Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the NSHC not listed with the NBHWC?

The NSHC has higher certification eligibility criteria than the NBHWC. NSHC requires a current license, registration or certification to assess, plan, treat, implement and/or evaluate interventions in the clinical setting. 

The NBHWC includes programs that certify non-clinicians as health coaches, while the NSHC certifies only those with an active clinical license to practice. Due to this difference, the NSHC will remain independent of the NBHWC. 

What is Evidence-Based Health Coaching?

The National Society of Health Coaches describes Evidence-Based Health Coaching (EBHC) as the use of evidence-based skillfull conversation, clinical strategies and interventions to actively and safely engage clients in health behavior change to better self-manage their health, health risk, and acute and chronic conditions resulting in optimal wellness, lowered health risk, improved health outcomes and decreased health costs.
View NSHC's Clinical Model of Health Coaching, first in the nation.

Is Wellness Coaching the same as Health Coaching?

Merriam-Webster defines wellness as the quality of state of being healthy; or in good health, especially as an activity- sought goal.  The Centers for Disease Control define wellness as the degree to which one feels positive and enthusiastic about life.  Therefore, it can be reasoned that wellness coaching is guidance and inspiration provided to otherwise "healthy" individuals who desire to maintain or improve their overall general health.

In contrast, the premise of the NSHC is that health coaching is provided to those with disease, acute and chronic conditions, co-morbidities, and/or moderate to high health risks and shall be conducted by licensed/credentialed healthcare professionals who may also provide clinical interventions and treatments within the coaching engagement.

See NSHC's Published Article: Advancing the Practice of Health Coaching

How can I become a health coach?

The NSHC exclusively certifies only clinicians and practitioners in health coaching. However, the NSHC also awards a Certificate of Completion to all non-licensed healthcare providers upon passing. NSHC's guided self-study program is purchased online followed by Registration. Contact the NSHC with questions of particular interest to you. 

What makes NSHC's program different from all others?

Setting the gold standard for healthcare practitioners and clinicians in health coach certification, NSHC developed the Nation’s first Clinical Model of Evidence-based Health Coaching. Our program was developed by clinicians for clinicians and allied healthcare providers whose goal it is to implement evidence-based health coaching at the point of care to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

What are the legalities of health coaching? Is it regulated? What is my liability?

Health coaching is not regulated at this point. However, there are growing concerns about coaches who engage individuals with chronic conditions or those with moderate to high health risk who are not qualified by licensure to do so. State Practice Acts regulate who can provide clinical interventions. Those without a license who use coaching skills must not cross into the boundaries of medicine, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, or therapy. See NSHC's special presentation: The Legalities of Health Coaching.


What is the cost of NSHC program?

The cost for program materials is $875. NSHC offers volume discount pricing for groups of 5 or more! Click the Course Details link located under the Certification Tab to view volume pricing and requesting an invoice for your volume order. 

Why does NSHC program cost less than other health coaching certification programs?

NSHC's Health Coach Certification program content is based on the knowledge that credentialed healthcare clinicians/pracitioners already have. Therefore, NSHC's program cost is less.

My organization has both clinicians and non-clinicians who want to take NSHC's program. Is the study material different for these two groups?

No, the study materials are the same for both licensed and non-licensed individuals. The advantage of having the same program is that staffs are working from the same foundation and set of strategies; “working from the same page” so to speak, which enhances continuity of your services. Testing, however, is different for each type of user.

How do I choose the health coaching program that's right for me?

These factors can help you narrow your search into a more meaningful one:
Identify those programs that match your background and interest. For example, the NSHC trains only healthcare providers; others are designed primarily for those in personal fitness, others primarily for wellness, and others with a focus on diets and foods.
Be sure the program is based on widely-accepted science by reviewing the program content.
Note the teaching methods used. Do you prefer flexible, independent self-study or do you need live, scheduled personal instruction? 
Contact the program. How soon did the program's staff respond? Do they seem interested in me personally? 
What is the cost? Payment method? How soon can I start? What is testing like?

View NSHC's Clinical Model of Health Coaching, the first in the nation. 



I don't have a license as a clinician, how will NSHC's Certificate of Completion benefit me?

Evidence-based health coaching skills can benefit all individuals who work with people of all ages. Your organization will determine how your new health coaching skills will be used within your current position. We’ve had many people tell us that they have used the strategies with their families and children!

How long does it take to complete the program?

Keep in mind that NHSC's program is designed for independent self-study, and that individuals taking our program vary widely in reading speeds, learning styles and comprehension. It is estimated that it takes a minimum of 85+ hours to complete NSHC's self-study.

What is the difference in the online post test and the certification exam?

