Part of making a big decision is asking questions. We know there’s a lot to consider!
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Check out some of the most common questions we hear from prospective students in the space below.
[Section subhead:] About the Program
[Question:] How is FMCA different from other coaching programs?
[Answer:] FMCA is the only coaching program that has a collaborative relationship with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). Our unique curriculum integrates Functional Medicine and nutrition content taught by IFM faculty with coaching content, such as motivational interviewing, positive psychology, mind-body medicine, and character strengths. Our faculty consists of internationally-recognized thought leaders and experts who are shaping their fields. Students receive individualized attention from course facilitators and the leadership team and have regular opportunities to interact with faculty. Throughout the course, you’ll participate in hands-on, experiential learning sessions and receive individualized feedback during Live Training Sessions. You’ll meet virtually with your cohort group on a weekly basis to coach each other, practice applying your skills, and receive constructive feedback from course facilitators.
For more information on what sets FMCA apart, visit our Why FMCA page.
[Question:] What will a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach certificate allow me to do?
[Answer:] There is growing demand for wellness coaches and increasing recognition of Functional Medicine as the premier strategy for treating chronic disease. Graduating from FMCA as a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, or FMCHC, opens many doors, and FMCHCs are using their training to pursue a range of career paths. They establish private coaching practices, work in Functional Medicine practices, bring Functional Medicine health coaching to traditional medical practices, work in a corporate wellness environment, advance in their current positions, or a combination of a few of these paths.
In addition, graduating from FMCA means you can check off one of the requirements to sit for the National Board Certification exam through ICHWC. FMCA is an ICHWC-Approved Transition Program. More on ICHWC requirements here.
[Question:] Duration: How long is the program?
[Answer:] 12 months.
[Question:] Location: Where is the school located? Where does the program take place? On-site, online?
[Answer:] This is a virtual, online program. We use a web-based learning platform to distribute course content. There are also required Live Training Sessions throughout the course that are conducted via a web-based video conferencing platform.
[Question:] Is the FMCA program recognized by any health coaching approval organizations, such as the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching (ICHWC)?
[Answer:] Yes, this program is an ICHWC-Approved Transition Program. Successful graduates of the program who meet ICHWC’s additional eligibility requirements may sit for the Health and Wellness Coaching Certifying Examination that is required to become a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC). ICHWC is continuing to create new standards for health coaching programs, and we are currently continuing to develop the FMCA course to meet these standards. Learn more here.
[Question:] Will FMCA’s program provide the same training in Functional Medicine that is offered through The Institute for Functional Medicine?
[Answer:] No. While the two courses are very similar, FMCA’s curriculum is designed to train health coaches, not medical practitioners. Our program provides core coaching skills, along with foundational knowledge of Functional Medicine. The Institute for Functional Medicine prepares healthcare providers to practice Functional Medicine.
[Question:] Will I be certified through FMCA or IFM?
[Answer:] You will receive a certificate of completion through FMCA as a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC). The Institute for Functional Medicine offers certification for healthcare providers, not coaches.
[Question:] Is the program approved for continuing education?
[Answer:] We work with a variety of additional professional organizations to receive approval for continuing education. As our program gains new approvals, they will be added to our Partners Page. Learn more here.
[Question:] Does FMCA partner with other organizations?
[Answer:] Yes. Learn more about our partnerships on our Partners page.
[Question:] Can I take just one part of the program?
[Answer:] We designed the curriculum to be a comprehensive experience. Rather than presenting separate courses, we integrate all areas of learning and teach through case studies and personal reflection. You may not enroll in one specific part of the program.
[Section subhead:] About Enrollment
[Question:] Who can enroll in FMCA?
[Answer:] Please see our Application and Requirements page for information.
[Question:] When do new sessions of the program begin?
[Answer:] New sessions begin every March 1 and September 1. Visit the Apply page for information on our open enrollment period.
[Question:] When can I apply?
[Answer:] Admission is rolling. Visit the Apply page for more information on our open enrollment period.
