Functional Medicine is a model of care that addresses the underlying causes of disease and engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It represents an evolution in the practice of medicine and effectively addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, Functional Medicine considers the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
Facing an explosion of chronic diseases, we need to address the underlying causes, such as inflammation stemming from poor dietary choices. That’s where Functional Medicine comes in. As a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, you’ll help individuals meet their health goals, playing a key role in guiding them towards preventing or reversing the chronic conditions so pervasive in our modern environment.
No. FMCA’s curriculum is designed to train health coaches, not medical practitioners. Our program provides foundational knowledge of Functional Medicine. The Institute for Functional Medicine prepares healthcare providers to practice Functional Medicine.
You will be certified through FMCA as a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach. The Institute for Functional Medicine offers certification for healthcare providers.
FMCA is the only coaching program that has a collaborative relationship with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). Taught by IFM faculty, our unique curriculum integrates Functional Medicine with positive psychology coaching, functional nutrition and mind-body medicine.
Our faculty consists of internationally-recognized thought leaders and experts who continue to shape their fields.
Students receive individualized attention from course facilitators and the leadership team, and have regular opportunities to interact with faculty.
During your 6-month practicum, you will be matched with clients from the Functional Medicine Coaching Center and meet virtually with your practicum supervisor and cohort group to hone your coaching skills.
FMCA is approved by the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching (ICHWC).
We advocate evidence-based coaching and teach coaching methods in keeping with core competencies as defined by the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching (ICHWC) and the standards of excellence set forth by the Harvard Institute of Coaching.
Rather than advocating a particular dietary theory or nutritional philosophy, our faculty uses a science-based approach, considering the body of evidence from the most current and robust research available. Read about our program to learn more.
Our world-renowned faculty provides webinars and interviews. You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions of many of the presenters through our Ask the Expert forums. Your learning will be enhanced by watching videos of a select group of faculty members coaching “clients” played by professional actors.
For more information about our esteemed faculty, please see our Faculty page.
Core instructors include Monique Class, FNP, APRN; Beth Frates, MD; Kristi Hughes, ND; Lynn Johnson, PhD; Meg Jordan, PhD, RN; Deanna Minich, PhD, FACN, CN; and Margarita Tarragona, PhD.
Course Structure/Program Requirements
The curriculum was designed to be a comprehensive experience. Rather than presenting separate courses, we integrate all areas of learning and teach through case studies and personal reflection. You cannot enroll in any one part of the program separately.
Each student is assigned to a cohort group consisting of about 25 students. Each group has a course facilitator who will guide you through the program and provide feedback on assignments. You can email your course facilitator or post questions on the discussion boards. Your course facilitator will hold monthly online meeting. In addition, the FMCA leadership team encourages you to reach out to them to communicate any concerns.
Depending upon your familiarity with the course content and particular learning style, plan on spending about 8-10 hours per week on course activities.
There are 12 learning modules and each becomes available to you on the first day of each month. You’ll have 4-6 weeks to complete the assignments for each module. Within that time period, you can work at your own pace. Prior months’ modules will remain available as you move forward in the program.
Throughout the course, you will test your knowledge through quizzes. At the end of the program, you will take a pass/fail final examination that assesses coaching principles and practical skills. Any student who does not pass can retake the exam.
No. The course is divided into 12 modules. Each is released on the first of the month over the course of the year. You have continuous access to previously released modules.
Your course materials will be available for a period of one year after graduation. Beyond that, alumni have access to updated program resources for a yearly fee.
One month before the course begins, you will receive a reading list including four required books as well as many recommended books. When each module becomes available, you’ll have complimentary access to that month’s webinars, audio files, videos, handouts and other resources.
The 6-month practicum gives you real-life experience applying your knowledge and skills. You can be matched with clients from the Functional Medicine Coaching Center and conduct a minimum of 10 online or phone sessions with two individual clients or lead a virtual group. Or, if you have access to clients through another avenue, you may work with them. Depending upon your location, you may choose to meet with your practicum clients in person.
You will typically schedule about two monthly sessions with each client. Plan on spending about 3-4 hours per month with clients, excluding preparation time and record keeping.
