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Best Health Coach Certification Programs

How To Get Started as a Health Coach

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A health coach helps clients set goals, address health concerns, and implement lifestyle changes. Many health coaches work independently, either online or in person, or at health clubs or medical centers. 

We compared several well-regarded health coach certification programs available in the U.S. and considered factors such as cost, package options, and available specialties to help you find a health coach certification program to meet your career goals.

Best Health Coach Certification Programs for 2023

Best Overall : Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN)

Institute for Integrative Nutrition

 Institute for Integrative Nutrition

  • Cost: $6,995 with monthly payment plans available; Contact admissions via email or through chat on the company website for promotional pricing if paying in full
  • Certificate of Completion: Yes
  • Online or In-Person?: Online
Why We Chose It

Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) is a licensed vocational school and one of the leading programs in health coaching, offering a broad curriculum that provides college credit. 

Pros & Cons
  • Offer a six-month accelerated program

  • World’s largest health coaching program

  • Supportive online community

  • Program requires a longer commitment than others

  • Primarily focuses on nutrition

  • No in-person learning


Since 1992, IIN has offered an online health coach certification program with over 155,000 certified students in 175 countries. Its comprehensive program equips you to work with clients one-on-one or in groups or alongside healthcare professionals such as medical doctors, chiropractors, personal trainers, registered dietitians, and nutritionists.

With a health coach certificate, you will be well-versed in nutrition science, wellness concepts, coaching methods and theories, and business building and marketing skills.

The one-year or six-month accelerated program cost is $6,995, but IIN may offer promotional pricing if tuition is paid in full and you must have a high school diploma or equivalent to apply. IIN is a licensed vocational school, and your certificate equals 29 college credits toward a degree at a participating institution.

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition provides modules through its online learning center with audio and visual lectures, quizzes, assignments, and tests. You can connect with classmates and instructors through their private Facebook group. 

Best for Most Intensive Program : Duke Health & Well-Being Coach Training

Duke Integrative Medicine

 Duke Integrative Medicine

  • Cost: $5,500, but discounts and financial assistance are available
  • Certificate of Completion: Yes
  • Online or In-Person?: Both online and in-person; As of Jan. 2023, in-person learning is on pause until July 2023
Why We Chose It

The Health & Well-Being Program offered by Duke Health is an in-depth learning experience geared toward medical or allied health professionals who can commit to nine months of education.

Pros & Cons
  • Experienced clinical and research program

  • Limited to 50 participants per course

  • Requires five hours per week

  • Designed for medical and allied health professionals

  • Must have a bachelor’s degree or at least three years of related experience

  • Online only; In-person pause until July 2023


The Duke Health & Well-Being Coach Training is designed with the medical or allied health professional in mind who want to expand their skills and learn how to work with clients to change behavior and promote healthy habits. This 9-month intensive program covers topics such as the role of a health coach, patient-centered care, and implementing your new coaching skills with your patients.

The DHWCT course is offered in-person and online, though in-person learning is paused until July 2023. Students spend three hours per week in online lectures and two hours on homework, must attend all webinars, and pass the final exam with 80% or higher. You can retake the exam as many times as needed during the exam period.

This course is $5,500, but discounts and financial assistance are available. Applications are available online, but you must have a bachelor’s degree or at least three years of related experience in a field such as medicine, nursing, physical therapy, health education, exercise physiology, psychotherapy, or nutrition.

Best for Pregnancy Health : Dr. Sears Wellness Institute Pregnancy Course

Dr. Sears Wellness Institute

 Dr. Sears Wellness Institute

  • Cost: $945
  • Certificate of Completion: Yes
  • Online or In-Person?: Online
Why We Chose It

The Dr. Sears Pregnancy Course is designed for non-healthcare professionals and focuses primarily on individuals interested in working with pregnant and postpartum clients.

Pros & Cons
  • Six weeks in length

  • Prerequisites include high school diploma and minimum 18 years of age

  • Self-paced

  • Less recognized than other programs

  • Only pregnancy and nursing focused

  • Yearly recertification fee of $145


The Dr. Sears Pregnancy Health Coach program is for those who want to work primarily with women during pregnancy and postpartum and teaches coaches how to help women eat right, reduce stress, and engage in exercise. This program is targeted at non-healthcare professionals, and you must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma to apply. 