[Question:] How much is tuition?
[Answer:] See our Tuition page for information.
[Question:] When is my tuition payment due?
[Answer:] For up-to-date info on paying tuition, please review our Tuition page.
[Question:] Are there any tuition payment plan options?
[Answer:] Yes. Please review payment plan options on our Tution page. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
[Question:] Does FMCA offer scholarships or participate in any student loan programs?
[Answer:] Not at this time.
[Question:] Does FMCA offer a refund after I pay tuition?
[Answer:] Our Refund Policy: Refunds are offered up to 14 days after the class start date. Students are eligible for a refund of tuition paid minus a $500 processing fee. There will be no refunds after 14 days from the start of class. If you want to withdraw after the class has started, you will be encouraged to complete an exit interview with the Dean of Students to review your reasons for departure.
Application Fee: The $40.00 application fee is non-refundable.
[Question:] Can I defer?
[Answer:] DEFERMENT POLICY: Students have the option to defer to a later class with a $200 deferment fee. Students that defer are held to the refund period of their original class. If you request a deferment after the class has started, you will be required to complete an interview with the Dean of Students to review your reasons for deferment.
[Question:] Can I enroll after the enrollment date has passed?
[Answer:] LATE ENROLLMENT POLICY: Late enrollments are not permitted; incoming students must be prepared to start class on time.
[Question:] Can I transfer my enrollment to another person?
[Answer:] No. Each student must apply and enroll for themselves.
[Question:] I’m a physician/chiropractor. Can I enroll in FMCA?
[Answer:] The practitioner training program offered through the Institute for Functional Medicine might better meet your needs. However, if you are interested in learning coaching skills, the FMCA program may be a good fit for you. If you’re unsure about which program is appropriate, please email email@example.com or schedule a call with our Admissions team here.
[Question:] My background is not in healthcare or fitness. Can I still apply?
[Answer:] Yes. While experience in a health and wellness field is a plus, great coaches come from diverse career backgrounds and prior life experiences. You can learn more about our admissions requirements here.
Please note that if you plan to sit for the Health and Wellness Coaching board certification exam offered by ICHWC, we highly encourage you to review their website; there are additional requirements you need to meet, beyond completing the FMCA program, to take the exam.
[Question:] I don’t wish to become a health coach. Can I enroll in the program to continue my personal journey and professional development?
[Answer:] Absolutely. We encourage you to foster your personal and professional growth even if you have no desire to become a health coach. You may want to add coaching skills to an existing profession or may not have fully defined your career path yet.
[Question:] What do I need to do in order to apply?
[Answer:] Complete our online application, send a copy of your license/certificate/diploma, and submit a $40 non-refundable application fee. Start the process here.
[Section Subhead:] About the Faculty & Curriculum
[Question:] What is Functional Medicine?
[Answer:] Functional Medicine asks how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual. The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It relies on a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.
[Question:] Why is the Functional Medicine movement growing so quickly?
[Answer:] With the explosion of chronic disease across the world, more and more healthcare professionals are learning how to address the underlying causes of disease, rather than focusing on simply relieving symptoms. And as more and more practitioners take the Functional Medicine approach with their patients, more and more clients are in need of Functional Medicine Certified Health Coaches (FMCHCs). FMCHCs help individuals meet their health goals and play a key role in guiding them towards preventing or reversing the chronic conditions that are so pervasive in our modern environment.
[Question:] Who teaches the course?
[Answer:] Our Faculty consists of core instructors and course facilitators.
Our core instructors are world-renowned leaders in Functional Medicine, Health Coaching, mind-body medicine, and positive psychology. They provide the course material in the form of webinars, interviews, and Ask the Expert forums (these forums are an opportunity for students to ask questions directly of our instructors and guest speakers). You’ll also watch select instructors in our popular Coaching in Action videos, where they coach “clients” played by professional actors. View the full list of core instructors here.
Our course facilitators are graduates of the FMCA program, have earned their FMCHC, and have additional credentials. You’ll interact regularly with your course facilitator. They provide guidance, support, and feedback throughout the program and are an integral and beloved part of the FMCA experience.
