Lisa, Thanks a lot for all this information. It has been very usefull as I have been two months not sure about becoming a health coach and if I did so where to study. As a biologist (with my work), fond about healthy and balance food, mother of two and yoga teacher I want to change a bit my professional career. My first option has always been INN but I always have the doubt of doing somewhere else;can I ask you in terms of time did it take you daily a lot of time to study it??Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Marta – Many people have full-time jobs while going to IIN and I was actually traveling overseas while doing much of my coursework. As long as you have a handful of hours to study each week, I’m sure you’ll be fine. Especially with your science/wellness background. :)

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  48. What made you choose this school over the ACE health coach certification and others? I’m comparing programs now and it’s confusing….

    • Yes, it does all get a bit confusing. The good news though is that there are several wonderful programs to choose from. I think at the end of the day it all depends on which program resonates with you the most, based on what you’d like to do as a health coach. I chose IIN as it’s a large, well-supported program and it provided business/marketing support (ie – how to gain clients). Additionally, most successful health coaches I was aware of were IIN-grads, which I believe speaks volumes. :)

  49. Hi! Wonderful article I’m just wondering, do you have a bachelors or above including your health coach cert or do you just have a health coach cert? I’m asking because I will have an associate degree in human services next month and am passionate about health and nutrition, I’m wondering if pursuing this certification is right for me at this time. I would love to work with an RD and maybe do some intake type of work whist pursuing my undergrad..any advice would b helpful!

    • Glad the article was helpful! I have a bachelors and masters degree (both in business) and then my health coaching cert. Health coaches come from varied backgrounds, but extra education in human services and/or nutrition would be an added bonus. The certification takes a year and would be very beneficial if you’d like to work with RD’s/doctor’s offices. You’ll also learn basic business skills to help you market yourself as a value added service…and you could definitely pursue the cert simultaneously to your associate degree. :) x

  50. Thanks for this article! I’m in school to be a nutritionist and you are such an inspiration :) I’m just now starting to realize that it’s going to be a ton of work to be a success but I love it so much it doesn’t matter.