APPLICATIONS AND FEES
What are the prerequisites for being a Whole30 Certified Coach?
You do not need any specific degree or any other certification to be a Whole30 Coach. However, we highly recommend you have done at least three full Whole30 programs, read It Starts With Food, The Whole30, and Food Freedom Forever, and have helped others (even if it’s just friends and family) through the program before you apply.
How do I begin the process?
First, you’ll go through our free application process. If you are accepted, you’ll pay the certification fee, and begin Track 1 of the testing process.
What is the certification fee?
The Whole30 Coaching Certification fee is $1,000, due 30 days after being accepted into the program. There is also a nominal $150 annual fee to maintain your certification and placement on our website. (See “CEUs” below.)
Are there discounts available?
Yes, we offer a 50% discount for medical professionals (doctors, nurses, dietitians, counselors, therapists, etc.) with credentials including but not limited to MD, ND, DO, RD, RN, LCSW. There is a spot in the application to enter your credentials and see if you qualify for this reduced rate. If you have a question about whether your professional designation qualifies you for this discount, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is your refund process if I fail?
If you fail Track 1 of the certification process, you will have the opportunity to try again in 1-3 months free of charge. You can also choose to discontinue the testing process at that point for a full refund. If you choose to continue, there will be no further refund opportunities.
If you do request a refund after failing track 1, you will need to wait 6 months before applying to become a Coach again for time to study, reconnect with the community, and have more practice helping others through the Whole30.
If you get to the end of the testing process and have not earned high enough marks to become certified, there will be no refunds granted, and you must start the application process over from the start, after 6 months.
Whoa—that’s a big investment.
Yes, it is, and we specifically designed it like that. The certification is specifically geared towards the most experienced Whole30’ers; those who want to earn money coaching and leading others through the program. It’s an investment in your health and wellness education, and the selection process will be rigorous.
In addition, we provide a significant amount of time and energy into “creating” a Whole30 Certified Coach. Our license fee and clear ‘no refund’ policy for failing Track 1 twice in a row reflect the degree to which we take this process seriously, and the degree to which we want YOU to take it seriously, too.
If I am passing all the Tracks smoothly, am I a guaranteed Coach?
No. The Whole30 team reserves the right to excuse you from the process at any time, for any reason. If this should happen, we’ll issue you a full refund.
PREPARATION AND TESTING
What are some of the recommended study materials?
As mentioned, this is not a training course—participants should show up to testing fully prepared to showcase their knowledge of the material and our community. To that end, these are a number of recommended study materials. (You must, at minimum, have read or listened to all of the Whole30-related books outlined below.)
- It Starts With Food, by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig
- The Whole30, by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig
- Food Freedom Forever, by Melissa Hartwig
- The Whole30 blog archive (whole30.com/blog/)
- The Whole30 forum (whole30.com)
- Whole30 social media feeds (particularly Facebook and Instagram; @whole30)
- Wholesome, the free Whole30 newsletter
How long does the certification testing take?
Generally, anywhere from four to eight weeks. You may choose to complete the first four tracks very quickly, or take your time preparing for each one. In addition, we may add up to a week to the process, should we need more time to review, discuss, or grade your materials.
What are the four testing tracks?
The four tracks consist of a multiple-choice exam, a series of essay questions, a special project, and an online interview. Should you pass all four, you’ll then become an official Whole30 Coach.
What percentage of candidates fail Track 1?
Upon taking the test for the first time, 46% of candidates are not able to pass Track 1. (Yes, it’s that tough!) About half of those candidates chose to be refunded at that time. Remember, those who opt to take the test again are no longer eligible for a refund if they fail.
How will the testing be done?
Testing is all done through our online system, from the comfort of your own home.
Will I get to see how I’m doing along the way?
Yes. Scores will be calculated and displayed for each track, along with comments from your reviewer where appropriate. You and your Whole30 team reviewer will be the only people with access to your testing materials and scores once you log into our system.
What if I fail some tracks, but pass others?
We want to work with our Coaches to grow and develop you, and it’s important to us that this process doesn’t just rely on a calculated online score to determine whether a prospective Coach passes or fails. To that end, a Whole30 team member will be reviewing all of your material, and will take all factors into account before deciding your acceptance into the program. If you perform well overall, but have a few areas that could be strengthened, that will not automatically preclude you from passing the overall certification. However, it is at the ultimate discretion of the Whole30 team whether or not to accept you at the end of the process.
BEING CERTIFIED AND LICENSED
What does it mean to be a Whole30 Certified Coach?
It means you have been officially licensed to use the Whole30 registered trademark to advertise, promote, and market your services as a Whole30 Certified Coach.
What can I call myself once I obtain my certification?
The only designation afforded by this program is Whole30 Certified Coach. Unless your other certifications, licenses, or degrees specifically allow it, you may not call yourself a nutritionist, nutrition consultant, or dietitian, or any other term that implies you are licensed to perform nutrition consultations.
What is a Coach’s scope of practice?
This certification does not imply a professional designation, nor does it allow you to make specific nutrition, dietary, or medical recommendations, or practice one-on-one consulting, unless it is within your professional scope of practice to do so, and/or it is permitted by state law. Your role is that of a lifestyle coach. You’ll be helping clients in a group setting, providing them with resources, offering advice for succeeding with the program, and motivating and supporting them during their Whole30—but directing them to a Registered Dietitian, medical doctor, trained counselor, or other qualified healthcare provider for specific dietary and health-related recommendations.
Can I conduct one-on-one coaching sessions?
Only if permissible by your professional degree or license, and/or only if approved by the laws of your state. Certain states do not allow one-on-one nutrition coaching or consultation unless you are a Registered Dietitian, while others require a proper license or exemption. You must abide by the laws of your state when providing Whole30 support. Failure to do so may result in your Coaching license being rescinded. For more information about the laws on individualized coaching in your state, visit the Center for Nutrition Advocacy, and refer to the chart below.
