Health coaches guide and motivate clients to enhance their well-being. Utilizing strategies based on motivational interview techniques and positive psychology, health coaches empower clients to make self-directed and lasting lifestyle changes. If you are a healthy role model for friends and family, are often sought out for advice, and love working with people, health coaching may be the perfect career for you.
Job Market & Industry Outlook for Health Coaches
The job outlook for health coaches is very good. Employment for health education specialists and community health workers is forecast to grow 17% between 2020 to 2030. This fast growth rate is driven by individuals incorporating healthy behaviors into their lives. Other growth drivers include government, healthcare providers, and social services agencies, as they seek to prevent negative health outcomes while reducing costs.
The U.S. Health Coaching market as a whole is also growing rapidly. A recent research report by Marketdata estimates an annual market growth rate of 5.4%, reaching $7.85 billion this year. With a growing emphasis on employee health and wellness due to the pandemic, corporations are contributing to industry growth, with 46% of businesses currently offering wellness programs.
Remote Health Coaching
Health coaching is usually thought of as an in-person service. At the same time, as with other healthcare services, many health coaching services are online due to the pandemic. This trend will likely continue due to the many benefits provided by virtual coaching. These include the ability to reach clients wherever they are, reaching individuals in their homes, and overcoming geographic hurdles such as living in a rural area.
Communicating via video chat, text-based chat, or telephone may not seem as effective as in person. However, when combined with other technologies such as wearable devices and software applications, known as digital therapeutics, research is showing the effects can be powerful.
One illustrative example is the intensive, one-year coaching system by Omada Health to lower the patient blood sugar levels. The results found that on average, patients with high blood sugar levels returned to normal levels, and they achieved a lasting weight loss of 3% of body weight.
How to Become a Virtual Health Coach
Education and training for remote health coach jobs include associate and bachelor’s degrees in health wellness coaching as well as a wide variety of professional training programs and industry certifications. Employers may prefer to hire candidates with an undergraduate degree for entry-level remote health coach jobs. However, other employers may prefer specific education or experience in nursing, geriatrics, nutrition, pediatrics, or behavioral therapy.
Currently, the health coaching industry is largely unregulated. Nevertheless, the profession is evolving and integrating with the mainstream healthcare system. It is increasingly important to secure education or training approved by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) and seek certification. This organization is a subsidiary of the National Board of Medical Examiners and provides standards of practice for the health coaching profession.
Alternatively, potential health coaches can seek certification from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC). To be eligible for certification, applicants must hold a degree from an accredited higher education institution with a major in health education, 25 credit hours in courses addressing the Seven Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Education Specialists.
Obviously, certification from one of the above organizations is important for long-term career growth because the American Medical Association (AMA) created Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for the Health and Wellbeing Coaching sector that went into effect January 1, 2020. This is important for health coaches because CPT codes are necessary for insurance reimbursement. Besides, the AMA only recognizes credentials from the NBHWC and the NCHEC. While these codes are not currently subject to reimbursement, that is the next step.
Health Coach Specializations
Remote health coach jobs are available in a variety of different areas. There are two main areas of specialization: preventative health coaching and symptom and disease management. Within these two areas, the most popular specializations include:
- Weight loss and diet
- Healthy habits
- Stress management
- Physical fitness
- Management of chronic illnesses
Earning Potential as a Health Coach
Health coaches are considered part of the health education specialist category, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of May 2020, the median annual wage for health education specialists was $56,500. Annual wages in the top industries for health education specialists included:
- Hospitals; state, local, and private: $65,530
- Government: $59,070
- Outpatient care centers: $57,850
- Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations: $49,090
- Individual and family services: $43,400
Companies That Frequently Hire for Remote Health Coach Jobs
Jobseekers find full-time and part-time remote health coach jobs with a variety of organizations. Below are a few prominent examples.
- Healthcare facilities and clinics: Health coaches work with patients and their families to manage chronic conditions, improve health outcomes, and reduce return visits.
- Health insurance companies: Health coaches help reduce costs by delivering disease management and prevention programs to clients and at-risk communities.
- Health and wellness providers: Companies such as gyms, yoga studios, and spas may employ health coaches to design custom programs for clients to achieve health and wellness goals.
- Private corporations: Health coaches are playing an increased role within companies and organizations as employers realize the importance of a healthy workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Digital therapeutics & software solutions companies: This refers to the companies that incorporate digital wearables and/or customized software applications to prevent, manage, or treat a broad spectrum of physical, mental, and behavioral conditions.
Examples of hiring organizations include:
UPMC is a health care provider that specializes in accountable, cost-effective, and patient-centered care.
Aios Inc. (dba Fella) is a telehealth medical practice that focuses on men’s obesity.
RoundGlass is a social health and wellness company that helps individuals live their journey of holistic wellbeing.
Anthem Inc. is a healthcare company that offers dental, medical, optical, and life insurance plans.
If you’re considering a career as a health coach, now is a perfect time to start. With new jobs advertised daily in a variety of specializations, this fast-growing occupation offers remote workers unlimited opportunities. Start your research by checking out the Virtual Vocations jobs database to browse thousands of hand-vetted remote health coach jobs.
Are you a health coach? What area of wellness do you specialize in? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!
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