Health & Wellness Coach Certifying Examination
The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) work collaboratively to implement standards leading to certification as a health & wellness coach. The credential enables those certified to provide evidence of their expertise and quality as competent health & wellness coaches. Further, the credential allows stakeholders such as healthcare professionals, patients, employers, and educators to identify practitioners who have demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities essential to effective health and wellness coaching.
About the Exam
Introduction to the Health & Wellness Coach Certifying Examination (HWCCE)
The objective of the HWC Certifying Examination is to provide a measure of foundational knowledge, skills, tasks, and abilities essential to the practice of health and wellness coaching. Test items are developed by nationally recognized subject matter experts who are experienced as practitioners and educators in the field. Examination content draws upon the results of a 2014 job task analysis and broadly represents the principles of health and wellness coaching, teaching, and practice.
The following topics are included in the assessment:
- Coaching Structure
- Coaching Process: Coaching Relationship/Communication/Techniques
- Health & Wellness
- Ethics/Legal (including NBHWC Code of Ethics)
Test Delivery, Format, and Length
The HWC Certifying Examination is administered using computer-based delivery via a network of NBME-approved Prometric test centers across the United States, its territories, and worldwide. Click here to locate a Prometric test center.
The 4½-hour test session for each examination includes:
- A 15-minute tutorial
- 150 questions in a multiple-choice format
- 2 sections, 1 hour and 52 minutes each
- A maximum of 15 minutes of total break time available for use between the test sections
- A 15-minute post-test survey
Scoring and Score Reporting
Scoring for the HWC Certifying Examination is designed to ensure that all certification holders have demonstrated a minimum level of knowledge consistent with conducting safe and effective health and wellness coaching.
The credential will be granted in recognition of successful performance on the Health & Wellness Coach Certifying Examination (“HWC Certifying Examination” or “HWCCE”), documented and verified work experience, and education.
Professionals who wish to obtain the credential must meet established eligibility criteria. For eligibility requirements, see http://www.nbhwc.org/individuals/. A comprehensive list of recognized educational programs is available at: http://www.nbhwc.org/organizations/.
The National Board of Medical Examiners
Founded in 1915, NBME is an independent, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to protect the health of the public through state-of-the-art assessment of health professionals worldwide.
The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching
Incorporated in 2017, NBHWC is an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports the worldwide advancement of the field of health and wellness coaching by implementing a standard supported by a certification examination and research.
To be eligible for the HWC Certifying Examination, professionals must meet requirements for demonstrating education and experience in the field. Complete guidelines and requirements are outlined on the NBHWC website and described in the 2019-2021 Bulletin of Information.
In brief, education and experience eligibility requirements include:
- Associate’s degree or higher in any field. For those who do not have the minimum of an Associate’s degree, the standard is 4,000 hours of work experience in any field.
- Completion of an Approved Transition Program. Please note: If your program is noted with an asterisk at www.nbhwc.org/approved-programs/, there is an additional requirement needed. Please contact your program to verify completion prior to submitting your application. In the event you are unable to provide a Certificate of Completion, the Health & Wellness Coach Certifying Examination program will contact your health and wellness coach training program to determine program completion and eligibility. Further details are available on the Credentials/Individuals page at www.nbhwc.org/individuals/.
- A written log of 50 health and wellness coaching sessions of at least 20 minutes; at least 75% of each session must be devoted to coaching facilitation and not education. Candidates who are prohibited by their employer from completing the coaching log may provide a letter from their supervisor documenting 50 health and wellness coaching sessions that meet the requirement.
Candidates must determine if they are eligible to sit for the examination before registering for the HWC Certifying Examination and submitting an eligibility application.
Step 1: Create Your Candidate Account & Register for the HWC Certifying Examination
Begin creating your candidate account by accessing www.MyNBME.org -or- by clicking on the “Apply Now” button. Once your account is created, complete and submit the online registration application for the HWC Certifying Examination; pay the eligibility application registration fee; and indicate if a test accommodation will be requested.
|Processing Fee||Examination Registration Fee||Total Fee|
|Fee Amount for 2019, 2020, and 2021||$100||$350||$450|
|Refundable?||No||Yes – See “Fee Policy” and “Cancelling or Rescheduling Your Examination” in the Bulletin of Information for details|
Accepted credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express
Do not send cash, checks, or money orders.
Fees are stated in U.S. dollars. If payment is not received in full, for any reason, the application registration process will not continue. Fees are subject to change.
Step 2: Submit Required Eligibility Application Documents
The following documents for applying for eligibility to sit for the HWC Certifying Examination are available for downloading at www.nbhwc.org:
- HWC Education Declaration Form or HWC Work Experience Log
- Certificate of Completion
- HWC 50-Session Coaching Log
Access www.MyNBME.org to upload and submit all documents by the given date for processing.
The HWC Certifying Examination reserves the right to independently verify credentials. You will be notified by email, generally within 30 business days, if you meet the eligibility requirements for the HWC Certifying Examination.
Test Accommodation Application
If you indicated on your registration form that you plan to apply for test accommodations, go to the “Downloads” tab at the top of this page where you will find information on how to document a disability. Follow the instructions on the Request for Test Accommodations form. Test Accommodation documents must be submitted by the given date in order to be considered for the requested test administration window.
Step 3: Schedule Your Test Day Appointment
Once your eligibility has been verified, you will receive an email with instructions on accessing your scheduling permit online and how to schedule a test appointment at Prometric within the requested examination window. You are advised to schedule a test day appointment as soon as possible.
Your eligibility status will expire once the requested test window is closed. If you elect to sit for a future administration of the HWC Certifying Examination, you will need to reapply and pay a new examination fee.
Security and Integrity of the HWC Certifying Examination
The examination materials used in the HWC Certifying Examination are the confidential, copyrighted property of the NBHWC and NBME. If you reproduce and/or distribute examination materials, by any means, including but not limited to reconstruction through memorization, without the express written consent of the NBHWC and NBME, you are in violation of the rights of the owners. Every legal means available to protect NBHWC and NBME examination materials and secure redress against those who violate copyright law may be pursued. The HWC Certifying Examination program reserves the right to take all action—including, but not limited to, barring you from future testing and/or withholding or cancelling your scores—for failure to comply with test administration regulations or the test administrator's directions. If your scores are cancelled, they will not be reported and your examination fees will not be refunded. Reports of examinee misconduct will be investigated thoroughly and offenders may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The confidentiality of examination content must be maintained at all times. You are prohibited from communicating, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting any part of your exam, in any form, or by any means, oral or written, for any purpose.
Communicating about a Security Concern
NBHWC and NBME encourage you to provide information concerning any activity of which you are aware that may compromise the security and integrity of the HWC Certifying Examination. Please contact NBME using our contact form and selecting HWC Certifying Examination (HWCCE) from the dropdown menu to report such information.