Reviewed by Toni Bauer, PN2, ABC-HWC
People ask, "What's the average salary as a health coach?"
But what most people really want to know is something else:
Can you live with that?
In other words, you should:
- Invest in Nutrition or Health Coaching Certification?
- Starting a part-time coaching business on the side?
- Quit your job in another area so that you can concentrate 100 percent on the coaching?
Here are the answers to help you make these important career decisions with confidence.
For this article, we've harnessed the expertise of some of the most successful coaches our Level 1 certificationwhich, by the way, is recognized With many as the leading certification in the industry.
You will hear from:
▶ Someone who has given up a six-figure management position in a company– and then found a way to do more as a health coach. He tells exactly what he did to get where he is today.
▶ Several founders of expanding health coaching companies hire the full-time coaches. You will find out what to look for in applicants.
▶ A man who has won more than 50 regular customers in his first two years of coaching by refining its niche and increasing its prices.
Thanks to their insights, industry reports, and our own internal survey data, you'll discover:
Average annual salary ranges for full-time and part-time coaches
An income calculator specially created for trainers
Three business strategies that distinguish average-earning coaches from those who are super-earners
Health Coaching: Is It a Workable Profession?
Let's get real: this economy is not good for some job seekers.
However, if you type "health coach" into a job search page, you will get thousands of results. No wonder this year LinkedIn Health coaching listed as one of the fastest growing careers.
Driving this growth: The healthcare industry, which is increasingly drawing on health coaches to motivate patients to practice a range of habits, and saving between $ 286 and $ 412 per patient per month in insurance costs
(For your information, prices in this article are in US dollars.)
But not only medical practices and insurers are looking for health, nutrition and wellness coaches. Others are:
- Doctors' offices such as physiotherapy and chiropractic
- Lifestyle companies that offer coaching as part of a larger package of options
- Fitness centers and spas
- Coaching apps
- Established coaches who have more customers than they can serve alone
In other words, now is a good time to break in.
Better yet, the pay is more than decent.
However, your salary as a health coach will depend on whether you run your own business or work for someone else. Let's start with independent trainers.
What is the average salary as a self-employed health coach?
We calculated these annual rates based on data from hundreds of coaches. Remember, these numbers are averages: some coaches earn less; some do more.
A lot more.
Estimated annual income: $ 40,000 to $ 240,000 +
Okay, of course that's a huge range. As with any business, the amount of money you make depends on many factors including how much you charge each customer, how much interest and motivation you have, how much time you can invest, and what results you can deliver.
To see all the possibilities of how much you can earn as a coach due to your unique circumstances, Take a look at the calculator below.
✓ You are the boss. You set your prices, hours, niches, packages … everything.
✓ You are responsible for your earning potential. The more customers you get, the more you can earn. What if you get more customers than you can handle? You have the opportunity to hire coaches to work for you.
What is the average health coach salary if you work for a company?
If self-employment isn't for you, there is another option. You can work for a company that employs health and nutrition coaches. And while you don't have that much control over your earning potential, you can still live well.
The salaries listed below are based on industry reports, our internal data and interviews with several coaching companies. Know that these areas are averages. Some companies pay more; others less.
Full-time salaries: $ 40,000 to $ 75,000
Part-time salaries: $ 20,000 to $ 40,000
✓ You can concentrate fully on what you love: coaching. "It's incredible for people who love the coaching side of coaching but don't love the entrepreneurial or administrative side like billing, lead generation and marketing," says Molly Galbraith, founder of Girls have grown strong and author of Strong women cancel each other out.
✓ They usually use protocols and lessons that have already been developed to guide you through the coaching process. "If you're a coach who's not quite ready to go out on your own, it can work like training wheels," says Galbraith.
✓ There are real, relaxing, 100 percent work-free holidays. Since you are often not the only trainer on the staff, you will have others to represent you when you want to mute your phone.
