The Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching prepares students with the advanced skills and expertise to help clients clarify and implement health and wellness goals and sustain life-changing behaviors. MUIH’s program is one of the few graduate programs in health and wellness coaching in the U.S. and allows students to earn the highest academic credential in the cutting-edge field of health and wellness coaching. MUIH’s program is also one of the few programs in the U.S. to offer two professional credentialing pathways in all delivery formats (online, hybrid, and on-campus). This recently revised program focuses the content and learning directly on foundational coaching skills, provides newly added advanced coaching skills, and deepens research literacy skills to support contemporary coaching practice. MUIH graduates are eligible for credentialing by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). This 30-credit program can be completed in the online, hybrid, or on-campus weekend format in 20 months (5 trimesters).
This program is designed for individuals seeking to promote health by working with individuals and small groups reached via private practice, in integrative health clinics, conventional medical settings, fitness and wellness centers, and organizations. Health and wellness coaches partner with their clients, and facilitate introspection, goal setting, behavioral change, accountability, and goal achievement. Health and wellness coaching can be conducted as a stand-alone professional practice, or be used to complement another health, wellness, or medical practice including nutrition, nursing, social work, health promotion, herbal medicine, acupuncture, Ayurveda, fitness and training, yoga therapy, massage therapy, and naturopathic medicine, among others.
This program provides the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to become skilled health and wellness coaches who help clients clarify health and wellness goals through introspection, leverage their strengths, address challenges in behavior change, implement and sustain life-changing behaviors, and manage both setbacks and progress. The program develops an understanding of behavior change theories and principles, excellence in core coaching competencies, and the skills necessary to help clients adopt individually designed attitudes and lifestyle changes most conducive to optimal health and wellness. Students build a broad view of health and wellness that incorporates both conventional measures of health that focus on prevention of illness and disease and promotion of healthy lifestyles, as well as additional measures of health found in complementary and alternative health practices from a variety of wisdom traditions.
Unique to MUIH’s health and wellness coaching philosophy, and an essential component of the curriculum, is teaching people to be aware of the body’s innate wisdom and to regard symptoms and struggles as teachers. Other distinctive program features include a focus on research literacy for informed coaching practice, an integrative approach to wellness and healing, a focus on whole-person care, and a model that emphasizes self-reflection and personal empowerment for healthy lifestyles. Students practice and hone their coaching skills through real-time coaching labs, working with mentor coaches and volunteer coaching clients. The program includes a practicum in which students work one-on-one with clients and begin to build their coaching practice. Also provided are opportunities to coach volunteer clients and inter-professionalism in different settings, including conventional health care settings.
The 15 credits of foundational coaching courses in the M.A. Health and Wellness Coaching program also make up the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching. This certificate program serves as both a stand-alone credential and can serve as an entry point leading toward the M.A. degree.
Can’t decide whether health promotion or health and wellness coaching is the program for you? Review this comparative summary to learn more about these professions.
Upon completion of this program students will be able to:
The program consists of 30 credits of required coursework in the following areas:
15 credit hours of core health and wellness coaching courses and Practical Skills Assessment.
15 credit hours of advanced courses including: advanced coaching skills, group coaching, inter-professionalism, cultural competence, research literacy in integrative health and evidence-informed practices, practice management coursework that provides students with the skills to build and sustain their own practice or business in coaching, and a final project course that integrates learning throughout the students’ academic journey.
The program consists of the following required courses:
Course descriptions are available in the Academic Catalog.
The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching and the Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching programs hold various approvals from the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). Students who complete these programs are eligible for credentialing by both organizations. See the Licensure, Certification, and Credentialing section below for additional information.
Individuals with skills and knowledge in health and wellness coaching will support the continued projected growth of healthcare occupations in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects healthcare occupations to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs. Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any other occupational groups in the U.S. Health and wellness coaching is aligned with the growing trend toward integrative approaches and holism in health and wellness. The National Health Interview Survey indicates 59 million Americans spend $30.2 billion per year out-of-pocket for integrative health practices, and 33.2% of U.S. adults use integrative health practices. Health and wellness coaching has been identified as a cutting edge career. It has emerged as a $6 billion service market in the U.S., with an estimated 109,000 health coaches and health educators in 2018. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that 35,000 U.S. practitioners self-identified as a health and wellness coach in 2016 and projected a 21% increase for health and wellness professions focused on preventive health for period 2016-2022.
This program is offered in the online, hybrid, and on-campus formats. Click here to view MUIH’s definition of online, hybrid, and on-campus course and program formats.
The hybrid format of the M.A. Health and Wellness Coaching program gives students the opportunity to select which courses they will take online and which they will take on campus. (Not all courses are offered in both formats or in every trimester.)
On-campus courses are delivered in a weekend format to accommodate students with weekday commitments and those who can travel to attend the program. Classes typically meet Friday evenings and all day Saturdays and Sundays. Most coursework is completed on campus in this format, with some assignments due between weekend classes. Class dates are subject to change.
For trimester start and end dates, see the Academic Calendar.
The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching and the Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching programs offer two professional credentialing pathways in all three delivery formats (online, hybrid, and on-campus). Students who complete these programs are eligible for credentialing by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).
The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate and Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching are “Pending Approval for Health & Wellness Coach Training & Education Program by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).” MUIH has successfully met all requirements for permanent approval, and will receive this permanent status in August, 2020. Students who begin the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate or Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching in fall 2019 or later, who have completed this coursework, and who have met NBHWC’s additional requirements will qualify to sit for the national board exam, the HWC Certifying Examination. The HWC Certifying Examination was developed by NBHWC in conjunction with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Individuals who pass this exam will earn the title of National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC).
Additional requirements may apply for this credential. Interested individuals are encouraged to check for the most recent requirements with NBHWC at nbhwc.org.
The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching and Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching are approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF). The courses in these programs provide the Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) required to become an ICF-certified coach. The program format students select determines the ICF credentials for which they will be eligible. All formats have the same courses, course content, and learning outcomes. The key difference between the formats is the number of synchronous (real-time) hours students experience; the number of synchronous hours experienced determines eligibility for ICF’s various credentials.
Additional requirements may apply for each of these credentials, and requirements beyond coach training increase with higher level of credentials. Interested individuals are encouraged to check for the most recent requirements with ICF at coachfederation.org.
Online and Hybrid Format – 60 Hour Synchronous Training Hours
Students who complete the online and hybrid format of these programs fulfill the minimum synchronous 60-hour training requirement to apply for ICF’s Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential.
On-Campus Format – 200 Synchronous Training Hours
Students who complete the on-campus format of these programs may complete up to 200 ICF-approved synchronous hours, depending on the courses they select. Students who complete the synchronous 200-hour requirement fulfill the training requirement to apply for ICF’s Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC) credentials.
Rebecca O. Pille, Ph.D.
Suzanne Zolnick, M.A.S.