Programs are self-paced and begin at scheduled dates throughout the year. Courses are available online, 24 hours a day. The site lists the next program start date, but you'll have to reach out to the company for future offerings.

Students use the interactive learning portal for videos, e-learning segments, and conference calls that connect students and instructors. 

The pregnancy health coach program is $945 and is accredited and approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine. 

Best Full-Time Program : Arizona State University (ASU) Online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (Healthy Lifestyles Coaching)

Arizona State University

Arizona State University 

  • Cost: $16,238 per year for non-Arizona residents and $13,968 for residents based on 12 credit hours per semester
  • Certificate of Completion: Yes
  • Online or In-Person?: Online
Why We Chose It

If you’re looking for a Bachelor of Science degree focusing on health coaching, the full-time ASU online program is a good choice for the full-time student. This program requires more prerequisites than others on our list and is the most expensive.

Pros & Cons
  • Bachelor's degree

  • Rolling start dates

  • Prepares you for certification

  • May be cost prohibitive

  • Many prerequisite courses and a 3.0 GPA required

  • In-person option unavailable


The full-time Arizona State University (ASU) Online B.S. Health Sciences is a comprehensive degree with a focus on health coaching. It is designed as a full-time online program and includes 40 courses. ASU uses Canvas, an online learning management system, where you find lectures, audio materials, and active learning assignments.

The estimated cost is $16,238 per year for non-Arizona residents and $13,968 for residents. Like other degree programs, you can expect to complete it within four years. ASU offers rolling start dates, and you can apply online if you meet the prerequisites, including high school or community college coursework and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

ASU is ranked in the top 10 for best online bachelor’s programs in 2023 by U.S. News & World Report, and they have graduated over 6,500 students from their Healthy Lifestyles Coaching program.

Note that this program requires many more prerequisites than others on our list and is the most expensive.

Best for Nutrition : Precision Nutrition Level 1

Precision Nutrition

 Precision Nutrition

  • Cost: $119 per month for 12 months or a $999 one-time payment
  • Certificate of Completion: Yes
  • Online or In-Person?: Online
Why We Chose It

Precision Nutrition is one of the leading providers of nutrition and health coaching certifications. Its science-backed curriculum will provide you with everything you need to help clients make positive changes in their health.

Pros & Cons
  • Self-paced

  • Receive textbooks in the mail

  • Online portal with easy-to-follow videos

  • Score of 75% on all exams to pass

  • Limited spots in each class


Precision Nutrition (PN) takes a science-based approach to nutrition and health coaching. Founded in 2005, the PN program gained momentum as a reputable health coaching certification. Upon completion, you will obtain a PN Coach Level 1 certificate and join a network of hundreds of thousands of health professionals. 

The program teaches how to coach clients throughout their health journey to make better choices about food and daily habits. PN is endorsed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

The coursework costs $119/month for 12 months, or you can pay a one-time fee of $999 if you enroll during a pre-sale. There are no prerequisites required to apply. 

The course is self-paced and usually takes four and a half months to complete. To receive your certification, you must earn 75% on each exam. Tests can be taken at any time, and there is no deadline to complete the program. Enrollment includes a supportive online community, an active Facebook group, and engaging and interactive online materials.

Best for Personal Trainers : American Council on Exercise (ACE) Health Coach Certification

American Council on Exercise

 American Council on Exercise

  • Cost: Basic program: $1,299; Plus program: $1,649; Advantage program: $2,299
  • Certificate of Completion: Yes
  • Online or In-Person?: Online
Why We Chose It

The ACE Health Coach Certification program is an affordable online, self-paced program that sets the highest industry standards and elevates the careers of health coaches and exercise professionals, making it the best option for personal trainers.

Pros & Cons
  • Geared to fitness trainers and professionals

  • Comprehensive program

  • Available online

  • Self-paced

  • Must recertify every two years

  • Higher tuition for additional online resources


ACE is a leader in fitness and health certifications, accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), and a good choice for those who want to further their career as a health coach. The program covers all aspects of health coaching, such as behavior change, coaching strategies, and motivating clients. 

