Karen Nathan by Karen Nathan

Why Continuing Education is Great for Your Health Coaching Career

As you know, to maintain your ACE Health Coach certification you are required to earn 20 hours of continuing education credits every two years. Far from being an afterthought, I fully embrace this requirement and actually view the concept of continuing education as a smart strategy to maintain job satisfaction, grow my business and, most importantly, serve my client’s needs.

Since becoming ACE Certified in 2013, I have discovered the value of continuing education, both for myself and for my clients. I quickly realized that my Health Coach certification was just the beginning of my educational journey. For example, my ongoing client encounters highlighted the importance of motivational interviewing as a communication approach that could help me and my clients have more effective conversations. After completing ACE’s Behavior Change Specialist Program, I felt more confident in using motivational interviewing techniques during coaching sessions. My clients responded well, and I noticed they were more creative and solution-oriented as they plotted their preferred path to healthy lifestyle changes.

Continuing education is also a way to learn new skills and expand your income-generating options. I chose to attend the Tobacco Dependence Program at Rutgers University and am now a trained specialist in smoking cessation, which has enabled me to expand the types of clients I see. When I first started out as a health coach, I focused solely on guiding and supporting people as they shed excess weight. Now I have additional referral opportunities from physicians who suggest their patients come to me for help in quitting tobacco. 

Working as a health coach is a gratifying career choice, but like most jobs, it has its ups and downs. Continuing education has become a way to maintain my passion and engagement in the field of health-behavior change. For example, I regularly read CERTIFIED, ACE’s monthly digital magazine designed to equip certified fitness professionals and health professionals alike with the knowledge they need to continue growing. It’s also a great way to add any missing continuing education credits needed to renew one’s certification.

Earning continuing education through ACE is affordable and convenient for me. Logging into the ACE portal, I am struck by an impressive array of topics and courses from which to choose. I am currently considering workshops and courses in  lifestyle medicine, diabetes prevention or fitness nutrition. Fortunately, learning opportunities come in many formats to accommodate anyone’s schedule, budget and learning style. Whether it is a conference, partial-day workshop, online or hybrid option, ACE has a high-quality offering for you.

To stay competitive in the field of fitness and wellness it’s important to hone your skills and maintain up-to-date certification(s) in the areas most relevant to your clients. To get the most benefit, I encourage you to prioritize ongoing learning. Continuing education has been the catalyst for me to reach new heights in my career, and I’m confident it can do the same for you.  

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