What companies look for when they hire new health coaches
Below is what several hiring managers have told us they love to see applicants. Ideal candidates:
✓ Own Certification for nutrition or health coaching (or are ready to get one).
✓ Have a dedication to help people.
✓ Exude that Qualities of a "good" coachsuch as emotional intelligence, empathy, active listening, professionalism and communication skills.
You may be wondering: Do you need coaching experience?
For some companies, yes.
Others like Stronger underground nutrition, are willing to hire and train new coaches, especially if they come from a complementary career such as service industry, human resources, or organizational leadership, says founder Mike Doehla, PN1, a former HR director.
“That was me,” he says, “I was in a different career before I became a coach. People can break into this later in life and have a fruitful career. "
Do you want to earn six figures? Use this calculator to estimate your health coach salary.
If you're a self-employed coach, our Health Coach Salary Calculator uses your income goals to determine:
- How many clients can you care for in the time you have for coaching?
- How much time you can spend with each client based on the type of coaching you want to offer.
- What to bill each customer per month to meet your income goals.
Here's the really cool part: the calculator estimates everything else you need to consider (expenses, taxes, additional cash goals) and how those will affect your bottom line.
Once you get your results, it's time to tinker with the numbers. Would you like to have fewer customers? Increase your price per customer. Do you think you could ask a little more and keep your customer numbers the same? Do it!
Bottom line: This calculator will help you understand what needs to happen to make your health coach salary dreams come true.
Salary calculator for health trainers
How Much Money Can You Make? Let's find out.
© Precision Nutrition
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TIME AVAILABLE FOR COACHING
TIME PER CUSTOMER: DESIGNING YOUR COACHING SERVICE
How to set your tariffs as an independent health or nutrition coach
Our Health Coach Salary Calculator will help you work out a salary range that makes sense for your life and goals. Consider these questions to think about how you can translate this into real life.
Question # 1: Do you specialize in a niche?
Rather than working with anyone who could use help, many coaches focus on a specific type of client or area of expertise. Depending on what your customer group can afford, it can make sense to charge more (or less) than the usual price.
Practical examples: Certified Precision Nutrition Coach Stephen Beard, CHC, CPT, PN1 initially chose corporate management, which makes sense given his previous career as a retail executive.
Galbraith has focused on women. Jon Mills, PN2, a coach with a successful nutrition and exercise practice, specializes in the queer community.
(We'll explore How do I define your niche somewhat later.)
Question # 2: Will your company include high volume coaching, super-individual coaching, or a mix of both?
Some coaches go for volume and work with 100 or more clients. They keep their rates relatively low (say, $ 50 to $ 150 per month) and save time by relying on virtual health coaching, group sessions, and / or pre-made lessons, workouts, and protocols. This is known as low-touch coaching.
Other coaches do the opposite and charge a premium (think: $ 500 or $ 1,000 a month) for lots of personal attention and personalization, also known as high-touch coaching. This allows them to keep their total number of customers down – usually between 5 and 30 – and still make a living.
And of course, some trainers use a mix of these approaches.
(To learn more about the many different ways you can build your health coaching business, check out: The 7 best coaching business models.)
Practical examples: Beard built a high-touch business to attract the executives he chose.
Doehla, on the other hand, has launched Stronger U Nutrition, a virtual coaching company that serves a larger number of clients. Since then, he has hired dozens of coaches to help with customer stress and recently sold his app-based company to Self Esteem Brands, the parent company of Anytime Fitness.
Question # 3: Where do you live? (Yes, even if you're trying to calculate your virtual health coach salary.)
As a rule, coaches who work with customers on site or in person can demand more in cities and economically emerging areas than in rural and economically weak areas.
Even if you are working virtually, it can be helpful to orientate yourself from your trainer colleagues in the area. This is because the local tariff (or the prevailing tariff in other comparable areas) is closer to your cost of living than the average tariff in a location that is not comparable to where you live.
