Should Physical Therapists Get A Wellness Coach Certification?

certified wellness coach

Did you know that approximately 57% of working adults in the U.S. and Canada regularly report experiencing stress? And it’s clear that daily stress takes a toll on our mental, emotional, and physical health? If you have a background in physical therapy, the impact of stress on recovery is just one of the many elements you may have an opportunity to address at a deeper level with the right training. By becoming a certified wellness coach, you can learn techniques for treating your patients more holistically, helping them recover better and faster by addressing stressors in other areas of their lives.

In addition to improving patient outcomes, it also enhances your career path. Read on for our complete guide on why becoming a certified wellness coach will be beneficial to your practice, followed by simple steps you can take today.

What Is a Certified Wellness Coach?

A wellness coach certification helps you work directly with clients to improve their overall health, wellbeing and life. The main goal of a wellness coach is to bring out the best in our clients based on their own desired directions and goals.

Through evidence-based practices, wellness coaches help clients bring about positive behavioral changes to issues that may be inhibiting their health, wellness and performance progress. If a client doesn’t know where to start, a certified wellness coach can also utilize skills related to motivational interviewing, intrinsic motivation and other strategies to help move them forward in a positive direction.

Ultimately, health coaches come alongside individuals to help create sustainable and lasting behavior, so it is essential to develop a good rapport with the client. As an all-encompassing professional, wellness coaches can help address the following, among others:

  • Declined physical activity
  • Chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease)
  • Anxiety
  • Obesity

What Else Can Health Coaches Help With?

Since many clients don’t have a diagnosis, like diabetes, that has a definitive impact on their lifestyle, they may want a health coach for other reasons:

  • Eating healthy
  • Career changes
  • Life changes
  • Work-life balances
  • Decreasing stress
  • Enhancing sleep
  • Time management

Wellness coaches can even help with relationship stress or achieving larger life and performance goals.

Health Coach Values

Wellness coaches should have a broad understanding of natural and holistic solutions that can support a client’s health journey, including social skills and interactions that play a critical role in your client’s success. Three ways that health coaches do this are:

  • Support
  • Encouragement
  • Accountability

A health coach looks at all areas of wellbeing while providing unconditional support on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. You will have to remove your biases and provide knowledge in a wholesome manner to clients.

This also means continuing to support your clients even when the going gets tough. Wellness is a long-term goal, and there will be days when you need to be a cheerleader or shoulder to lean on more than anything else.

Accountability is one of the most critical parts of a client’s journey. You and your client should set obtainable benchmarks, and you will need to push and encourage a patient towards those healthy changes.

Wellness Coach vs. Physical Therapy

If you’re asking, ‘Are wellness coaches the same as physical therapists?’ the answer is a resounding “no!” Wellness coaches and physical therapists require different training and credentials.

Yet, many of their goals align, such as encouraging better health and wellness in the community and with individuals. Both can work in various settings and with groups or individuals. Just like physical therapists can specialize in areas such as pediatrics, orthopedics, neuro or rehab, wellness coaches can specialize with specific clientele or businesses.

Wellness coaches have two options for certification: the Certified Wellness Coach (CWC) program and Master Certified Wellness Coach (MWCW) program. Both programs can generally be completed based on your personal timeline and then require the completion of a final exam.

On the contrary, physical therapists complete their undergraduate studies before applying to a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. After acceptance and completion of a DPT program, future therapists sit for the national exam, which will provide the licensure to work in their state as physical therapists (PTs).

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) have a shorter and more streamlined route, much like a physician’s assistant program compared to medical school. PTs and PTAs are the only two disciplines that can administer physical therapy treatment.

PTs are also health specialists that evaluate and treat various disorders, diseases, and illnesses. They use physical examinations and specific treatment plans that help patients restore or regain function. They do this through:

  • Exercises
  • Stretches
  • Equipment
  • Specialized hands-on techniques

Patients typically see a physical therapist if they have an injury or illness that affects their physical functioning.

Combined Wellness Coach and PT

You can combine a wellness coach certification program with a PT or PTA career, as a qualified health coach institute teaches generalist viewpoints on overall wellness.

Anyone with a PT or PTA licensure is eligible for continuing their education with a health and wellness coaching certification, and will only increase their knowledge base and skill set by combining the two.

At the Catalyst Coaching Institute, we offer seamless routes for PTs and PTAs to get certified in health and wellness coaching. We also are the only health coach certification program that provides continuing education units for PTs and PTAs combined with being approved by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching.

