Wellness Coaching Demand and Earning Potential | College of Executive Coaching
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Wellness Coaching Demand and Earning Potential

January 26, 2023
By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MCC, NBC-HWC

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Wellness coaches are taking on a new and welcome role as an in-demand specialty coaching service and as an important component of integrated health care.

Wellness coaching, or as I formulate it as a more thorough coaching approach which I call, well-being coaching, assists clients to achieve self-determined wellness goals. These goals include health goals but often include more holistic well-being goals such as career satisfaction, stress management, social well-being and a general healthy lifestyle. Well-being coaches not only may support clients in learning the tools necessary to manage chronic health conditions but also in many cases to prevent or even reverse them. For example, coaches who specialize in assisting people with pre-diabetes can help clients from developing full blown, life-threatening diabetes.

Wellness Coaching Demand and Earning Potential

Growing Demand for Wellness Coaching

The increasing demand for wellness coaching is well documented. Wellness coaching and wellness coaching programs are estimated to be over a $7 billion industry according to the US Health Coaching Market Report (Marketdata LLC, 2021). That sounds like a huge number but is explained by how large the umbrella of the health and wellness industry is. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the health and wellness industry is a $4.2 trillion dollar market. Moreover, it is routinely ranked among the top markets to build a start-up business because of its high expectancy for growth.

Corporate wellness programs are growing too and have a global market value of $18 billion USD (IbisWorld Research Institute, 2023). The number of job openings for health and wellness coaches is expected to accelerate as this market continues to grow.

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Healthcare costs associated with chronic medical conditions that often can be prevented or reduced through positive lifestyle changes, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions are shockingly high. In the United States chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity has reached $3.8 trillion in direct and indirect costs—or nearly one-fifth of GDP, according to a 2019 report from think tank Fitch Group. As the baby boomer population ages that figure is expected to double within the next 30 years, Fitch reports.

Furthermore, the current shortage of primary care doctors is expected to worsen by 2025. It is estimated that we need an additional 50,000 primary care physicians to accommodate population growth, aging population, and insurance expansion (Annals of Family Medicine). That is why the National Board of Medical Examiners (the same professional board that licenses physicians) teamed up with the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) in 2016 to create standards and credentialing for Health and Wellness Coaches. The goal is to develop credentialed, skilled professionals to help people achieve their wellness goals because physicians and other medical providers do not have the time to provide the ongoing coaching that has proved to lead to healthier outcomes.

Opportunities for employment for health and wellness coaching have grown also. An online search of job openings for wellness coaches on the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching website in the past 90 days shows openings posted by the Mayo Clinic, Dartmouth College, Veterans Administration, Kaiser, New York City Hospital, Columbia University and numerous health care provider and insurance organizations. Most of these organizations look for wellness coaches that hold the National Board of Health and Wellness Coach Credential, the NBC-HWC.

How do Wellness Coaches Structure their Career?

The earnings of a wellness coach vary by what type of structure the wellness coach is operating in. Here are the three most common types of career paths for wellness coaches:


Historically the coaching field began with individual providers delivering coaching sessions to individuals, on a fee for service model, either in-person or over the phone. Most coaching is now delivered virtually, which is convenient for the client and the coach, and makes it easier for the entrepreneurial coach to build a larger practice faster since they can deliver service across geography. Many coaches will also deliver workshops, online courses, and some even offer services through a paid subscription model.

Corporate Wellness Programs

Some entrepreneurial coaches create a corporate wellness program and obtain corporate wellness program contracts with organizations because this is a large area of need.


Increasingly, health care organizations are hiring wellness coaches, often focused on specialty services such as diabetes prevention, weight-loss or healthy eating. Many progressive medical organizations and insurance companies, or holistic private practices, are hiring wellness coaches as part of their service offerings which lead to better health outcomes and free up the time of the other medical providers.

Coaches often create a portfolio coaching career where they may do some self-employed work and also some paid employment in the field. Coaches often find employment with health insurance companies, medical organizations, athletic clubs, spas and wellness retreats.

How Much do Wellness Coaches Earn?

A board-certified health coach is estimated to earn a base income of about $60,000/year. With more years of experience, a certified health coach is estimated to earn $80,000/year on average with the potential to earn beyond $100,000/year, according to employment service provider Glassdoor. However, income range within the well-being coaching industry is diverse as this is a highly customizable career.

Wellness coaches may work part-time or full-time in a variety of settings and many entrepreneurial-minded coaches develop their own coaching businesses and their level of success is largely determined by their business acumen and networking efforts. Some wellness coaches, like me, integrate wellness coaching into other highly compensated executive coaching client engagements. Executive coaches, who can weave in well-being coaching if that is what their clients want, often earn significantly more than most life coaches. To incorporate well-being coaching, I simply ask my executive coaching clients, "we can integrate a focus on your 'executive well-being' also if you would like," and they almost always say, "yes"!

Highly experienced executive coaches earn an average of $500 per hour if they are working for themselves and are finding their own clients, versus being an independent contractor, according to a survey of 140 experienced executive coaches (Harvard Business Review).

The International Coach Foundation's 2020 coach income research found fees reported per one-hour coaching session vary strongly with the coach practitioners' experience, ranging from an average of $300 U.S. dollars per one-hour session for coach practitioners with more than 10 years of experience to $130 U.S. dollars per hour for coach practitioners with less than one year of experience. Many coaches find work by being an independent contractor to coaching organizations such as BetterUP or CoachHub which pay coaches a substantially lower rate per hour than what coaches can earn when they find their own clients due to the significant overhead that these coaching organizations maintain. Coaches often find it beneficial to obtain some coaching hours through a coaching platform organization such as these where their hourly rate might be $55-$90 per hour, but also have their own private practice where their own clients may pay them approximately $240 an hour ($242 per hour is the ICF 2020 reported hourly average for North America).

If you are interested in adding the specialty Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach credential you are still early in the life of the field. There are only 7,400 Nationally Certified Health and Wellness coaches by the NBHWC but they open up their application window three times a year and interest is high!

Do you want to become a certified well-being coach?

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