[Question:] Who are the program’s core instructors?
[Answer:] Core Faculty include Sandra Scheinbaum, PhD, IFMCP, BCB, CHC, RYT; Monique Class, MS, APRN, BC; Beth Frates, MD; Kristi Hughes, ND; Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, CWP; Deanna Minich, PhD, FACN, CNS, RYT; Margarita Tarragona, PhD, and more. Learn about our Faculty on our Educators page.
[Question:] What techniques and approaches are taught in the course?
[Answer:] Coaching skills and best practices, foundational Functional Medicine and nutrition concepts, Positive Psychology, and Mind-Body approaches. For more information, see our Curriculum page.
[Question:] Does FMCA advocate a particular coaching style?
[Answer:] FMCA advocates evidence-based coaching and teaches coaching methods in keeping with the core competencies as defined by the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching (ICHWC) and the standards of excellence set forth by the Harvard Institute of Coaching.
FMCA teachings adhere strictly to a coach’s scope of practice. We do not advocate coaches going beyond their scope of practice, i.e., coaches do not diagnose conditions, prescribe treatments, or provide psychological therapeutic interventions.
[Question:] Does FMCA teach a particular dietary or nutritional approach?
[Answer:] No. Rather than advocating a particular dietary theory or nutritional philosophy, our faculty uses a science-based approach, considering the body of evidence from the most current and robust research available. Read about our program to learn more.
[Section Subhead:] About the Student Experience
[Question:] What is the estimated time commitment per week?
[Answer:] When considering the time you’ll need to devote to the course, there are two main components to account for: flexible time doing your coursework and scheduled time attending live meetings.
FLEXIBLE TIME: The time it takes to move through your coursework will vary depending on your learning style; between readings, videos, webinars, and assignments, most students spend about 10-20 hours per week on their coursework. Within each monthly module, you may complete the coursework whenever is convenient for you. We recognize that our students are adult learners and will pace themselves according to their learning style and schedule.
SCHEDULED TIME: In addition, the course includes 2-4 required Live Training Sessions per month via web-based conferencing; students select a time that works for them to attend these meetings. Additionally, there are Practical Skills Development and Assessments when you’ll meet with faculty. Learn more about these meetings below, under What does the live component of the program entail?
[Question:] What does the live component of the program entail?
[Answer:] The live component of the program includes Live Training Sessions, Practical Skills Development, and Practical Skills Assessment. These three components take place in live (online) meetings with other students and course facilitators.
The goal of Live Training Sessions is to provide you with real-life experience applying the knowledge and skills they’re learning. Throughout the program, cohorts meet for 90 minutes (generally every other week through month 5, every week starting month 6). During these sessions, you’ll review coaching concepts, coach and be coached by your fellow students, observe coaching demonstrations, and develop your coaching skills. Throughout the process, you receive guidance, support each other, and focus on your personal development as a coach. This hands-on, experiential learning provides a great opportunity to build your coaching skills and apply what you're learning.
The Practical Skills Development and Practical Skills Assessment (PSA) offer opportunities for faculty to support the development of our students’ coaching skills and provide an assessment of their progress. Once students pass the PSA, they may start counting their coaching sessions toward their ICHWC coaching log. Learn more about ICHWC requirements here.
[Question:] Will I practice coaching during the program?
[Answer:] Yes. You’ll practice coaching in the secure environment of your cohort group, led by your course facilitator. You’ll also meet 1:1 with your course facilitator for feedback on your coaching skills development. This hands-on coaching and personalized feedback prepares you so that you’re ready to work with real clients after graduation.
[Question:] Will there be exams?
[Answer:] Throughout the course, you will test your knowledge through quizzes to support learning. You will have an opportunity to practice your coaching skills with your cohort during the Practical Skills Development Sessions. These will be followed by a live Practical Skills Assessment, where you will receive live feedback and an evaluation.
[Question:] How will I receive support during the program?