Completely self-paced and online, students can complete the program in four to six months. All content, including exams, video lectures, video coaching sessions, quizzes, one practice test, and digital textbooks, is available through the ACE University platform. 

The Basic study program costs $1,299. The Plus program and Advantage program costs $1,649 and $2,299, respectively, but sales and promotions are often offered with monthly payment plans available. Plus and Advantage offer virtual learning support and additional online resources.

To sit for the certification exam, you must be at least 18 years of age, CPR certified, and have an NCCA-accredited certification or an associate's degree or higher in a related field. You are also eligible if you have a credential from a National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches (NBHWC), an accredited institution, or a minimum of two years of documented experience in health coaching. 

Best for Health and Life Coaching : Health Coach Institute

Health Coach Institute
  • Cost: $5,450 when paid in full, or 7 monthly payments of $850
  • Certificate of Completion: Yes
  • Online or In-Person?: Online
Why We Chose It

Life and health coaching go hand-in-hand, and Health Coach Institute's dual certification program sets you up to succeed in both.

Pros & Cons
  • Get two certifications in 6 months

  • One-on-one coaching and training

  • Based in nutrition and psychology science

  • Fairly expensive

  • No in-person training option


Health Coach Institute (HCI) is a great starting place to learn about the broader methods of coaching, plus specific skills to guide clients in their health journeys. The Dual Health and Life Coach Certification program is a thorough crash course in everything from nutrition to habit changing and business practices.

The dual certification program is completely online, and largely self-paced. However, some programs include live, online modules, and HCI offers frequent live events for its students and members to attend. You'll learn the fundamentals of coaching through four modules or "pillars": Holistic Nutrition for Coaches, Habit Change Coaching Method, Personal Growth (Life Coaching Certificate) and Proven Marketing and Simple Business Systems.

While it's self-paced, the dual-certification program is designed to take about six months to complete. Lessons are released weekly, but you'll have access to all of the course materials for a year from your start-date. The program also includes interactive skills labs, monthly live demos from HCI's founders, Stacey Morgenstern and Carey Peters, and — our favorite part — one-on-one coaching and mentorship with HCI coaches. You can anticipate spending about five to seven hours a week studying and practicing if you want to complete the course in six months.

After completing the ICF-accredited program, you'll receive a certificate of training completion as both a health and life coach, and the cost reflects that. The dual training program costs $5,450 when paid in full, or you can pay in seven $850 installments (for a total of ($5,950).

Best for Health Care Professionals : National Society of Health Coaches

  • Cost: $875
  • Certificate of Completion: Yes; or Certification for licensed health care professionals
  • Online or In-Person?: Online
Why We Chose It

If you are working in health care and looking to improve your patients' outcomes or even expand your career into health coaching, the National Society of Health Coaches offers an excellent path.

Pros & Cons
  • Based on psychological research

  • Designed by nurses

  • Affordable

  • Fully online

  • No one-on-one component

  • Only certifies licensed professionals (but unlicensed people can get certificate of completion)


The National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC) was founded by two nurses and veterans of the health care industry who saw a need to change the dynamic between health care providers and patients who were getting labelled "non-compliant." They developed a program called Evidence-Based Health Coaching (EBHC), using methods from psychology and addiction treatment as well as their observations from the medical field to teach health care providers to focus on active listening, empathy and empowering patients in an effort to change their behaviors and health outcomes.

The program is designed for those in the health care industry, so it doesn't rehash basics that licensed professionals have already learned, but rather builds on them. With purchase of the self-paced course, you'll get the program's manual and access to webinars, training videos, audio recognition, articles, online skills practice, live practice webinars, and a quick reference guide. NSHC's website says the course typically takes 85 to 100 hours of study. The course costs $875, which includes one attempt to pass the certification exam. You can re-take the test for an additional $50.

It's important to note that only licensed professionals — such as nurses, registered or licensed dietitians, and licensed physical therapists (or licensed physical therapist assistants) — are eligible to become certified health coaches through the NSHC, because only licensed professionals are qualified to give treatment coaching and advice. But if you are not a licensed medical or health professional, you will get a certificate of completion. That qualifies you to use these skills for wellness coaching, which, according to NSHC includes "guidance and inspiration provided to otherwise “healthy” individuals who desire to maintain or improve their overall general health status, which often includes smoking cessation, increased physical activity, eating well, and general weight management."

