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Pursue Your Dream of Becoming a Wellness Coach

Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching Program

Interested in helping people make healthy lifestyle changes? Now is the time to realize your goal of becoming a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC).

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Program Snapshot

Fall Start Date

September 24, 2024

How Often

Start dates every fall and spring semester

Cost

Choose from:
6-mo. non-credit: $5,424
8-12 mo. 8-credit: $5,424
8-12 mo. 15-credit: ~$8,140

Learning Format

On Campus, Online

Online Learning Type

Synchronous

Duration

6 mos. or 8-12 mos.

Time Commitment

8-10 hrs./wk. for 6 mos. or 8-12 mos. with breaks

Credential

Qualified to take NBC-HWC exam / Digital badge UVM academic certificate (15 credit option only)

VA Benefit Eligible

No

Scholarships

No

Discounts

Non-credit: 20% discount for UVM and UVM Med Center Affiliates / Credit: Tuition remission for UVM employees / Same tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students

Credits

Choose from non-credit or 8 to 15-credits

Cost Per Credit

$678

Overview

Spark a passion for holistic, healthy living in more people

Unlock your potential to change lives through integrative health and wellness coaching at UVM. Here, you’ll gain credibility from a leading academic research institution and a range of tools to engage clients in positive behavior change. As an approved educational provider for the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching, you’ll also meet the education requirements to become Nationally Board Certified. 

The role of a health and wellness coach

Often, people know what they need to do in order to lead a healthier life, but putting that knowledge into action can be difficult. Health and wellness coaches help people bridge the gap between a doctor’s advice and their own actions.

Health coaching is not about becoming a content expert in nutrition or exercise. Coaches work with people to define their goals, explore their values, and create personalized plans to achieve optimal well-being. According to The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), coaches are “an accountability partner, not a director, in navigating behavioral change.”

How holistic health courses create an integrative approach

At UVM, our integrative health program will teach you how to support traditional treatment plans with complementary care and self-care. Integrative care involves many different aspects of health, including:

  • Food and nourishment
  • Exercise and movement
  • Stress management
  • Work-life balance
  • Healthy environment
  • Sleep and rest
  • Relationships and community
  • Mind-body connection
  • Self-compassion

As a health and wellness coach, it’s not expected that you become an expert or practitioner in all areas. However, you will gain more knowledge and understanding of each aspect in your own life, which will enable you to help your clients increase their awareness in these areas too.

Business people clapping in the meeting

Why become a health and wellness coach?

Research shows health and wellness coaches are making a difference in the world of medicine. Data shows health coaching interventions contribute to a:

  • 23% reduction in perceived stress levels1
  • 50% reduction in depressive scores1
  • statistically significant increase in physical activity*2
  • statistically significant decrease in blood sugar levels, BMI, and dietary fat*1

*When compared with inactive controls.
Sources: 1. Study finds wellness coaching benefits last over time  2.  The Effectiveness of Health Coaching

“This program hasn’t only provided education, but rather a whole life, body experience.  It has allowed me to reflect on myself personally, in all areas of my life.  It has helped me communicate and have a deeper understanding of people, relationships, and needs.”

Jody, UVM Integrative Health and Wellness Program graduate

Credit vs. Non-Credit

Choose your path to become a certified wellness coach

We offer three pathways to pursue certification as a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach.  Our non-credit and 8-credit options provide the core content needed for certification. The 15-credit option allows for further specialization with an academic certificate from PACE at UVM. After completion of the core content in either the non-credit or credit pathways, students may continue taking other electives to gain mentorship for coaching, exam prep, and more. If you plan to continue your education beyond this program, for example, to get a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, you may prefer to get a head start by choosing our credit options.

Use this comparison chart to select the option that best fits your goals, timeframe, learning mode, course type, and budget. For more information on how to choose, start dates, and more, see our program curriculum and FAQ.

Qualified to take NBC-HWC examUVM PACE academic certificate*Offered on-campusOffered onlineComplete in 6 mos.Complete in 8-12 mos. Cost
Non-credit programXXX$5,424
8-credit programXXXX$5,424
15-credit programXXXXX    $8,140 
*All students will receive a digital badge from UVM upon completion of the core content.

