Where can a health coaching career take you? Many people considering a health coaching education or graduating from a program like FMCA wonder what comes next. This week Dr. Sandi shares her list of 26 Career Opportunities for Health Coaches.
While most think of health coaches working solely within medical offices, that is only one of the many career opportunities available for health coaches. As health coaching grows, more and more industries are hiring health coaches. Corporations are hiring health coaches to help their employees. Schools are hiring coaches to assist students. Even grocery stores are hiring coaches to help shoppers. There are opportunities everywhere for health coaches to thrive.
- Get ideas for new health coaching businesses.
- Learn which industries are hiring health coaches.
- Be inspired to create your unique career in health coaching.
- Think outside the box when looking for a health coaching position.
Meet the Host
Dr. Sandra Scheinbaum
Founder and CEO of FMCA
Dr. Sandra Scheinbaum spent nearly five decades making healthcare and education more holistic and innovative. With a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, Sandi specialized in positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mind-body medicine, and served as a teacher and the director of a clinic for Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD). She is a pioneer in her field, having implemented programs such as the use of neurofeedback with patients and becoming the first-ever psychologist to earn certification through The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM).
Sandi: Today we’re bringing you a special edition of Health Coach Talk. We’re going to be talking all about career opportunities. This is a question I’m frequently asked. What’s it going to be like if I’m a health coach? Where could I work? If I’m starting my own business, what could I do? So, I’m going to be digging into this topic and focusing on all of the opportunities that are out there. Now, this is not an exhaustive list. Actually, I had 25 opportunities for health coaches, and then at the last minute, I was thinking about another one. And so I changed this slide to say “26 Career Opportunities for Health Coaches.”
The first one on the list is one that most people are familiar with, medical offices. And when you look at working for a doctor, well, there are many types of doctors. We train people to work with functional integrative medicine doctors, lifestyle medicine doctors. There are also more and more conventional primary care doctors, internists, pediatricians that are looking for health coaches and also specialists. So, perhaps you can work for cardiologists or neurologists. So, the sky’s the limit in terms of the type of doctor, and it depends on what you want to specialize in. There are also nurse practitioners hiring health coaches, chiropractors, nutritionists. I know of a nutritionist who has a program and she has hired many of our graduates. Also, mental health professionals. I could see a psychologist partnering with a health coach, for example.
And number two is the digital medical practices. So, these are these facilities that have no… They are digital. This is telehealth, and they might be located around the country, around the world, and they are hiring health coaches.
Hospitals, large hospital systems are also hiring health coaches. An example that comes to mind is the New York City hospital system. They have a new lifestyle medicine program, and part of that team includes a health coach.
Number four. These are broad categories. Corporations. Well, there are thousands of corporations. There are large Fortune 500 companies. There are tiny companies that might be just local. Family businesses, for example. And think also about corporations like a law firm. I had a friend I was talking with and she said, “Oh, yeah, we have a health coach. Her name is Coach Molly, and she is offering health coaching to any of the lawyers in the firm.” So, okay, law firms. What about accounting firms? What about banks? What about people in the financial industry? Actually, for many years, they had hired life coaches and also now they’ve hired nutritionists. I met one a number of years ago at a coaching conference. And so they are also now hiring health coaches.
Fitness center. The fitness center that I belong to has a health coach. She often leads wellness classes.
There are also wellness centers. These are centers where there might be massage therapists and acupuncturists, and they have a health coach as well as spas. These can be day spas in a community, or they can be destination spas where you would travel to a retreat-type setting, and there would be a health coach.
Retail pharmacy. We have our big chains like CVS has been hiring or looking at developing programs with health coach as well as some of the much larger chains that are looking into health coaches.
And grocery chains. I was at an event and somebody from a large grocery chain talked about their big initiative to help people who are shoppers make smart choices. So, we could expect in the coming years to see these facilities, they’re getting more and more into healthcare and along with that healthcare, whether it’s a pharmacist who is working with a health coach, for example, or a dietitian working with a health coach, but that is the intent for these centers to be hubs for people in the community because they’re accessible, often easier for somebody to come there than it is to see a doctor.