Can I conduct group coaching sessions?
Yes. As a Certified Coach, you’ll be licensed to conduct group coaching sessions, both in person or virtually (like through a Facebook group). There is no geographic limit to who you may coach in this fashion.
Can I conduct group seminars, lectures, cooking demonstrations, or other Whole30-related events?
Yes. You’ll also be able to conduct events, seminars, or other Whole30-related in-person presentations within a 50-mile radius of your home, on behalf of yourself or at the request of an event host.
Why is there a 50-mile radius for seminars and events?
Two reasons. First, the Coaching program is specifically designed for you to provide support to your local community, which means prioritizing local events over those outside of your city or town.Second, our licensed Whole30 Seminar team members have been specially trained to present Whole30 seminars and events for groups and the media, so we prioritize sending either Melissa or one of these specially trained individuals out to national or international media events. However, should you receive a request outside of your home area that you’d like to accept, just email us at email@example.com, and we’ll be happy to review.
Do I have to notify you of events I’m conducting?
No, but you’ll want to! If you shoot video, take photos, or create presentations for your events, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We plan on featuring our coaches’ events on the Whole30 social media channels and sharing the best resources with our coaching community. Unless you let us know what you’re up to, we won’t be able to showcase your talents.
Can I do local media about the Whole30?
Yes, as long as you make it clear that you are speaking only as a Whole30 Certified Coach, and not on behalf of the Whole30 organization itself. Feel free to accept requests from local media (television, newspaper, radio, podcasts, or local blogs or locally-based online channels) to talk about the Whole30 and your coaching services—but remember, you must present the program exactly as written, without modifications.
Can I do national media about the Whole30?
Not without express written permission first. Any national or web-based media outlets requesting interviews (television, newspaper, radio, podcasts, or online sources with a broad audience) must be passed through email@example.com first. Should we be unavailable to take the request, we’ll happily hand it back to you.
Can I charge for my group coaching or seminar services?
Yes, you may charge for the approved and licensed services you conduct, at any rate you choose.
Will Whole30 take a portion or commission of my fees?
No. Whole30 receives no fees, commissions, or affiliate income from any approved Whole30 Coaching activities you conduct. That income is all yours!
What can’t I do with my Coach license?
This list is not exhaustive, but as a Coach, you may not, without prior written permission from Whole30: (a) conduct seminars, events, or presentations outside of the aforementioned 50-mile radius, (b) conduct events, seminars, or presentations online or virtually, (c) record or share previously recorded seminars, events, or presentations publicly, or (d) appear on any media or conduct any media interviews on behalf of Whole30, outside of those locally distributed, (e) perform any services for which you are not licensed, or services which are not allowed by your state legislation.
For how long is my Coach license valid?
Your Coach license is good for one calendar year, beginning on the day you sign and accept your contract. The license may be renewed each year, provided you meet the requirements for renewal.
What must I do to maintain my Coach license?
First, you must comply with all contractual obligations as outlined in your Coaching Contract. Second, you must complete annual Continuing Education Credits (CEUs). Third, you must pay a $150 annual fee to remain a Whole30 Certified Coach in good standing.
How do I earn CEUs?
You earn CEUs by providing service to the Whole30 community or your fellow coaches. CEUs can be earned by volunteering as a forum moderator, performing a seminar or event at Whole30’s request, creating resources for our website, helping the Whole30 team with a special project, leading discussions in the Coaching Facebook group, reviewing new Coaching applications, or taking an approved course or training seminar. A detailed list of CEU options will be offered in our online system once you have achieved your certification.
WORKING AS A COACH
Can I change the Whole30 program rules to suit my clients?
No. You must guide participants through the Whole30 program exactly as written, with no changes to the rules of the program, unless modifications are requested by a Registered Dietitian or qualified healthcare provider, or you are a Registered Dietitian or qualified healthcare provider and are making the recommendations yourself as part of your scope of practice. (Note, if modifications are recommended by the participant’s doctor, R.D. or other qualified provider, those recommendations supersede Whole30 rules, and must be followed.)
Does Whole30 provide me with training or coaching materials to use with my clients?
We sure will, and are hard at work as we speak! We are developing a basic Coaching Handbook, to help our Certified Coaches guide people through the Whole30 and teach basic “intro to Whole30” seminars. Those materials will be co-developed with our Certified Coaches, and will be distributed as they are available. However, you may access and distribute anything we have made publicly available, including our free PDF downloads, and create your own package to guide people through the program.
Can I reproduce information found in your books to distribute?
No, as that would violate copyright law. You may quote from short sections, but please do not photocopy entire recipes or pages to use with your clients.
Do I have to have insurance?
It is highly recommended that you have your own liability insurance to work as a Whole30 Certified Coach. Some companies that offer professional liability insurance for health and fitness professionals include Allied Health Insureon, Lockton Affinity, and Hiscox. (Note, for the purposes of insurance, the closest field of practice for coverage is probably “nutritionist,” a general term for those who help clients with food. Consult an attorney in your state for recommendations tailored to your context.)
Can I purchase your books at a discount?
Yes, we will set you up with a wholesale account, so that you may purchase our books at up to a 50% discount. You are also free to sell these books to your clients at a markup.
Is there a limit on how many Coaches will be certified in any one geographic area?
No. We will choose applicants based on their strengths, not their geographic location. You may be the only Coach working in a city, or there could be several in your home area.
Will my Coach profile be listed on Whole30.com?
Yes. All Coaches in good standing will have a bio on Whole30.com, including a photo, short biography, social media handles, and various means of contact. Your Coach profile will also be searchable by city/state/country.
I have more questions; who should I contact?