[Answer:] Once you choose your cohort group, you meet your course facilitator. Each course facilitator guides their cohort through the program and provides feedback on assignments. They are accessible via email or through the class discussion boards, and they hold required Live Training Sessions, which occur 2-4 times per month.
In addition, the FMCA leadership team encourages feedback. Students are welcome to reach out to FMCA leadership to communicate any concerns
[Question:] Are there opportunities to meet in person with other students and FMCA faculty?
[Answer:] Yes. FMCA hosts the annual Functional Medicine Coaching Summit as well as regional FMCA “meet-ups” in major US metropolitan areas. Students and alumni occasionally meet up in their local areas as well. And we encourage students to connect with the Functional Medicine community by attending monthly Functional Forums, the industry’s leading integrative medicine conference held around the world and streamed live.
[Question:] What accommodations do you provide for students with disabilities?
[Answer:] Students are advised to contact their course facilitator so that the appropriate accommodations can be provided. Transcripts are available for all course materials, including webinars and videos.
[Section Subhead:] Other Questions
[Question:] What job opportunities exist for health coaches?
[Answer:] There is growing demand for health coaches and increasing recognition of Functional Medicine as the premier strategy for treating chronic disease. Graduating from FMCA as a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) opens many doors, and FMCHCs are using their training to pursue a range of career paths. They establish private coaching practices, work in Functional Medicine practices, bring Functional Medicine health coaching to traditional medical practices, work in a corporate wellness environment, provide direct-to-consumer coaching as contractors for healthcare businesses, advance in their current positions, or a combination of a few of these paths.
[Question:] How does FMCA support their alumni?
[Answer:] We aim to offer a range of support options, as our alumni pursue many different paths and have different needs. The Alumni Program is a robust resource of professional support, education, and community-building opportunities, including mentorship in coaching and business/marketing, the latest developments in Functional Medicine and nutrition, and access to all certification course materials. Our Find-A-Coach directory is a searchable database of all FMCA-trained coaches; alumni add their professional information to their profiles so that clients and practitioners can find them and work with them. Practitioners come to our Functional Medicine Job Board looking specifically for FMCA-trained coaches; they post their open positions and our alumni get exclusive access to these postings. And our quarterly alumni newsletter gives us a place to celebrate wins and keep a pulse on the community. We are grateful to have such an engaged alumni network.
[Question:] Will I have access to the entire course when the class begins?
[Answer:] No. The course is divided into 12 modules. Each new module is released on the first of the month. You have continuous access to previously released modules.
[Question:] How long do I have access to the course materials?
[Answer:] Your course materials will be available for a period of one year after graduation. Beyond that, alumni may choose to access updated program resources for a yearly fee.
[Question:] What books and materials will I need?
[Answer:] Shortly before the course begins, you will receive a reading list including four required books as well as many recommended books. The remaining course material (webinars, audio files, videos, handouts, etc.) will be released to you at the start of each new monthly module.
[Question:] What are the minimum hardware/software requirements?
[Answer:] Learn about our technology requirements here.
International students, please note: the availability of technology varies by country. Please review and ensure you can meet the technical requirements of the program prior to applying to the course, including the ability to access videos on Vimeo.com and utiltize Zoom.us for video conference calling.
[Question:] Is the program set up for international students?
[Answer:] Yes, the program is designed to accommodate students from all over the world. Our global student community is expanding rapidly and we have course facilitators dedicated to meeting the needs of international students. We’re also in the process of translating course materials into Spanish.
NOTE: The availability of technology can vary by country. Please ensure that you are able to meet the technical requirements of the program prior to starting the course. Learn about our technology requirements here.
[Question:] What if I need technical support?
[Answer:] Before the course starts, the FMCA tech team will take you through a tutorial explaining how to use Canvas, our online learning management system. Should you have any problems once the program starts, our technology ambassadors and systems administrator are available to share your screen and troubleshoot any technical difficulties. Canvas Support is available 24/7.
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Still have questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or set up a call with our Admissions Team here.
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