Number nine, schools and universities. We have a graduate who’s working in a high school. He is a wellness officer in that school. And also universities are expanding their program for health coaches. We have some, if you are inclined to teach what you have learned as a coach, there are more and more coaching programs that are in development as the demand for coaching continues to grow. Then there’s demand for more training programs. And so you can take your skills and teach them to others in these training programs.
Government agencies are also hiring health coaches. For some who are very interested in public health may want to pursue this route.
Insurance companies. Insurance companies want to…they have a big vested interest in the health of the covered lives, and so, for years, they were one of the first to employ health coaches.
Number 13, this would be those apps, monitoring devices, Fitbit, for example, where they are hiring health coaches for their members, for the consumers, so that someone can elect to work with a health coach if they are tracking on these apps or remote monitoring devices.
Number 14 is direct to consumer testing companies. I have talked to a number of representatives of these lab-testing companies, for example. You get your results back, and many of these companies are considering working with health coaches because they will help people to…they don’t directly interpret the results, but they will help them provide guidance for next steps.
Supplement companies. I talked to somebody who is… This is a supplement company for probiotics. And she was saying, “Yeah, you know, we’re thinking about having health coaches.” And so having that skill set can often be one that will be desirable for, as these companies are thinking, “Well, we want to just do more than sell our products. We want to really help people have the personal guidance to be in a better state of health.”
Natural foods stores. So, we talked about the large grocery chains like, for example, Albertsons is getting into health. But what about the mom-and-pop stores where you can go in and you can give lectures. And then some that are middle ground like sprouts and natural grocers. They are often hiring health coaches to come in and do programs.
So, now let’s go to all of the ones that I mentioned were where you might be employed or you might be an independent contractor. But what about you’re thinking, “I want to just start my own business.” If you have that entrepreneurial spirit, and you are very excited by the possibility, well, the sky’s the limit.
So, number 17 is what we’re most familiar with, where your opportunities to have clients, one-on-one coaching.
Number 18 is something that is growing and that is to give group programs. Now these can be classes, or they can be ongoing groups. And the group model is one that is very effective, and it’s very accessible and affordable. If you are somebody who is very creative, you might invent a product, for example, and there are coaches who have gone on to do that.
You can become a cooking instructor. We have graduates who are trained chefs, or they went to become a chef after they became a health coach, or maybe they already had that skill set, and they are doing cooking instruction. There’s also examples of health coaches who have started restaurants, for example.
Then, what about if you like to educate in a big way? Well, there’s always a big demand for public speakers. Think about groups in the community where you will be sought after for your ability to convey information from the state. This can be local. It can be something that can be remote.
Perhaps you want to start a podcast or become a blogger. We have several of our graduates who have started podcasts successfully as well as summits. There are summits. I have hosted a summit, and I have been a guest speaker on many summits. And I know that we have graduates who have also hosted summits as well as be sought after as a guest speaker. And if you have an area of specialization, then you would fit the bill if somebody is having a summit. And I should say that, at Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, in our alumni program, we help people who have these desires to launch their career in this way, and we would help them and give them support and guidance. I know I personally do that all the time in my office hours.
Number 24, and that is you can write a book. You can write a book about wellness. It is easy to self-publish these days, and so writing a book might be something that excites you or you can write a cookbook. A few years ago, a number of our graduates got together, and they wrote a great cookbook.
Number 25. Perhaps you have a talent for social media or you love being on social media. Well, you can. That can have a major presence. As an influencer, you can really spread the word about the value of coaching, and there’s many different directions you can go.
And finally, number 26. You could be a filmmaker. You can create a docuseries. You can create a documentary. And if you are creative and perhaps you have a background in the arts, then that is something that you can do. Some of the people who are in health and wellness have created great documentaries, and this is something that…again, the sky’s the limit, and this list is not limited, so I’m sure that I missed some, and you can maybe think of others. This field is exciting. It is evolving, and it is growing and is one of the fastest growing amongst the healthcare professions.
So, I hope that that piqued your interest and gave you some possibilities for what opportunities there are out there, either if you want to work for somebody or you want to create your own business.
So, that’s it for today for my solo Health Coach Talk. I hope you will tune in again for the next Health Coach Talk.