“After taking eight credits of the Health and Wellness Coaching program, I am a changed person…I have realized I need to work on myself just as much as my clients. The true meaning of this partnership is to go on a journey together, and sometimes that journey includes me independently working on things my client is working on so I can be a better coach.”

Keelan, UVM Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching Program graduate

What sets UVM apart

UVM is a leading institution for health education and research, making it an ideal place for aspiring health and wellness coaches to learn and build their credibility.

Flexible Learning Options

Choose from flexible pathways to become a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Options include online or in-person, credit or non-credit, daytime or evening classes, and more.

Mentorship at UVM & Beyond

You’ll get real-world coaching experience and one-on-one mentoring from a Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. After you graduate, you can continue on with a class to receive continued mentoring as you collect your required 50 coaching sessions to sit for the national board exam.

Be Exam-Ready in a Year or Less

When you complete our core content, you’ll get a letter of completion from UVM saying you’ve completed our program and are approved to sit for the exam to become a NBC-HWC.

Pick an Area of Specialization

Choose from specialty electives for family wellness, employee wellness, autism spectrum, integrative health, and more.

Gain Credibility

Stand out with education from UVM, an academic research institution with rigorous standards. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to join faculty in their research studies.

Join a Lifelong Community

You’ll have lifelong access to our robust graduation community, and can join our monthly collaborative calls.

Success, celebration and students with results after exam in university. Goal achievement, education scholarship and group of people happy with friend with paper passing test and celebrating victory.

Exam confidence included

We know what it takes to pass the NBC-HWC exam, and we make sure our students do too. We can proudly say:

  • 100% of our students pass the NBC-HWC exam

“The program provided an avenue for self-discovery and self-growth, while at the same time allowing me to learn the skills to support others on their path to whole health and wellness.”

Val P., UVM Integrative Health & Wellness Program graduate

Who is this program for? 

We welcome students with professional degrees in health care, education, exercise science, nutrition, and more. We also welcome those just starting their career or career-changers with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and an interest in health and wellness. 

Students who participate in our program will couple existing knowledge with new strategies to help make them more effective in their profession. 

You do not have to be a healthcare provider to enroll, although you can be. Some of our past graduates have included dietitians, athletic trainers, physician’s assistants,  nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, triathletes, and more.

Curriculum

The core curriculum for health coaching (and more)

Health coaching is not about becoming a content expert in nutrition or exercise. Health coaches are experts in an evidenced-based behavioral change process. Our curriculum covers motivational interviewing, coaching theories, behavioral change theories, the coaching process, as well as integrative health topics, ethical and legal aspects of coaching, group coaching, and more.

We offer several pathways to get the core content you need to become a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach: credit (8) or non-credit.

When you’ve completed the core content and have the necessary prerequisites, you’ll receive a letter of completion from the University of Vermont saying you’ve completed a program that allows you to begin collecting your 50 practice sessions and then sit for the national exam. 

You can then take the exam, start practicing, or continue to take courses of your choice beyond that to further specialize and/or gain the 15 credits necessary to receive an academic certificate from UVM. 

To help you decide on credit or non-credit and when to enroll, below are the upcoming options.

Start DateEnd DateWeekly Course TimesFormatStudent BodyFollows UVM Calendar*
Non-Credit: SpringJan. 2024June 2024Tues.
6 – 8:30 p.m.
OnlineProfessionalsNo
Credit: SpringJan. 2024Dec. 2024Mon.
4:35 – 7:05 p.m.
OnlineUndergrad, grad, professionalsYes
*Non-credit has no breaks. Non-credit immersion days are Sat January 20 10am-5pm and Sat June 29th 10am-5pm

*Credits immersion days Jan 27, 8:30am-3:30pm and November 30th 8:30-3:30pm. Breaks for the credit course are Feb 19 or March 11, summer off, then starting again Monday, August 26th – December 2nd, no class Labor Day or Thanksgiving week

Requirements for the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching exam

To qualify for the National Board Certification Exam you must:

The NBHWC Exam is offered three times per year at testing centers across the U.S. For students interested in earning a University of Vermont Academic Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching with academic credit, you will need to complete our 15-credit program.

