The health coach job description calls for an individual who is capable of instructing others in order to provide them with a healthier way of life. These individuals may work for hospitals or clinics, but they may also work on a freelance, per-contract basis and be hired directly by their clients.
A health coach assesses client lifestyles, addresses health concerns and then works with the clients to make behavioral, nutritional and other changes in order to promote better health and wellness.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Health Coach
- Contacts and performs initial interviews with individuals who are eligible for health coaching programs.
- Provides necessary coaching to reduce or eliminate behaviors that are considered high-risk.
- Supports the operational aspects of the employer in order to promote client satisfaction.
- Develops and conducts seminars and conventions for family members, clients or even employees who are interested in learning more about health and wellness.
- Creates and distributes health education materials such as brochures to clients.
- Develops care plans that are custom-tailored to individual clients.
- Coordinates with clients’ other healthcare providers in order to provide a well-rounded experience.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrates innovation and an acceptance of new ideas and concepts.
- Shows the ability to resolve conflicts with clients and overcome their objections about their health and behaviors.
- Possesses above average optimism and the ability to motivate clients to make vital changes in their lives.
- Exhibits effective communication skills for working with clients, their families and their other healthcare providers.
- Demonstrates a commitment to clients and a willingness to go above and beyond normal responsibilities to provide the best care possible.
- Shows self-confidence and the ability to express views that may not be popular or shared by clients.
Education and Experience
In order to work as a health coach, an individual should possess at least a Bachelor’s degree in a field such as health education, nursing, athletic training or nutrition. He or she will need vast knowledge regarding topics such as weight management, nutrition, pre- or post-natal care, reducing stress, handling chronic conditions and more. Since some experience as a healthcare provider is necessary, many health coaches start out working as nursing assistants, nutrition counselors or nurses and work their way up.
The work environment of a health coach fluctuates quite a bit based upon his or her employer. In some cases, clients are required to schedule appointments and visit a facility in a clinical fashion. In others, the coach will visit clients in their homes—particularly when dealing with seriously ill or disabled clients. They work 40 hours in a five-day workweek under normal circumstances, but they may also be called upon during nights, holidays and weekends in emergency situations.
The amount of money a health coach can make depends on whether or not the individual is employed directly or working on a freelance, per-contract basis. Overall, the national average health coach salary is $58,000. Private or freelance coaches earn the most at between $80 and $100 per hour while those who are employed with small agencies or clinics earn the least at just under $30,000 per year.