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There is a lot of misinformation regarding the need for corporate wellness certifications. For the most part, the worksite wellness industry is not regulated even though there are a few federal and state laws to guide how programs are conducted.



There is a lot of misinformation regarding the need for corporate wellness certifications. For the most part, the worksite wellness industry is not regulated even though there are a few federal and state laws to guide how programs are conducted.

Wellness certifications are an attempt to self-regulate the industry so that employees get access to well-designed and well-run wellness programs. To help you navigate all of the benefits and pitfalls of wellness certifications, spencerinstitute has created this comprehensive guide that contains everything you need to know about corporate and worksite wellness certifications.

Let’s start by answering a few common questions about corporate health and wellness consulting:

What is a wellness certification and what are the main types of certifications that are available?

There are three types of wellness certifications that are commonly found in corporate wellness programs. These include wellness program certifications, health coach certifications, and fitness/personal training certifications.

Wellness Program Certifications are available to individuals who will be planning, managing, and directing the day-to-day activities of a worksite wellness program. These include several levels of training from wellness assistants and wellness staff on one end to wellness program mangers and directors on the other end of the spectrum.

In small to medium-sized worksites, it is common for the benefits or HR department to be given the responsibility of administering a wellness program. Typically these programs are organized by benefits specialists or HR specialists who have little to no training in worksite wellness.

For these individuals, simple one to two day wellness certification courses are available to give them the basic competency to get their program up and running.

Other wellness certifications are more extensive and are designed to train people to actually be a wellness coordinator or wellness program director. Most of the high-level wellness positions are being filled by employees who have undergraduate or graduate college wellness degrees as part of their academic preparation.

Typically these individuals are full-time wellness professionals that have established a career in the provision of wellness services. These jobs typically pay well and provide solid employment.

Health Coach Certifications are often required for individuals who are providing one-on-one health and wellness coaching. As a certified wellness coach you can help clients reach their health goals and improve their well-being by working in a fitness or healthcare setting, or starting your own business. The health and wellness coach certifications are relatively easy to acquire in a short amount of time and give employers the assurance that the health coach knows how to provide effective behavior change counseling and safe and effective health advice.

There are many companies that provide health coaching certifications. Typically salary ranges for health coaches tend to be on the lower end of the pay scale.

Fitness/Personal Training Certifications are available for those individuals who are working one-on-one or in small groups to provide fitness and exercise training.

Most people are familiar with the type of work that is completed by personal trainers. Just like health coaching certifications, the certification process can be completed relatively quickly.

This also means that more people can get these certifications making it much easier to find and hire individuals to be personal trainers. Personal training, like health coaching tends to be on the low end of the pay scale.

Are certifications required to work in the wellness industry?

The answer to this question is yes and no, depending upon the type of wellness certification you want to get. Getting any of these certifications is only going to make you more qualified and better at doing your job—but a certification probably won’t make any difference in whether or not you get the job in the first place.

spencerinstitute also has some amazing employees but it is extremely rare for any spencerinstitute customer to ask about the wellness certifications they have earned. Either they don’t ask because they don’t know about them or they don’t ask because they really don’t care. Either way, they are not asking!

There is one exception to this. Employers want to know that health coaches (or personal trainers) are going to be professional, effective, and safe. Anyone can call themselves a health coach or a personal trainer, so having a certification can make a difference.

Having a health coach certification or personal training certification at least provides some evidence that you know what you are doing. More importantly, it lets the employer know that you won’t be suggesting that employees do some unsafe, or unproven health practice.

Getting any wellness certification certainly will not hurt your job prospects, but it many cases it may make no difference. Actual wellness job experience is always the most important qualification. You can also read a recent post on the 3 best ideas and tips to get a wellness job.

I’m sure that the companies that make a living providing wellness certifications don’t like what I have to say about this, but this is the reality of our profession today. The truth is that more and more wellness professionals have college degrees in health and wellness. A college degree has way more clout than a certificate. More on this later.

If they are not required, then why get a wellness certification?

Workplace wellness program templates, health coaching certifications, and personal training certifications will only help you to be better qualified to work in the wellness industry. These certifications can help in several ways even though they may not always be required for your job. The following are reasons why getting a health and wellness certification may be worth it for you.

  • Certifications can give you a certain level of credibility and hopefully some competency.
  • Certifications can teach you evidence-based best practices that are driven by solid science. This will ensure that you only give safe and effective counseling and guidance.
  • Certifications will teach you to not use unproven or untested alternative health ideas with your clients.
  • Some certifications will help you understand how to help employees adopt and maintain healthy behaviors and behavior change is the key to wellness.
  • If you’re in the job market and you want to add a little flair to your resume, some of the certifications are relatively inexpensive and will provide a nice addition to your job qualifications.
  • At a minimum you should complete CPR and AED certifications. You can get these skills from an organization like the Heart Association for less than $50.

How much does it cost to complete a wellness certification?

The answer to this question depends upon the type of certification you want to complete. If you are an HR professional and you are responsible for your company’s wellness program, you can complete some basic wellness certifications for under $400.

More comprehensive training can cost up to $900 per level of training. The cost of health coaching certifications ranges from just under $500 to up to $2000. Personal training certifications can be acquired for between $400 and $700.

As mentioned previously, the wellness industry and the wellness certification industry is not regulated. That means you need to be careful about which certifications you choose and how much you pay.

Unfortunately there are some dishonest companies that provide certifications that are nothing more than certification mills. The main goal of these companies is to make as much money as possible by doing a poor job of educating participants and handing out certifications that mean little.

Keep reading and you’ll get some specific recommendations on the certification companies that have been verified as reputable.

How long does it take to get a corporate wellness certification?

The amount of time required to complete the different certifications varies dramatically. provides basic wellness certifications that can be completed in just a few hours or days.

Some personal training certifications can take 3 to 4 months. It all depends on the type and level of certification you are trying to acquire.

Most certifications can be completed online, in person at intensive all-day workshops, or through books and printed materials. Most require you to pass a competency examination. Wellness certification companies go to great lengths to work with your schedule and study preferences.

Should I consider getting a college degree in health promotion and wellness?

Anyone who has a bachelors degree or masters degree in worksite wellness or worksite health promotion programs has had a very deep and broad exposure to wellness programs. The 4 to 6 years of intensive coursework is far more valuable and impactful than any certification could ever be.

The problem is that it takes 4 to 6 years and a whole bunch of money to reach this level of proficiency. At spencerinstitute, we only hire individuals who have wellness or health promotion academic degrees. Many universities now offer 4 year degrees in health and wellness and here is a list of universities that offer online degrees in health and wellness.

In addition to personal training, health coaching, and running, designing, and managing wellness programs, spencerinstitute employees wear multiple hats and have very broad job descriptions. A college degree in health and wellness is required if they are to be successful in these particular jobs.

Is there a list of organizations that offer employee wellness certifications? And how do I know if I can trust them?

You have come to the right place. we have identified all of the wellness certification companies and classified them into three categories: wellness certifications, health coaching certifications, and personal training certifications.

In the table below, we have summarized what each of them does. But more importantly each certification has been verified by this symbol. If they have a lengthy history and are reputable, they can be trusted to provide you with a quality training experience.

This doesn’t mean that they are the only trusted wellness certification companies on this list, but they are the ones with which we are most familiar. Some of the others on this list may also be very good but they did not get a seal of approval simply because we did not know about them.

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