Final Verdict 

Health coach certifications are a great way to establish yourself as a health professional and start coaching clients upon completion. Some programs are geared toward fitness trainers or healthcare professionals. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) was our top pick as a leading health coach certification program in the country and can be completed online. Many programs are self-paced or guided by qualified professionals and take as little as six weeks or up to four years to complete. 

Compare the Best Health Coach Certification Programs

 Health Coach Certification Program  Cost* Certificate? Online online, In-Person, or Both?
Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN)
Best Overall
$6,795 Yes Online
Duke Health & Well-Being Coach Training
Best for Most Intensive Program
$5,500 Yes Both
Dr. Sears Wellness Institute Pregnancy Course
Best for Pregnancy Health
$945 Yes Online
Arizona State University (ASU) Online: Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (Healthy Lifestyles Coaching)
Best Full-Time Program
$16,238 per year for non-Arizona residents and $13,968 for residents Yes Online
Precision Nutrition Level 1
Best for Nutrition
$119/month or $999 on presale Yes Online
American Council on Exercise (ACE) Health Coach Certification
Best for Personal Trainers
Basic program: $1,299; Plus program: $1,649; Advantage program $2,299 Yes Online
Health Coach Institute
Best for Health and Life Coaching
$5,450 when paid in full, or 7 monthly payments of $850 Yes Online
National Society of Health Coaches
Best for Health Care Professionals
$875 Yes; or Certification for licensed health care professionals Online

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does a Health Coach Do?

Like personal trainers or nutritionists, a health coach is a supportive mentor to clients to make food and lifestyle changes to help them reach specific goals like weight loss or improved body composition. This can help them become more active and decrease risk factors for long-term health problems. 

What Is a Health Coach Certification Program?

Health coach certification programs prepare their students to work as certified health coaches. They are available online and in person and cover topics such as behavior change, nutrition, and exercise. There are many certifications online, but only some are accredited programs. Once you complete a program, you can begin a career as a certified health coach, start your own business, or begin working with clients in a wellness setting.

What Does a Health Coach Certification Program Cost?

A health coach certification program can cost between $650 and $7,000. If you want to obtain a bachelor’s degree, you can expect to pay upwards of $20,000 for a four-year program. Note all the expenses associated with a health coach certification program and whether or not they’re included in the total program cost.

Are Health Coach Certification Programs Accredited?

Some programs are accredited by the NCCA, the main accrediting body for fitness and health certifications. Others may not be NCCA-accredited but are recognized by large institutions such as ACE or NASM as in-depth and reputable programs.

How Long Is a Health Coach Certification Program?

Some programs can be completed in as little as six weeks, while others can take as long as four years.


We looked at over eight health coach certification programs in the U.S. and considered factors such as cost, availability, content covered, and whether the program is accredited or recognized by institutions such as ACE or NASM. Many health coaching certification online programs are not reputable and may not be accepted for employment at a gym or health center. All top choices cover coaching strategies, lifestyle change, nutrition, and business basics to prepare you to work with clients upon completion.



Article Sources
  1. Institute for Integrative Nutrition. "Frequently Asked Questions about IIN."

  2. Institute for Integrative Nutrition. "Institute for Integrative Nutrition Accreditation."

  3. Duke Health and Well-Being Programs. "Apply and Register for DHWCT."

  4. Duke Health and Well-Being. "DHWCT FAQs."

  5. Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. "Tuition and Registration."

  6. Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. "Health Coaching for Pregnancy."

  7. Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. "FAQ."

  8. Arizona State University. "What You Need to Know About ASU Online Classes."

  9. Arizona State University. "Online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences – Healthy Lifestyles and Fitness Science."

  10. Arizona State University. "Health Sciences (Healthy Lifestyles and Fitness Science), BS."

  11. U.S. News and World Report. "The Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs."

  12. PrecisionNutrition. "Become a Certified Nutrition Coach."

  13. ACE. "Become a Health Coach."

  14. ACE. "How to Become a Health Coach."

  15. Workplace Health & Safety. "Advancing the Practice of Health Coaching: Differentiation From Wellness Coaching." Accessed 02/22/23.
  16. Cleveland Clinic. “Coaches: What They Do — and How They Can Help You.

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