Published: August 14, 2020
This year, health is dominating our global conversation.
Communal health, chronic illness, prevention, immunity. These topics are everywhere, as if we’re seeing them in clear focus for the first time.
We’re developing a new global understanding of the importance of a holistic approach to health—food, movement, meaning, mental health, relationships, all of it—and if we want to make these changes and make them stick, we’re going to need a lot of health coaches to guide us to success.
Are you thinking of becoming a coach? When it comes to choosing your health coach certification program, you’ve got options. How do you decide which program is right for you?
In a recent Facebook Live, our founder and CEO, Sandra Scheinbaum, Ph.D., IFMCP, addressed “4 Ways to Identity The Health Coaching Program That’s Right for You.”
Confused about choosing a health coaching certification program? Our founder and CEO Sandra Scheinbaum, Ph.D., IFMCP, shares some important factors to consider when you’re making this big decision that will impact your future success as a health and wellness coach.Learn more about our award-winning Health Coaching program here: https://functionalmedicinecoaching.org/program/health-coach-certification/
Posted by Functional Medicine Coaching Academy Inc. on Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Here are Sandi’s 4 tips on what to look for:
1. Pick a program that’s approved by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).
The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) sets the gold standard for health coach certification programs. Together with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), NBHWC works to implement their rigorous coach education standards, and it approves only the health and wellness training programs that meet those standards. Only graduates of NBHWC-approved programs may sit for the board-certification exam and earn the credential “National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach.”
FMCA is fortunate to be recognized as a NBHWC-Approved Training Program, meaning that after completing our program, you may choose to sit for the board certification exam. Why is that important? While you can certainly go into business as a coach after completing your certification with FMCA (and many do), board certification is a gold-standard credential in our industry. We’re seeing more and more clients, doctors, companies, and hospital systems who prefer to hire coaches with NBHWC certification.
By choosing FMCA, you’ll have the option to sit for board certification if you choose to pursue that path.
2. Make sure you’ll be able to use CPT Codes with your clients.
This one is a little more complex. CPT codes are what the healthcare industry uses to describe and track medical services provided by healthcare professionals. CPT stands for stand for Current Procedural Terminology (CPT); these codes are managed by The American Medical Association (AMA) and used by insurance companies and other professional entities to track and reimburse for particular services. When a new health-related procedure or treatment emerges, one whose use is not yet mainstream, its increasing adoption and data collection can be tracked using a Category III CPT code.
To put it simply, it’s a big deal when a new healthcare approach receives a Category III CPT code. It means it’s moving into the mainstream. And as of Fall 2019, health and well-being coaching is now trackable using its very own Category III CPT code!
The data this code generates is essential because Medicare and insurers look at evidence of effectiveness, improved outcomes, and potential financial savings when deciding if a treatment or service is covered. Which means that while most health coaches are not reimbursed through insurance right now, we anticipate that as the evidence mounts behind the Category III code, they will be moved up to Category I.
Why is this important? Not every health coach can use CPT codes—only health coaches certified by the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). If you’d like to use the Category III code and hope to advance with the data towards Category I, choose a program that’s NBHWC-approved, like ours.
3. Vet the program’s credentials and faculty.
Another way to tell if a program is “the real deal” is to look at who’s associated with it. This is a 2-part question: First, are the faculty experts in their fields? What is their experience, where did they study, what is their background? Second, who or what is the program affiliated with?
A general rule of thumb: if you can’t easily find educators or their credentials on a program’s website assume they don’t have any. At FMCA, our world-class faculty are leaders in Functional Medicine, health coaching, mind-body medicine, and positive psychology. We strive for excellence and are proud of our faculty of subject matter experts and the inspiring way they bring our curriculum to life. Our amazing faculty play an active role in your academic experience.
Second, affiliations. At FMCA, our collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) is at the core of our approach. We are proud to say we are the only health coach certification program designed in collaboration with IFM, which sets the standard of science-based curriculum in areas of Functional Medicine and functional nutrition. IFM’s renowned experts are the ones who teach both the IFM and FMCA curricula, modified for coach approach.
4. Make sure they train you in the health coaching scope of practice.
Scope of practice is a big deal in the health coaching world, and for good reason. The scope of practice refers to the process of coaching and the guidelines that you follow when you are doing anything related to coaching, and it exists to protect both you and your clients. When you’re comparing health coach certification programs, you can assess a particular program’s integrity based on their commitment to the health coach’s scope of practice. How can you find this information out? Start by looking at what their graduates are doing: are they acting out-of-scope as nutritionists by prescribing food plans or as medical doctors by diagnosing or treating? If so, those are huge red flags.
At FMCA, we understand how important of scope of practice is to the health of your clients, your career, and our field’s growth overall. Scope is not restrictive, and it’s not about what you can’t do; it’s about what you can do. We teach the principles of Functional Medicine so that graduates can work effectively with Functional Medicine practitioners, whether by accepting referrals if they run their own business, or directly working for medical practices.
There’s never been a better time to start your journey as a health coach. Check out more about our award-winning Health Coach Certification Program designed in collaboration with IFM and approved by NBHWC here.