Educational Program Standards and Individual Health Coach Board Certification

The University of Minnesota is a national leader in defining the scope of practice, developing educational competencies and standards of practice, and helping to lead the implementation and acceptance of a national certification process and exam in Health and Wellness coaching. This professional work is being done by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), the organization for which Dr. Karen Lawson has served on executive leadership since its inception in 2010.

Through the NBHWC, the University of Minnesota’s Health Coaching programs has received Program Approval in 2017. Our graduates achieve the highest level of knowledge and skills necessary to successfully complete the national board certification examination, which began in 2017, and is a biannual offering. University of Minnesota students are qualified to complete the national board certification exam after successful completion of the Certificate in Integrative Therapies and Healing Practices: Health Coaching track or the equivalent coursework (20 required credits) as a Master of Arts student. In addition, nurses may complete a certification exam as Health and Wellness Nurse Coaches (

Lifestyle Medicine Online CE Course

Some health and wellness coaches may find that they need more content expertise in the area of lifestyle medicine. In the future, accredited Health Coaching educational programs will be required to contain 15 hours of content in this field, but current approved programs have not offered this to all students. Examinees will be held responsible for knowing this content on the exam.

Additionally, other health professionals and community members may have professional or personal interest in learning about how lifestyle factors impact health and wellbeing, and about the current recommendations for optimal behaviors.

The University of Minnesota's Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing is now offering an affordable, fully-online, self-paced Lifestyle Medicine continuing education course that is composed of 4-units that each include video, readings, and quizzes for self-evaluation.

Learn more and register.