Health Coach Certificate

Program Overview

The health coach certification will enhance the marketability of students currently pursuing degrees in the Departments of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Kinesiology and/or Psychology. Although there are a number of organizations and agencies offering a health coach certificate, they do not provide the rigorous academic and theoretical background in the components of health required to prepare workers for the challenges of working in this field. The strong academic programs in human nutrition, kinesiology and psychology are well equipped to provide this educational foundation. Presently, no national accrediting/governing body of health coaches exists, resulting in a number of certification/certificate options with varying degrees of qualifications and rigor. This health coach certificate provides students with a more rigorous and comprehensive foundation in nutrition, exercise, and motivational coaching to compete for employment opportunities requiring health coach certification or certificate. Students would be able to sit for the American Council on Exercise exam should they choose to do so.

Certificate requirements

Health Coach Certificate Requirements

  • Required coursework (23 credits), plus pre-requisites, are completed
  • A minimum of 12 credits are taken at Iowa State University.
  • A minimum of 9 credits are not used to meet any other department, college, or university requirements for the baccalaureate degree except to satisfy the total credit requirement for graduation and to meet credit requirement in courses numbered 300 or above.
  • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 is required in courses taken at Iowa State University for a certificate.

Health Coach Certificate Courses

23 Credits as follows:

  • FSHN 265 Nutrition for Active and Healthy Lifestyles (3 credits)
    • Pre-requisites: FSHN 264 (Pre-requisites FSHN 167, CHEM 163/163L, BIOL 211)
  • FSHN 364 Nutrition and Prevention of Chronic Disease (3 credits) OR FSHN 365 Obesity and Weight Management (3 credits)
    • Pre-requisites: BIOL 256/256L
  • FSHN 361 Nutrition and Health Assessment (2 credits)
    • Pre-requisites: FSHN 265
  • KIN 458 Principles of Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription (4 credits)
    • Pre-requisites: KIN 258, KIN 358
  • KIN 467 Exercise and Health: Behavior Change (3 credits)
    • Pre-requisites: KIN 366 or equivalent
  • PSYCH 422 Counseling Theories and Techniques (3 credits)
    • Pre-requisites: 3 courses in psychology
  • PSYCH 485 Health Psychology (3 credits)
    • Pre-requisites: Junior classification; 6 credits in psychology
  • Practicum experience from FSHN 495 or HS 485 (2 credits)

Application for admission


Any Iowa State University student may apply for the undergraduate health coach certificate. Application form The completed application should be submitted to the academic adviser in the student’s home department: Food Science and Human Nutrition – Anne Oldham Kinesiology – Marsha Wissink Psychology – Indria Jenkins

Get Involved

Learning Communities

Learning communities connect students with social and learning activities that extend well beyond the classroom. Students in many communities take a few courses together, get to know upperclassmen peer mentors, study together as a group, do service projects, and gather just for fun. Visit FSHN’s learning community web page Visit Kinesiology’s learning community web page Visit Psychology’s learning community web page

  •  Professor Litchfield

    Get to know Food Science Professor Ruth Litchfield
    View video >>

  • Contact Information

    Food Science and Human Nutrition contacts:

    Dr. Ruth Litchfield

    Ms. Anne Oldham

    Kinesiology contacts:

    Dr. Laura Ellingson

    Ms. Marsha Wissink

    Psychology contacts:

    Dr. Leigh Phillips

    Dr. Indria Jenkins

  • Did You Know?

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Outlook Handbook note health care services and personal care are among those careers that will experience the fastest growth through 2020 (approximately 20%).

  • Interdepartmental Program

    The Health Coach Certificate program is jointly administered by the Food Science and Human Nutrition, Kinesiology and Psychology departments.

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