Practical example: When Beard moved from Miami to Orlando, he learned that Miami's $ 95 hourly personal training rate was too high to attract Orlando customers who were used to paying closer to $ 75.
For example, he calculated his coaching rates at $ 75 an hour for personal training.
“Logically, if someone is willing to pay that price for help with correct movements and corrective exercises, they will be willing to pay at least as much for a package that includes nutritional coaching, which is the most important piece of the weight loss puzzle,” Beard says .
His bill looked like this: $ 75 x 2 days a week x 12 weeks.
Then Beard withdrew $ 50 for a new customer discount. That gave it its price: $ 1,750 for a 12 week package. Now, a little over two years later, he's charging $ 4,000 for 12 weeks. (We'll explain how he achieved this phenomenal rate in the next section.)
Three secrets of "super earners"
Not so long ago someone in one of our Facebook coaching communities asked: "What is the current price for coaching?"
Dozens of people commented. The coaches said they were charging $ 250 a month, $ 500 a month, $ 1,000 a month – even $ 2,500 a month.
Many newer coaches naturally wanted to know: How does someone get so far that he can ask so much?
So we tracked down and asked several high earners. Based on their responses, as well as survey data we collected from our coaching community, we uncovered a few secrets.
(For a deeper insight into our survey data, read: How Much Should You Charge?)
Secret # 1: Believe in Your Worth.
According to our survey of more than 1,000 coaches: Those who feel “completely confident” in their abilities demand more than coaches who are only “a little confident” or “a little confident or less”. They strive for the highest tariffs in the industry – and feel worthy of those tariffs too.
Conversely, people who lack confidence tend to have the lowest rates in the industry, explains Matthew Walrath, PN1, founder of Beyond macros. (Walrath himself charges about $ 2,500 a month to help health and nutrition trainers build their businesses.)
He will often find that you are caught in one or more of the following thought traps.
▶ "Who am I to ask so much?"
Imposter syndrome makes it difficult for coaches to set their odds, Walrath says. "They stutter about their pricing."
Sound familiar? You will want to read: "5 ways to beat imposter syndrome. "
▶ “I wouldn't pay that much for coaching. Why should anyone else? "
The truth is, you wouldn't pay that much for coaching because you most likely don't really need coaching – at least not with the same intensity as your clients need, explains Walrath.
“As Precision Nutrition coaches, we've already invested in learning how to manage our diet, so the amount we're willing to invest in coaching is probably pretty small,” he says.
Walrath suggests that you consider a problem that you would pay someone more than $ 500 a month to solve.
Maybe it is the tutor your child needs to finally pass algebra.
Or physiotherapy, which finally relieves you of chronic pain.
Or the person who walks your dog at work, which means that your new couch will last for years instead of days, the garbage and recycling bins are upright, and putrid parcels are left outside instead of inside.
For something like that, as long as you have the money, no price is too high, is it?
And this is how your customers perceive you.
"When you solve a problem for someone, you can calculate what a transformation is worth," says Walrath.
➤ "I couldn't afford it!"
Fortunately, you don't have to afford it. You only need a handful of customers you can afford – and these people really exist.
In his first two years as a coach, Walrath attracted more than 50 people willing to pay $ 500 a month. There were too many clients to coach them alone, which is why he has since hired two full-time coaches for him.
Secret # 2: Specialize in a niche or population – and be ready to change your mind.
Both Beard and Walrath initially focused on corporate executives, which made sense. If anyone can afford to pay $ 500 to $ 2,500 a month for coaching, it's executives.
The problem is that Walrath didn't know a lot of top managers, which made them difficult to attract.
And, as Beard learned, business leaders may all have the same job title, but they hire coaches for hundreds of different reasons.
A manager may need help with food intolerance. Another might want to lose fat. Another may want to find ways to eat healthier while traveling.
These multiple problems made it difficult to pin down a compelling program and marketing message.
