The Importance of the National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaching Exam

As of this blog post, anyone can say they are a health and wellness coach. At Take Care Coaching, we’ve unfortunately met many folks who claim this title, but who have no legitimate education or evidence-based training in the area. They may advocate for juice cleanses or another fad diet to help you lose weight. They may look like they know what they’re doing and mean well, but they are not certified to provide you with real coaching. In fact, their coaching may do you more harm than good!

Thankfully, the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (formerly known as the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching), the National Board of Medical Examiners and countless legitimate coaching schools and organizations have come together to create more standardization in the field with the National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaching Exam. This exam seeks to provide a minimum standard and measure of foundational competencies in the knowledge, tasks and skills essential to the practice of health and wellness coaching. The exam is based on best practices.

The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching believes “as people use coaching to build healthier habits, these positive changes will become synergistic and spread, causing many aspects of our world to transform” (NBHWC, 2019). The credential enables those certified to provide evidence of their expertise and quality as competent health and wellness coaches. Further, the credential allows stakeholders such as health care professionals, patients, employers, and educators to identify practitioners who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities essential to effective health and wellness coaching. This exam and subsequent certification (National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach [NBC-HWC]) is to help you, future client, understand who is a real health coach and who just claims the title.

In fact, to even sit for the exam, coaches have to apply and prove that they have advanced coach training, at least an associate’s degree, and a minimum of 50 sessions of actually coaching clients. Coach training programs that are approved include WellCoaches School of Coaching (where we went!), Real Balance, Duke University’s Coach Certification Course, Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies Institute for Transformational Leadership, and Mayo Clinic’s Wellness Coach Training, to name a few. The coach training must be on an approved list. If an applicant’s coaching program isn’t on the list, they can’t sit for the exam.

This exam was first launched in September 2017 and Take care Coaching was part of its first roll out. We knew it would help change this field for the better. And in a year, it already has. For instance, plans are in the works with health insurance companies to reimburse sessions with coaches who have this certification. It is starting to catch on! So if you meet a coach with the NBC-HWC certification, you can be assured they know what they are doing. Take Care Coaching is National Board Certified. We strongly believe in bringing more standardization to this amazing field so we can help people, like you, live healthier lives and adhere to evidence based best practices. Let us help you! We definitely won’t be coaching you to drink green juice all day, every day.

For more Information about the NBC-HWC Exam, see below:

NBHWC (2019). Why should you become a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC)? https://nbhwc.org/become-an-nbc-hwc/

ICHWC & NCCHWC (2017). Health and Wellness Coaching Job Task Analysis Findings: https://nbhwc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/JTA-ICHWC-Feb-1-2017.pdf

NCCHWC (2016). Press Release: http://www.ncchwc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/5-25-2016-NCCHWC-NBME-Press-Release-May-25.pdf

Megan Aronson