Health coaching is offered at many places. Why should I choose the Integrative Health Studies program at CIIS?

It's true that you can get a health coaching certificate with 20-60 hours of work with a private training firm. Our program is different. We offer our coaching certificate as part of the course of study for an accredited master's degree. It is more academically oriented and grounded in coaching research and behavior change theory. You will learn to support lifestyle change and to work with other healthcare professionals. 

Our curriculum not only goes into depth on the basic health science, but includes an integral mind/body/spirit approach, honoring indigenous wisdom and instructing students in applied coaching psychology with year-long mentorship courses and authentic leadership. You will study leading theories and evidence-based models, including Motivational Interviewing, Transtheoretical Model, Positive Psychology, Internal Family Systems, Non-Violent Communication, and Enneagram for Coaching.

Graduates meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the ICHWC Certifying Examination required for health and wellness coaches to become National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches. A graduate degree sets you apart and holds good value in a shifting job market.

What is a hybrid online program?

Many organizations offer programs that are fully online, which allow you to learn and study exclusively in your home community. We love online learning, but we want you to have the chance to learn in person with your student colleagues and with faculty even as you meet online.

We therefore include in each semester a six-day academic intensive. During the fall retreat, we will also visit the CIIS campus, so that you can meet the administrative and library staff who support your journey. Read student responses to the intensive.

Can I attend the program part time?

Yes, students can pursue the curriculum on a part-time basis. The tuition rates are the same, as CIIS charges by the unit. However, keep in mind that more academic intensives will be required.

Does "online" mean part time?

Full-time students in our program take nine units each semester; that translates to about 36 hours of coursework each week. Part-time students, who have six units each semester, should plan on 24 hours of coursework each week.

Some of that coursework will be synchronous online classes, partner work, or study sessions. The specific days and times of required online classes will be available when you register; partner work will be scheduled after classes begin. If you have responsibilities like a job, it is best to have a plan or flexibility for the synchronous meetings and partner work. The asynchronous parts of your coursework are easily scheduled around your other commitments.

I want to be a health coach, but do I have to have a solo practice?

While many of our graduates practice health coaching as solo practitioners, others use their master’s degree in medical offices, CAIM clinics, corporate wellness programs, and apps. You will study evidence-based knowledge and skills that can be applied to a variety of careers. Read more about our Students and Alumni. We recommend that students who want to work in corporate settings or for large organizations, either as health coaches or in wellness programs, follow the companies they are interested in on Twitter or LinkedIn to see how these organizations are integrating wellness into their cultures.

Do I need a background in health in order to apply?

Our candidates come with a variety of interests and backgrounds; most want to learn more about integrative and holistic health so that they can work as health coaches in some way. Our students excel in collaborative learning and mutual support, and form a strong community for each other. Attending an online info session is a great way to learn more about the people who might be joining you in the program, and to talk directly with faculty about your interests and how the program may align with them. It's not necessary to have a health degree or experience.

Does CIIS help with job placement?

Graduates of our program form strong bonds, which are sustained through events and our department’s Facebook. Many graduates have hired other graduates and helped each other find jobs; you can find some examples on our Students and Alumni page. CIIS has a careers office that will help with resume writing and interview skills. That office and ours send out job listings, and we also post jobs to our LinkedIn group.

What is the future of health coaching?

Preventative health and integrative healing modalities are central to many people, and as a result, health coaches are taking more of a role in established healthcare. One sign of this is that the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) partnered with the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching (ICHWC) to issue the national certification exam for health and wellness coaches. We also know that doctors at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with the CDC are exploring how to bring health coaching into hospitals and clinics as we know that changing behavior is crucial to addressing rising chronic disease rates. Further, many of our graduates are developing health coaching and mindfulness apps. Other graduates are working to bring health coaching to under-served populations.

Where can I connect with Integrative Health Studies students and alumni?

We have a Facebook page and a LinkedIn group where we feature the work of students, graduates, and integrative wellness organizations. We also have an Integrative Health Studies YouTube channel where you can watch health coaching demonstrations, and find playlists of other videos we like including those featuring our chair, Dr. Meg Jordan.

Questions? Contact us.

We are here to help! If you have any questions about applying to a program or registering for an Info Session, please reach out to the Admissions Office

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