A simple Google search on “health coach program” returns about 139 million results—although, obviously, you won’t have millions of programs to compare. But you may have a dozen or so that are serious contenders when it comes to your choice. How do you whittle it down to just a few top picks?
When navigating through your options, there are five factors you can use to compare and contrast programs that seem the most interesting to you:
1. Program Outline and Scope
Although programs have the same mission—to develop coaches who can take an integrative view of health for the benefit of their clients—that doesn’t mean they all teach the same material, or in the same way. Some lean more heavily on nutrition, for example, while others might spend more time on alternative medicine.
Take a look through a program’s specific details and topics to see what you’ll be learning and if that matches up with what you’re hoping to learn.
2. Materials and Format
People learn in different ways, and some health coach programs accommodate specific learning styles by offering materials in certain formats—for example, both written texts and online courses, or some video content for those who are more visual learners.
Think about your learning style and what tends to “stick” when you’re taking in new content. Do you remember material best based on what you’ve read in a printed form or on a screen or heard/seen in a video lecture? Consider a program that offers material in the format that works for you.
Also, take a glance at what type of testing will be done. Some programs have specific test dates, while others have more flexible timetables so you can study when you want and test once you reach a certain point. Decide which approach will keep you more on track, and consider programs with that option.
3. Location and Cost
For many people, online learning has been the only way they could fit coursework into a busy schedule or attend school when they’re far from a campus. The same goes for health coach programs. There are some programs that are university-based and have a requirement for in-person attendance, at least for part of the program.
When considering cost, factor in what it would take to make the trip for an in-person program compared to an online-only program.
4. Program Support and Certification Assistance
A major benefit of an educational program should be the amount of support you receive as you’re working through it, all the way through to post-course completion and eventual certification. This support might come from a dedicated person to answer your question, instructors who take the time to clarify material, or ideally both of those.
There should always be a resource in place where you can turn when you need help, since that streamlines your educational experience and gets you to a certification more quickly and efficiently.
5. Sample Content
Evaluating materials will help you understand the scope of a course, how it’s presented, and most importantly, whether the material is what you’ve been looking for.
To get an idea of the AFPA health coach program, take a look at our free sample course.
You’ll learn some of the important basics when it comes to health and wellness coaching, including the six dimensions of wellness, the types of behaviors responsible for many causes of death, what healthy people have as their goals, and initial actions that allow anyone to make healthy lifestyle changes.
In the full Holistic Health Coach certification program, you’ll combine both the Health and Wellness Coach and the Holistic Nutritionist program, giving you a comprehensive education on holistic health topics, as well as guidance on becoming an effective coach and eliciting behavior change from clients.
No matter what programs you’re considering, make sure that you take the time to understand what’s involved in each so that you can start a program with a high level of enthusiasm and openness to learning.