Special Benefits of Becoming a Wellness Coach

For Veterans & Wounded Warriors

Becoming a Wellness Coach may be an attractive training and employment option for veterans, including wounded warriors, and a solution to the significant employment challenges they face.

Recent data indicate that since 2002, well over half a million military personnel have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan with life-altering injuries, including severe physical injuries (amputation, spinal cord injury, burns, and visual impairments), post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, in addition to injury, a significant number of veterans lack the education or training needed to transition into good civilian employment. The top barriers include mental health issues (33%), lack of education (24%), lack of physical capability (23%), inadequate pay (19%), and lack of self-confidence (17%).

On the other hand, veterans, including wounded warriors, possess invaluable skills that would serve them well as Wellness Coaches. These skills include adaptability, leadership, flexibility, accountability, personal integrity, respect for procedures and processes, ability to learn new concepts and technologies, perseverance in the face of adversity, and strong interpersonal relationships and communication.

Both the Wellness Coach training program and the occupation itself fulfill many needs veterans have and mitigate some of the challenges:

  1. All the training is done via distance-learning, including real-time interaction and collaborative practice. This overcomes problems of mobility and access.
  2. The pacing of the coursework is completely individualized and flexible, so veterans can schedule training to fit their unique needs.
  3. Wellness Coaches focus on identifying and marshaling people’s strengths in the interest of achieving their goals for a preferred future. The training is rigorous and requires significant self-reflection and skills development through practice. It is not intended to be therapeutic, but it can have very positive effects on trainees, if not being transformative.
  4. Participants who successfully complete the Coach training program will be certified as Wellness Coaches by the Department of Labor through its Registered Apprenticeship Program, which confers the credibility of a nationally recognized standard of competency.
  5. Once certified, Wellness Coaches can practice in many different ways and settings, even offering telephone support or brief sessions, if mobility, endurance, and attention are challenges.
  6. The employment outlook for Wellness Coaches is very promising due to the emerging shift from a disease model of healthcare to a model of health promotion and maintenance and the influx of tens of millions into the system as a result of the Affordable Care Act. The personal and professional qualities of veterans trained as Wellness Coaches will make them valued members of the healthcare team.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 17, 2011) Team Navy/Coast Guard member Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Angelo Anderson participates in the 200-meter wheelchair event during the second annual Warrior Games. The Warrior Games is a Paralympic-style sport event among 200 seriously wounded, ill, and injured service members from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released 110517-N-CD297-007

US DOL Approved

IWE created the competencies and curriculum for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wellness Coaching Registered Apprenticeship Program.

Participating in IWE’s Wellness Coaching training courses may count toward fulfillment of the Registered Apprenticeship Program requirements.

Department of Labor: Certified Wellness Coach Bulletin and Curriculum