The online post test is for those individuals who are not licensed as healthcare practitioners. The online Certification Exam and Skills Competency is primarily for those individuals seeking health coach certification who have a license to provide medical advice and guidance.

How does the NSHC conduct testing?

All testing is conducted online. The NSHC Testing Area is accessible 24/7 to those with current NSHC membership and current unencumbered professional license or credential. Complete details about testing are provided in NSHC's Members Only area of its website.

What does the Certification Exam consist of?

Certification Examination is comprised of two parts. Part 1 Exam is Multiple Choice and Part 2 is Skills Competency.  Part 1 contains 125 items and is timed. Part 1 must be passed before entry into Skills Competency is permitted.

What does the Skills Competency consist of?

Skills competency is timed and is taken only after passing the multiple choice examination. It simulates health coaching encounters via online video, whereby your responses to the clients are scored.

What if I fail the Certification Exam?

We provide one complimentary attempt. You may re-test in 30 days. Re-test Fee $50. If you re-test after your 12-month complimentary period, there is a re-test fee of $50 and membership renewal of $50. You must have a current NSHC Membership to access the Members Only Testing Area.

What are NSHC Member Benefits?

(Applicable to Current NSHC Members)

  • Exclusive Member Email Listserv for professional networking (No profiles to complete!)
  • FREE NSHC Live Practice Webinars (each $125 value)
  • Inclusion in NSHC's CHC Member Registry (Conditions apply)
  • Personal support via phone & email (Complimentary)
  • Certificates printable immediately upon passing 

Does NSHC's program contain motivational interviewing (MI)?

Yes! We have an entire Section devoted to MI with a robust Training Video Series (produced by Psychotherapy.Net and Cathy Cole, MINT Trainer and former NSHC Professional Advisory Board Member). NSHC's highly popular Live Practice Webinars are also offered on a regular basis.

What are some of the methods that organizations use to keep staff on track with NSHC's self-study program?

Some of the most commonly used methods are:

  • Meet with staff to determine what they believe to be a reasonable timeframe for their completion of study and testing.
  • Select an end date for all staff to have completed their study and testing.
  • Give staff a paid day off periodically to meet together onsite for the purpose of independent study time.
  • Give staff “assignments” of the various Manual Sections from week to week in order to meet a company or organization deadline. Each staff member eports progress to a designated leader.
  • Use NSHC's Program Study Guide to set dates for your group's completion of different blocks of study material. (We highly recommend this.)

What is an NSHC CoachClinic®?

The NSHC's private onsite CoachClinic® is a daylong event provided specifically for an organization at their selected venue for its staff and invited guests. This highly interactive clinic is generally used to jumpstart the understanding and use of motivational interviewing within the patient/client engagement and the implementation of evidence-based health coaching by healthcare providers. The day is highlighted by guidance from the NSHC Lead Coaches in self-assessments, group discussion and hours of practice devoted to attendees developing their health coaching and motivational interviewing skills!

If I attend a CoachClinic®, will I become a certified health coach at the end of the day?

No, it isn’t possible to cover all of the program materials in one day that are necessary in order to test. NSHC's CoachClinic® jumpt starts an organization's use of evidence-based health coaching by including self-assessments and live practice as part of the event. .

How do I schedule a CoachClinic® for my organization?

Email us at: info@nshcoa.com  to schedule a call to discuss details.  General information can be found by clicking the CoachClinic® tab on the menu bar.

How do I become a member of NSHC?

Membership is exclusive and is automatic for those who purchase NSHC’s health coaching program. Your first membership year is complimetnary!

How is the E-Manual different from the Hard Copy Manual?

The E-Manual has the same content(s) as the Hard Copy Manual. However, the E-Manual is an online pdf of the Hard Copy. The E-Manual was originally made available to defray the high costs of international shippping. All members may purchase the E-Manual. The E-Manual pdf is accessed only via NSHC's website. It is not printable or downloadable. The user will need scratch paper to jot down answers to the quick quizzes and concepts applications in E-Manual.

How do I order if I am currently a student who will obtain a clinical license in the near future?

Without an active license to practice as a clinician, one needs to select Allied Healthcare Provider-Certificate of Completion Only in the credentials drop down when registering. However, before taking that examination, the person completes their licensure program and receives their clinical license. Then the person notifies us and provides validation of licensure at which time we change the credential from Allied Healthcare Provider to your respective licensed credential.

With this process in mind, one needs to decide when is the most appropriate time to purchase and register for NSHC's program. Individuals will typically wait until closer to the time they receive their "active clinical license" before they purchase. You have 12 months from the time of purchase to use NSHC's one complimentary test attempt, so several months out would be an appropriate "wait" time to purchase/register.