Upon completion of the required coursework and passing the National Certification Exam, an individual can use the following credentials: Juan Smith, NBC-HWC (National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach).

For-credit courses

See the list of for-credit courses in the table below. The schedule for required courses that need to be taken in sequence are: 

  • First Semester:  HLTH 3840, HLTH 3850
  • Second Semester:  HLTH 3860

After successful completion of HTLH 3860 students can begin practice coaching community members & will have completed the required 8-credit coursework to sit for the NBHWC Exam. They can also continue to specialize by taking any of the additional courses listed and/or work toward the 15 credits required to gain an academic certificate from UVM.   

The time students should expect to dedicate while taking a 3-credit course is 9 hours a week. 

For course descriptions see the UVM course directory.

Core Content for 8-credits Needed for NBHWC ExamCourse NameCredits
HLTH 3840Integrative Health & Wellness Coaching Immersion Introduction1
HLTH 3850Health & Wellness Coaching Intro3
HLTH 3860*OC: Health & Wellness Coaching Advanced4
Additional Courses Required for UVM 15-credit Academic CertificationCourse NameCredits
HLTH 3920Integrative Health & Wellness Coaching: Practicum3
HLTH 3910Integrative Health & Wellness Coaching: Building your Coaching Career1
Additional Course Required for UVM Academic Certification (choose 3 credits)Course NameCredits
CSD 3899Autism Spectrum Disorders: Issues in Assessment and Intervention3
COMU 2220Family Wellness Coaching3
HLTH 2010Introduction to Integrative Health3
HLTH 1980Restore, Rejuvenate, Energize1
HSCI 1990Introduction to Workplace Wellness3
HLTH 3994Integrative Health Teaching AssistantshipVariable credit
HLTH 3993Integrative Health Independent StudyVariable credit
HLTH 3995Integrative Health Research AssistantshipVariable credit
Other elective courses are actively being developed at this time. Please check with Karen Westervelt for updates.

This is a cohort-based curriculum. Students are expected to stay with their cohort for the first 2 semesters unless extenuating circumstances arise. Electives can be taken at any time.

  • If you are interested in a third semester or beyond: HLTH 3920 and 3910
  • HLTH 3860 is for UGs in the Minor, HLTH 5860 is for Graduate Students
  • HLTH 3920 is for UGs in the Minor, HLTH 5870 is for Graduate Students

“I have never been in a group of people where I have felt more supported. This support gave me the strength to keep going, even when I wasn’t sure I could. And through the process helped me regain some self-confidence.  It has made a huge impact on my life.”

Sherri, UVM Integrative Health & Wellness Coaching Program graduate

Non-credit program

The non-credit program begins in September and is 24 weeks of self-paced work and live online classes on Tuesdays from 6:00-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The program includes two all-day virtual retreats. One  Saturday at the start and one Saturday at the end of the program. Attendance at these retreats is required. Based on student demographics we are sometimes able to offer an in-person option.

We estimate a total time commitment of 8-10 hours per week: 

  • 2.5 hours of live practice lab time 
  • 5-7 hours of self-paced learning and practice coaching with peers (as both coach and client). 

Topics covered

  • Coaching Process
  • Coaching Skills
  • Coaching Theories (including Positive Psychology, Appreciative Inquiry, Social Cognitive Theory, and more) 
  • Ethics and Legal
  • Group Coaching
  • Health and Wellness Topics
  • Motivational Interviewing

Student Stories

“As a coach, I cannot even fathom the arc of my experience [in the program]. I have learned how to trust myself and my instincts in a way I never did before. I am not afraid to ask an oddly framed question or be concerned about how I sound as much as I care about the client and how they feel at all times…this is a huge growth point for me!”