To find out your niche, Walrath suggests thinking about three questions:
➤ Who do you know?
➤ What do you like to do?
➤ Who needs your help?
These questions made Walrath think about CrossFit. It was something he loved to do. As a result, he already knew hundreds of CrossFit enthusiasts who needed help with diet, sleep, and stress management.
Similarly, Beard decided to work with people with diabetes. He has Type 1, which enabled him to understand the health challenges this population group is facing. He also knew many people with diabetes and felt driven to help them.
Secret # 3: Increase Your Prices Over Time.
The super coaches we interviewed increased their costs as they gained clients, experience, and training. In other words, they've built their health coach salaries over weeks, months, and years.
So follow in their footsteps.
- Start with any charging plan. Let's say it's $ 200 a month. In your marketing, you could use your fee as a "New customer discount" or a "Introductory price."
- As soon as you get a customer, Increase your price by $ 50. Now your new customer price is $ 250.
- Keep increasing your monthly payments up $ 50 as you get more customers and trust.
How often you increase your prices is up to you.
Some coaches raise their prices for each and every new client. Others don't do this until after they hit a certain customer threshold – say every 10 to 15 customers.
There are no right or wrong answers.
Similarly, some coaches keep their existing clients on par and only raise prices for new clients. Other coaches raise their tariffs for everyone.
“You go up and down until you get to the point where you charge what you want to charge, and it doesn't feel that scary,” says Walrath.
Isn't it important to earn a six-figure salary as a nutrition coach? That's okay.
Actually, it's pretty common.
“A lot of coaches are not after money. You strive for a good work-life balance and fulfillment, ”says Doehla.
Because of this, many coaches work with people who can't pay $ 500 or more a month. Instead of focusing on getting top rates, these coaches could:
- Set your prices based on what your target community can afford.
- Offer graduated prices.
- Use a Pay What You Want (PWYW) model that is surprisingly more profitable than many people think, research finds.2,3 Precision Nutrition super trainer Jon Mills, PN2, once worked at a gym that became a PWYW Model changed workshops. End result: Regular attendees have chosen to pay more than the previous price. Many newcomers have also registered. Overall, the gym scored about the same as a flat-rate based workshop.
These pricing models also allow trainers to work with underserved communities, which can be incredibly rewarding, not to mention classy.
(Read how 7 coaches used these alternative business models: Redefine success in health and fitness coaching.)
The unquantifiable benefits of health coaching
Regardless of how much or how little they make, many coaches will tell you that they don't do this for the money. Instead, they do it for the things money can't buy.
We are talking about:
➤ That feeling you have when you have helped someone change their life for the better.
➤ Do what you love – everything. Day. long.
➤ Knowing that your job will never stop you from living your life.
Before becoming a coach, Beard worked six days a week and traveled most of the weeks of the year. After missing a number of important family events and get-togethers with friends, he decided, "I'm done with this career."
"All the money I made didn't make me as happy as I thought," says Beard. As a coach, Beard now earns more than his previous company salary. But it's not the income that makes the coaching worthwhile for him.
To be able to spend time with his nieces and nephews during the holidays, he says.
"That is priceless."
Click here to view the resources referenced in this article.
1. Jonk Y, Lawson K, O'Connor H, Riise KS, Eisenberg D, Dowd B, et al. How effective is health coaching in reducing health care spending? Med Care. 2015 Feb; 53 (2): 133–40.
2. Viglia G, Maras M, Schumann J, Navarro-Martinez D. Pay before or after? Timing and uncertainty in pay-what-you-want prices. J Serv. Res. August 1, 2019; 22 (3): 272-84.
3. Chao Y, Fernandez J, Nahata B. Pay-what-you-want pricing: can it be profitable? Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. August 1, 2015; 57: 176-85.
If you are or would like to become a coach …
Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes – in ways that are tailored to their unique bodies, preferences, and circumstances – is both an art and a science.
If you want to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.