Health and wellness coaches are not legally required to have certain credentials to serve as health, life or wellbeing coaches or consultants. The advantage of serving clients as a health, life or wellness coach is that unlike licensed professionals, no state in the United States regulates the practice of health or wellness coaching. That means you do not need any certificates, training or degrees to open up a practice or become a self-employed health, wellness or wellbeing coach. You don’t even need a legal entity, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation. You can just decide to start practicing health and wellness coaching today if you wanted (though that probably isn’t the best way to start). If you did just hang out a shingle today, you would need to keep track of your income and report it on your personal income taxes when you file next year.
If you want to obtain certain credentials for your coaching business, such as a certification in holistic health coaching or complete other certification or training programs, there are certainly a lot to choose from in the market. But from a legal perspective, which is what our specialty is at the Center for Health and Wellness Law, LLC, none of these things are required by any governmental body.
That being said, there are legal risks of which health and wellness coaches and consultants must be aware. These legal issues include:
Not exceeding the coaching scope of practice
Being aware of state licensing laws involving nutrition counseling, psychotherapy, and medical practice
What, if any, relationship you must have with a licensed practitioner
If and when you can order labs or ask health history questions
If and when you can sell nutritional supplements or create a diet or exercise plan for clients
Knowing your responsibilities if you work in house for a corporate wellness program
How to hire employees or independent contractors
When and how to license your intellectual property
When and how to trademark or patent your intellectual property
How to reduce your chances of getting sued
What disclaimers to put on your website and promotional materials
What language you should use to describe your services to avoid legal trouble
What legal entities make the most sense for your coaching business
As a result, before starting your health, wellness or holistic health coaching business, it is smart to contact with a wellness lawyer so that you understand the legal landscape and avoid the legal landmines.
Even though you don’t need a legal entity to practice as a health, wellness, wellbeing or holistic health coach, there are legal advantages to having one. The main advantage is the added protection you get for your personal assets.
Our firm has created numerous resources for coaches and consultants just like you. We have created a starter kit for launching a health or wellness coaching business, as well as training videos to learn more about the legal basics of starting such a business. We specialize in making sure you feel comfortable with your coaching or consulting practice from a legal standpoint, so that you can deliver the best services to your clients. Contact us today to help your coaching or consulting business thrive!