Nationally Certified Wellness Coach

National Exam Blog

Everything you need to know to become a nationally certified wellness coach.

As the health and wellness industry continues to grow and evolve, the importance of national oversight and standards grows along with it. For years, just about anyone could call themselves a health and wellness coach, regardless of training or experience. But all of that changed in 2017, when the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) partnered with the National Board for Medical Examiners (NBME) to create the first National Board Certification exam. Why should I take the exam? Your primary goal as a health and wellness coach is to help people adapt healthy habits into their lifestyle, with the ultimate aim of improving overall health and quality of life by preventing and managing chronic disease and making informed choices for optimized living. But to do this effectively, it’s important for coaches to be as credible and competent as they can be. By participating in a credentialed, professional training program that’s qualified by national certification, wellness coaches gain credibility that stacks up against other health professionals in the field. Becoming certified also helps cement your clients’ trust, while providing you with an ongoing resource for continuing education and professional development. What are the requirements? You can find the complete list of exam requirements on the NBHWC website, but here they are in a nutshell:
  • Certificate of completion from an approved training program.
  • An Associates Degree (or higher), or at least 60 credit hours on an official college transcript. If no degree or credit hours, you must be able to document 4,000 hours of work experience in any field.
  • Written log of 50 health and wellness coaching sessions, at least 20 minutes long each, where 75% of each session focuses on coaching facilitation (rather than education). See the exam guidelines for more detail on what qualifies here.
Time is of the essence–the requirements are changing! As of January 24, 2018, the NBHWC moved to increase the number of practical hours required in all approved training programs. However, because some applicants may be in the process of completing their training, the NBHWC set up a Transition Phase that grants applicants eligibility under the old requirements through October 30, 2020. To sit for the exam, you’ll need to apply during specified application windows, of which only two remain during this Transition Phase:
Application Period Exam Dates
May 1 to July 30, 2020 October 15 to 30, 2020
August 1 to October 30, 2020 February 1 to 22, 2021
After October 30, 2020, all applicants will be held to the new Permanent Phase requirements. This equates to an additional 30 hours in any approved training program (for a total of 75), as well as the necessary rise in program costs. Catalyst Coaching Institute can help you prepare. Our Certified Wellness Coach and Master Certified Wellness Coach programs will prepare for the exam by fulfilling the current training requirements needed for eligibility. The programs build upon each other to put you on the pathway to certification. Enrolling in these programs now not only saves you time, but also saves you money, as our course prices will have to go up after the Permanent Phase begins. In the Certified Wellness Coach Fast Track program, you’ll have the opportunity to meet in person or virtually with our expert mentor coaches, trainers and students from around the world. This course provides the prerequisite voice-to-voice credit hours needed for the Master Certified Wellness Coach Training course, that completes your pathway to the exam. We’ve aligned the course series schedule with the application window of the national exam, to help you maximize your preparation. Upon registration you may begin the online portions or the training.  

Looking for more info on national certification? Our free eBook breaks down the entire process.

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