Certificate in Health Behavior Coaching

Do you want to facilitate positive and lasting behavior change in your clients? Earn this post-baccalaureate graduate certificate.Contact Us

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Program Highlights

Health Behavior Coaches complement the work of other health and medical professionals by functioning as supportive mentors that motivate, facilitate and empower clients or patients: (1) to adopt positive and lasting health behavior changes, (2) to become accountable for their own health, and (3) to comply with health/medical recommendations that promote health and wellness and enhance overall well-being.

VCU's post-baccalaureate graduate certificate in Health Behavior Coaching prepares professionals to serve a critical role on the interdisciplinary healthcare delivery team in the emerging preventative health care model in the U.S. Whether a clinical professional or health promotion professional, you will develop and enhance your professional competencies and skills that facilitate a client/patient-centered approach which assists them in determining their own personal health goals and action plans.

Read how this program supports VCU's strategic plan, Quest 2025.

Course Curriculum

The post-baccalaureate graduate certificate in Health Behavior Coaching is now 100% online, with both synchronous and asynchronous coursework, and can be completed as a full-time or as a part-time student. Successful completion of the program requires a minimum of 21 graduate credit hours beyond the baccalaureate level. The coursework consists of 17 core credit hours plus four credit hours in a selected focus area.

The program may prepare students for credentialing as a Certified Health Education Specialist (C.H.E.S.), as administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC), and may be applied towards the Master of Science (M.S.) in Health and Movement Sciences.

Find out more about the curriculum.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the roles, responsibilities and scope of practice of Health Behavior Coaches in the context of the U.S. health care delivery system.
  2. Students will demonstrate skills and competencies in partnering with clients/patients to develop client-centered and client-driven health outcomes goals and a feasible plan to accomplish their goals.
  3. Students will demonstrate skills and competencies in facilitating client/patient lifestyle changes and empowering them to sustain healthy behaviors to improve health status, health outcomes and overall well-being.
  4. Students will demonstrate their commitment to engage in continuing education to become more proficient in their practice and to ensure that their practice-related knowledge and skills remain current.
  5. Students will commit to practicing in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

Required Courses

Course TitleCredit Hours
HEMS 640Health Care Organization and Delivery in the U.S.3
HEMS 641Human Disease Prevention, Prevalence and Lifestyle Risk Factors3
HEMS 642Theoretical Foundations of Health Behavior Change3
HEMS 643Fundamentals of Motivational Interviewing1
HEMS 644Advanced Motivational Interviewing1
HEMS 647Concepts and Applications in Chronic Disease Self-Management3
HEMS 695Externship: Health Behavior Coaching3
Specified Electives4
Specified Elective CoursesCredit Hours
Select a specified pair of elective courses based on your focus area:
Clinical Focus
HEMS 645Application of Motivational Interviewing in Clinical Settings1
HEMS 648Health Behavior Change Counseling Techniques for Clinical Interventions3
Group/Community Focus
HEMS 646Application of Motivational Interviewing in Group/Community Settings1
HEMS 649Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Group/Community-focused Health Behavior Change Interventions3
Total graduate credit hours (minimum)21

Receiving a C or below in two courses constitutes an automatic dismissal from the program. Courses with a grade below C cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.

How to apply

Admission to the Certificate in Health Behavior Coaching requires that prospective students:

  1. Have earned an undergraduate degree in a health science, social science, behavioral science or other health-related discipline
  2. Possess a minimum of one year of health-related work experience
  3. Have completed a minimum of four prerequisite course credits in Medical Terminology and Personal Health

Prepare your application now for the next cohort!

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