Keelan, UVM Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching graduate

Career Outlook

The path to a fulfilling career in health and wellness

Overall employment of health education specialists and community health workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations, as an emphasis on preventative healthcare grows. 

Integrative health and wellness coaches work with employee wellness programs, community health teams, youth and families, people recovering from addiction, veterans, people with disabilities, and others. Health coaches focus on promoting the health of individuals by engaging clients in positive behavior change. Many of our graduates work as Health and Wellness Coaches in different specialty areas such as:

  • Employee Wellness
  • Cardiac Rehab
  • Pain Management
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Rehab Clinics 
  • Primary care 

We also have graduates who continue on their current health-related careers and add health coaching philosophy and skills into their current position. Some examples are nurse practitioners, physical therapists, athletic trainers, dieticians, and nurses.

“I am beyond thrilled with the time I spent in this program. It is amazing how in only one year, I have learned motivational interviewing skills that I now use daily. I use them both at work and with my family and friends. I am forever grateful for this program, and for all that I have learned.”

Kerry, UVM Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching Program graduate

“With all that I have learned from this course, my biggest takeaway is to hold space. Holding space for myself—treating myself with kindness and compassion, as well as holding space for others—being present for someone to support them the best way I can without holding judgment.”

Allyssa, UVM Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching Program graduate

FAQ

Health coaching has grown to a $7 billion market with half of American companies having wellness programs to help boost worker health. Overall employment of health education specialists and community health workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations, as an emphasis on preventative healthcare grows. Individuals with a Health Coaching certificate will have the flexibility to work in private business, healthcare, or government agencies.

Healthcare professions, such as nurses, medical doctors, social workers, physical therapists, dieticians, and occupational therapists are common career fields of our students. Current healthcare professionals enroll in health coaching programs to enhance their patient care skills or apply existing healthcare skills to a new career in health coaching. Also, entrepreneurs interested in health and wellness would benefit from the certificate.

Integrative health and wellness coaches work with individuals and groups to promote healthy lifestyle changes. Integrative health and wellness coaches work in a variety of settings, including: healthcare clinics, fitness centers, employee wellness programs, community health teams, or in private practice.

The University cannot issue immigration documents for entry to the US for purposes of enrolling as a noncredit student; however, the program is offered online and can be accessed via computer. Please note that all weekend retreats and live session times are offered in Eastern Time (ET).

The non-credit program offers a shorter timeline to completion of 6 months, compared to the two-semester credit program. The credit program is designed for those who want academic credits to use for potentially furthering their education. Those who complete 15 credits also receive an academic certificate from UVM.

Everyone who completes the non-credit, 8-credit, or 15-credit program receives a digital skill badge from UVM. At this time, all students also receive a letter of completion from UVM stating that the student can submit to the National Board of Medical Examiners when applying to take the NBHWC exam. Only those who complete the 15-credit program receive an academic certificate from PACE at UVM.

Not necessarily. The certificate is an academic transcript. If you’re considering getting an advanced degree someday, you might want to have the certificate and related credits as a head start. If that isn’t a goal, then you don’t need credits or a transcript.

If you completed the non-credit program you can take more courses in the credit area, but you won’t get a certificate from UVM. If you complete the 8-credit program you can continue to take courses to get the 15-credit academic certificate.

Yes. HLTH 3840 and 3850 are taken in the first semester. When these are completed, HLTH 3860 is taken in the second semester. The optional practicum and/or the Building Your Coaching Career courses are taken in the third semester. Electives can be taken at any time.

All 15 credits are required for completion of the UVM Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate.

To qualify for the National Board Certification Exam you must:

The NBHWC Exam is offered three times per year at testing centers across the U.S. See the NBHWC website for the exam schedule.