Combining a wellness coach certification and PT or PTA degree can also help with:

  • Increasing referrals
  • Expanding opportunities for business
  • Additional earnings as a side business
  • Increasing patient engagement
  • Rejuvenating your practice or providing a spark in your career

At Catalyst Coaching Institute, you have the option as an expert in physical therapy to enter the CWC program or to continue with national certification. What is the difference and benefit between the two?

Certified Wellness Coach Program

The CWC program is uniquely designed for anyone starting out with wellness coach training. The Fast Track Wellness Coach Certification begins with a two-day, virtual event that you can do from the comfort of your home. In addition, you’ll compliment this focused training with the following:

  • 12 wellness webinars
  • Three practice coaching sessions
  • Coaching skills assessment
  • Final exam

The CWC program is an excellent option for expanding a skillset in physical therapy or looking at a side business. After completing the CWC program, you can continue on to MCWC if you’d like to pursue national board certification through the NBHWC.

Master Certified Wellness Coach Program

The MCWC program helps you qualify for the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHCW) certification. If you want to become a nationally certified health and wellness coach, also known as NBC-HWC, you must pass the certifying examination.

With the CWC program, prospective individuals can achieve the proper training needed. Here are some additional features of the MCWC program:

  • 18 hours of live training sessions
  • Interactive courses
  • 12 recorded webinars
  • 36 contact hours

The benefit of the MCWC through Catalyst Coaching Institute is that it aligns with your work schedule. Most interactive courses and webinars can be completed during evening hours, allowing you to continue working as you complete the program.

Additionally, we offer six-month, interest-free financing to help you get your career going faster if that’s helpful to your decision and timing.

Health Coaches and Public Health

Health professionals who help patients with sustainable and modifiable changes in their lifestyle can help fight against preventable diseases, as well as improve the health and wellbeing of those diagnosed with chronic illnesses.

Health coaching arose within the healthcare industry to help meet the needs of patients in and out of professional healthcare settings with supportive, comprehensive healthcare that treats the patient as a whole.

Health and wellness coaches are cost-friendly professionals that may help address critical deficits within the public health system.

Researchers speculate that integrating health coaches more fully into society will help:

  • Improve community and individual health
  • Increase patient engagement with health
  • Support the healthcare community

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to help patients manage stress, life changes, and lifestyle choices became increasingly critical, as physicians and other health providers were limited in their capacity to follow up with patients. Alternatively, health coaches have more capacity to work with patients long-term.

Market Yourself

Once you obtain a health coach certification, you may decide to start your own coaching business or offer coaching within your practice. This involves marketing your expanded skillset. With a background in physical therapy, you can emphasize your expertise and extensive knowledge in the health field. Focus on your credentials and any areas of specialty you’ve worked in as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.

You may also consider specializing in an area that you’re passionate about, such as employee wellness programs, or self-care strategies for working individuals. If you target a specific demographic, you can reach out to the associated businesses, gyms, schools, etc. to find your ideal clients.

Job Outlook for Physical Therapy

The average median pay for physical therapists is just over $91,000 annually. During 2020, there were almost 240,000 jobs available, with an expected increase by 21% in physical therapy jobs over the next decade–much faster than growth averages in other sectors.

Adding in health coaching is an expanding career choice for those who want to step away from hands-on clinical work or want to broaden their business.

Job Outlook for Health Coaches

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have specific data on health coaches, but you can pull up projections for health education specialists. As of 2020, there were over 125,000 jobs.

Similar to physical therapy, the outlook for health education is growing substantially. During the next decade, the projected job opportunity growth is 17 percent, similar to projections for fitness and athletic trainers.

These statistics are evidence that the expansive public health field is continuously growing, and that you can only benefit your career by adding health coach credentials and training.

The average salary for a health coach ranges from $35,000 to $80,000. With a background in physical therapy, you could also consider working as an independent practitioner and set your own rates and schedule.

Become a Certified Wellness Coach

Health professionals with backgrounds in physical therapy, nutrition, and other medical careers thrive in this program.
A certified wellness coach can open doors for independent work, increased referrals, and a more fulfilling career. What are you waiting for?

Expand your PT or PTA career by enrolling with Catalyst Coaching Institute today! Learn more about the specific benefits for PTs and PTAs on our Wellness Coach Certification for Physical Therapy page.

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