ICHWC is a volunteer team of U.S. leaders who pioneered science-based training, education, and research of health and wellness coaches over the past 15 years. Since 2010, our team has consulted widely, developed a broad consensus, created national standards, and formed a partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners in May 2016 to launch a National Board Certification for Health & Wellness Coaches in 2017.
The objective of the certification is to provide a minimum standard and measure of foundational competencies: the knowledge, tasks and skills essential to the practice of health and wellness coaching. Eligible individuals can now apply to become a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC).
National Board Certification of Health & Wellness Coaches:
- Please review the Bulletin of Information for details about the September 2017 exam.
- The first examination is scheduled for September 2 – 16, 2017, and will be administered at over 340 Prometric sites throughout the United States. The application period for the September 2017 exam is now closed.
- We will begin to accept applications for the second exam on January 2, 2018 – March 15, 2018
- The second examination is scheduled for June 15 – 30, 2018, and will be administered at over 340 Prometric sites throughout the United States.
- In 2018 and beyond, applicants will be able to register for the examination twice a year.
|Application Period||Exam Dates|
|First Exam||February 1 – May 15, 2017 (Closed)||September 1-16, 2017|
|Second Exam||January 2 – March 15, 2018||June 15 – 30, 2018|
|Third Exam||May 1 – June 30, 2018||November 1 – 15, 2018|
To Prepare for the examination:
- Review the HWC Certifying Examination Content Outline for information on the content of the examination and Healthy Lifestyle Basics (updated to include resources on May 9, 2017).
- Review the ICHWC Code of Ethics.
- Review the Health & Wellness Coach Scope of Practice.
- Review the Health and Wellness Coach Practice Exam
Why should you become a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC)?
With an explosion of health and wellness coaching programs, it is difficult to determine the expertise and quality of coaches. Without agreed upon standards for the training and practice of health and wellness coaches, the public and healthcare professionals are confused about what to expect from coaches and how they complement other professions. National standards and certification are the first steps in advancing consistent training, education, and assessment of competencies.
The National Board Certification of Health & Wellness Coaches is based on extensive research. First, practicing health and wellness coaches gathered for three days to identify core competencies that are vital to effective coaching. Through a rigorous Job Task Analysis (JTA), the tasks, skills and knowledge to be mastered by a competent coach were identified and then validated through a survey completed by more than 1,000 practicing health and wellness coaches. Then in 2016, facilitated by the National Board of Medical Examiners, a comprehensive examination blueprint was developed which expanded upon the JTA.
The national certification is accelerating the professionalization of this emerging field, and enabling the growth of an evidence base. Reputable coach training and education programs have joined this endeavor. The national certification allows proficient coaches to stand apart from coaches who have not received adequate coach training or assessment of their coaching skills and knowledge. For more information, please visit our Credentials for Individuals.
How can our health and wellness coach training program become approved?
Please visit the Organizations page to learn about national standards for the training and education of health and wellness coaches.