The cost of the certifying exam is currently $500. There is also a $75/year maintenance fee to maintain your certification. All National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaches are required to recertify every 3 years. Recertification requires that coaches complete and document 36 Continuing Education Credits related to health and wellness coaching. More info can be found at https://nbhwc.org/become-a-board-certified-coach/

Upon successful completion of our core Health and Wellness Coaching Curriculum (non-credit or 8-credit core content) students are free to begin collecting 50 practice coaching sessions on their own. Students are also invited to join the Integrative Practitioner Database so that community members can find them for Health and Wellness Coaching. Unique to UVM, students are welcome to register for the practicum course (HLTH 3920) after completing the core curriculum. In the practicum course, students will receive mentoring for their coaching while collecting some of the required coaching sessions.

Dependent upon the Program Director’s approval, up to three credits may be transferred if the student completed a course similar in content.

Learn about options for discounts, grants, loans, scholarships, and more on our tuition and financial aid page.

The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching is pleased to announce that the NBHWC board certification exam, called “Health & Wellness Coach Certifying Exam Program (HWCCP)” is now an approved test under the GI Bill benefit. This means Active Duty, Selected Reserve and National Guard members and their families can now be reimbursed for the cost of the HWCCP exam. The HWCCP exam is also known as the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching Exam. Individuals who pass this exam earn the designation of National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC). For more information on the HWCCP and the process of reimbursement, please here: GI Bill Exam Reimbursement brochure.

Yes. There are two full day retreats. A Saturday at the beginning and a Saturday at the end of the program. Based on student demographics we are sometimes able to offer an in-person option. You’ll need to attend both.

We recommend using a browser other than Internet Explorer with our Brightspace online learning system. Firefox, Google Chrome, and other browsers tend to work more effectively with Brightspace.

You can access Brightspace by going to brightspace.uvm.edu. You will put in your login credentials that are emailed to you about one week prior to the start of your course. Once in, you will find your course listed under Courses.

The live sessions will be held in Zoom. You will find your Zoom links in Brightspace for the sessions.

Students must successfully complete all content required of them within the certificate—and have 60 additional credits from UVM or another institution—to be able to sit for the National Exam NBHWC and receive the Certificate of Completion from UVM.

60 credits are the equivalent of an Associate degree.

What are the qualifications for taking the National Board Certification Exam?

If you have neither an associate degree or higher, nor 60 college credits, please summarize your 4,000 hours of work experience to meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the Health & Wellness Coach Certifying Examination.

Please provide the following information using this form:

  • A summary of your 4,000 hours of work experience
  • Names of your previous employers (towards the 4,000 hours)
  • Manager or Supervisor Contact Information
  • Job Title
  • Dates Employed
  • Average Monthly Hours
  • Total number of work experience hours
    A notarized copy of the HWC Work Experience Form

If you are a non-credit student seeking accessibility support, please email access@uvm.edu and the UVM Student Accessibility Services team will be able to assist. In your email, please include that you do not have a 95 number/NetID.

  • Have questions about taking an online or distance education course? Visit the Online Learning page
  • Have more basic questions about Professional and Distance Education? Visit our About Us and FAQs pages.

Non-credit program: Students may register by paying the full program fee online via credit card or by calling us at (802) 656-8407 to make a partial payment of $500. Should you make a partial payment, the remaining amount must be paid in full no later than two weeks prior to the start of this offering. If payment is not received by then, you will automatically be dropped from the course the following business day. Refunds will be issued minus a $25.00 cancellation fee.

Credit program: The Program Tuition and Fees chart is available on the Student Financial Services website.

Non-credit program: No, payment plans are not currently available for this program. Tuition must be paid in full two weeks prior to beginning the program.

Credit program: For information please visit Student Financial Services.

Non-credit program: If you need to cancel your attendance, you must notify us via email at learn@uvm.edu or call us at (802) 656-2085 at least three business days prior to the start date of the course to receive a full refund, less a $25 cancellation fee. If a medical condition necessitates cancellation/withdrawal (documentation provided), this will be reviewed by our Studies Committee for any type of refund.

Credit program: For information please visit Student Financial Services.

You can find the course descriptions in the UVM Course Directory. The courses are listed above.

Please submit this completion form after you have received your final grades for the program. Once your request has been reviewed and successful completion of program has been confirmed, a certificate of completion will be emailed to you.