Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching | MUIH
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Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching


Click above to download our Explore MUIH information brochure.

This program will begin in the Fall 2019 trimester, pending approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Overview

The M.A. 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; 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/limited residency, or on-campus weekend format in 20 months (5 trimesters).

The newly revised M.A. Health and Wellness Coaching program begins in the fall 2019 trimester (pending approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission). The revised program has several benefits for students. The revised curriculum focuses the content and learning more directly on coaching skills​, provides newly added advanced coaching skills, and deepens research literacy skills to support contemporary coaching practice​. In addition, the program can be completed in less time and leads to timely entry into the work place.

Audience

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, 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.

Can’t decide whether health and wellness coaching or health promotion is the program for you? Review this comparative summary to learn more about these professions.

Description

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.

Click here to view a more detailed description of the program.

This program offers two professional credentialing pathways in all delivery formats (online, on-campus, and hybrid). It is both an International Coach Federation (ICF) Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) program and an approved training program for the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). All program formats (online, on-campus, and hybrid) provide graduates with the coach training hours needed for both ICF and NBHWC credentials, the mentoring hours and Practical Skills Assessment required by NBHWC, and most of the mentoring hours required by ICF. Additional credentialing requirements can be found on the ICF and NBHWC websites.

The 15 credits of foundational coaching courses in the M.A. Health and Wellness Coaching make up the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Health and Wellness Coaching. The PBC program serves as a both a stand-along credential and as an entry point leading toward the M.A. degree.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the professional qualities, relationship skills, and behaviors that comprise healing presence.
  • Demonstrate the range of both practice and evidence-informed coaching skills needed to facilitate sustainable behavior change in clients. 
  • Apply a wide variety of theories, principles, and coaching practices that promote behavior change. 
  • Integrate an understanding of conventional and complementary health perspectives to develop a comprehensive understanding of health and wellness in a variety of settings. 
  • Develop skills to accurately review and evaluate research literature from the field of health and wellness coaching for application to coaching practice.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the core competencies and an understanding of the ethical codes and Scope of Practice of the International Coach Federation and the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching.
  • Develop a business plan based upon concepts, principles, and sound practices of integrated health management.  

Careers

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 (BLS, 1) projects healthcare occupations to grow 18% from 2016 to 2026, 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 (2, 3, 4, 5). Health and wellness coaching has been identified as a cutting edge career (6). 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 (7). 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 (8).

Career opportunities in health and wellness coaching include private and group practices; mentor coaching; corporate coaching; coaching at fitness centers, wellness centers, medical centers, doctor’s offices, and other health-related organizations; a college or university faculty member; an author, editor, or publisher of print and electronic publications; a health researcher.
 

  1. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Occupational Outlook Handbook”, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/.
     
  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “More Adults and Children are Using Yoga and Meditation”, November, 2018, https://nccih.nih.gov/news/press/More-adults-and-children-are-using-yoga-and-meditation.
     
  3. R.L.Nahin, et al., “Expenditures on Complementary Health Approaches: United States, 2012,” National Health Statistics Report,  June 22 (95):1-11, 2016.
     
  4. National Center for Health Statistics, “Use of Complementary Health Approaches in the US: 2012 National Health Interview Survey,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/NHIS/2012.
     
  5. T.C. Clarke, et al., “Trends in the Use of Complementary Health Approaches Among Adults: United States, 2002–2012,” National Health Statistics Report, Feb 10 (79): 1–16, 2015.
     
  6. M. Nemko, “Ahead of the Curve Careers”, U.S. News and World Report, Dec 19, 2007, https://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2007/12/19/ahead-of-the-curve-careers.
     
  7. Marketdata, LLC, “The U.S. Health Coaching Market”, May 2018, https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/4649614/the-u-s-health-coaching-market#rela2-4531925.
     
  8. J. Rosenthal, J., “The quiet revolution of health and wellness coaches”, The Hill, 2016, from http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/265266-the-quiet-revolution-of-health-and-wellness-coaches.