You’ve reached a point in your life where you feel like it’s time for a change. Drudgery is felt on a daily basis at work, and you also have noticed that your lifestyle choices are wearing you down. After all, it probably isn’t healthy to have vending machine chips for lunch, right?
Long story short: you want to become healthier. You also want to change careers.
So, how can you merge these two desires together? By investing in a health coach program.
After doing a quick Google search, you realize that deciding on a health coach program isn’t going to be as easy as you thought. But with the New Year right around the corner, you decide that this year will be different, and you’re determined to start a program ASAP.
Health coaching is completely new to you, and naturally, you have no idea how to compare and contrast health coach programs.
Selecting the best health coach program is no easy feat. This blog post aims to clear up any confusion and to point you in the direction that is best for you and your future. Read on to discover 5 things to consider when selecting a health coach program in 2020.
CONTENT AND CURRICULUM
First, it’s important to consider what type of information you’d like to learn from your health coach program. Are you interested in learning more about general nutrition? Or, would learning more about natural health be more interesting to you?
Most health coach programs cover basic health and wellness topics: nutrition, exercise, rest, and working with clients. To determine which program is right for you, make it a priority to look for each program’s differentiating factor. Ask yourself, “What makes this program stand out?”
Make a point to also research the school’s philosophies, values, and mission.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s important to learn more about their curriculum. Health coach schools usually provide an “at-a-glance” look at the topics and focuses of their programs. For example, if you’re interested in a natural health coach program, the curriculum may consist of the study of Iridology, Bach Flowers, and/or other supportive techniques.
Target client populations may also differ from one school to the next. Some health coach programs may focus on teaching students how to work with generally healthy adults whereas another program may focus on pregnant women and/or children as the target client.
PROGRAM STRUCTURE AND LENGTH
Many people get confused about the varying lengths of health coach programs. Some health coach programs are 6 weeks long whereas others are a year or more. What’s more important than the length of the program are the potential outcomes.
First, determine if there’s a chance of earning additional certifications through independent organizations upon completion of the program or upon completion of additional courses offered by the school.
Currently, health coaching is an unregulated field. This means that health coaches are not yet required to complete a standardized program to practice.
Health coaches do need to adhere to their scope of practice, however, to avoid any legal issues. For example, a health coach cannot call themselves a “dietitian” which is a regulated and licensed field requiring a four-year degree.
Independent organizations have made an effort, however, to create program standards of excellence in the health coach industry. They achieved this by selecting programs which fit a specific set of standards to earn additional certifications.
In addition to program length and additional certifications, you’ll also want to consider the program’s structure. Ask the enrollment specialists from each program how the courses are taught, if there are any instructors, and how the content is delivered. You should also ask about homework assignments, hands-on activities, and ask if the program includes a required practicum and/or a required amount of contact hours with clients.
Becoming a health coach is a very personal journey. Therefore, the most important consideration to take into account when choosing a health coach program is your own goals.
Some people want to become a health coach to better the lives of others in a professional setting, whereas others want to help their families to become healthier. Others may be interested in becoming a health coach to enhance their current knowledge, professional experience/status, or to write a book.
So, ask yourself, “What would I like to achieve by becoming a health coach in 2020?”
It’s beneficial to write down your goals and keep them nearby as you research health coach programs. When you’ve narrowed down your list of possible schools, revisit your list to see if the health coach program satisfies your short and long-term goals.
INTERACTION AND SUPPORT
We all learn in different ways. Some of us may learn better through interaction while others learn most effectively by watching video tutorials solo. Others may learn best by doing a hands-on activity or participating in a mixture of these learning styles.
Analyze your own learning style before selecting a health coach program. By doing so, you place yourself in the best position to choose the right school for you. Completing this analysis also helps increase the chances of getting everything you want out of a health coach program.
Keep in mind that not all health coach programs offer interaction and support. Some health coach programs may offer minimal support and/or be difficult to reach if you have an issue. On the other hand, there are health coach programs which are taught by instructors and include discussions and other interactive components similar to a traditional classroom learning experience.
One way to determine which category a health coach school falls into is by calling or emailing them directly. Make note of how long it takes you to receive a response or to speak with someone. You should also ask the health coach school directly how they support and interact with students to ensure success and understanding of the materials.