The practicum includes a 1-1.5 hour, biweekly web conference with your supervisor and 8-12 fellow students. You will be able to sign up for a group that fits your schedule. Through the group process, you receive guidance, support your cohorts, and focus on your personal development as a coach.
You’ll also have an opportunity to receive support through a practicum discussion forum.
A live conference, as well as regional FMCA “meet-up” groups in major metropolitan areas, such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, are in the planning stages.
Deeply committed to making your learning experience interactive, we create small cohort groups where you can interact with fellow students and your course facilitator via live web conferencing. You can ask faculty questions during bi-monthly Ask the Expert sessions and ask FMCA administrators questions during monthly Q&A sessions.
We encourage you to connect with the Functional Medicine community by attending monthly Functional Forums, the industry’s leading integrative medicine conference held around the world and streamed live.
Before the course starts, the FMCA tech team will take you through a tutorial explaining how to use Canvas, our online learning management system. When the program begins, our technology ambassador and systems administrator are available to share your screen and troubleshoot any technical difficulties. Additionally, our technology ambassador is available to meet with you and share screens to guide you through the platform.
Canvas, our learning management system, is designed for maximum compatibility and minimal requirements.
Canvas is best viewed at a minimum of 800 x 600 dpi, the average screen size of a notebook computer. If you want to view Canvas on a device with a smaller screen, we recommend the Canvas mobile app.
- Windows 7 and newer
- Mac OSX 10.6 and newer
- Linux – ChromeOS
Mobile Operating System Native App Support
- iOS 7 and newer
- Android 4.2 and newer
Computer Speed and Processor
- Use a computer five years old or newer
- 1 GB of RAM
- 2 GHz processor
- Along with compatibility and web standards, Canvas has been carefully crafted to accommodate low bandwidth environments.
- Minimum of 512 kbps
- Macintosh: VoiceOver (latest version for Safari)
- PC: JAWS (latest version for Internet Explorer)
- PC: NVDA (latest version for Firefox)
- There is no screen reader support for Canvas in Chrome
Yes, the program is designed to accommodate students from all over the world. Our global student community is expanding rapidly and we have course facilitators dedicated to meeting the needs of international students. We’re in the process of translating course materials into Spanish.
We are in the process of working with a variety of additional professional organizations to receive approval for continuing education. However, at this time we cannot guarantee that your particular profession will be represented. As we gain approval, the organizations will be listed below.
This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
The program is approved for 62 contact hours.
The February 2017 program is accredited with the International Coach Federation (ICF) as a Continuing Coach Education (CCE) program.
It is approved for 45 Core Competencies and 7 Resource Development hours. Approval for the August 2017 program pending.
FMCA is an approved provider of Continuing Professional Eduction Units (CPEUs) for graduates of the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy (IFNA) program.
Integrative Women’s Health Institute (IWHI)
The Integrative Women’s Health Institute (IWHI) offers a 10% discount on tuition to FMCA graduates. FMCA offers a 10% discount on tuition for students entering the program that have graduated from IWHI.
The National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) currently grants CEUs to their members who complete our course.
University of Western States (UWS)
FMCA graduates can enter University of Western States with 4 elective credits.
Graduates from the University of Western States Masters in Human Nutrition and FM receive 10% off the tuition of the FMCA program.
Students with learning challenges are advised to contact their course facilitator so that the appropriate accommodations can be provided.
Course materials will be close captioned in 2017. We currently provide written transcripts of audio recordings.
We accept applicants who possess an Associate degree or higher and are trained in one of the following professions:
- National Assn of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) member
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Registered Dietitian
- Social Worker
- Health/Science Researcher
- Registered Yoga Instructor (200 hours)
- Certified Pilates Instructor
- Certified Personal Trainer
- Massage Therapist
- Occupational Therapist
- Physical Therapist
- Certified Life Coach
If you do not meet these qualifications, you can petition for enrollment. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the qualifications.
The program offered through the Institute for Functional Medicine might better meet your needs. However many practitioners do enroll in FMCA to learn coaching skills.
If you’re unsure about which program is appropriate for you, please email email@example.com
Yes, we encourage you to apply, as great coaches come from diverse career backgrounds and prior life experiences. During the admissions process submit a written petition explaining why you believe that the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy is an appropriate program for you.
Absolutely. We encourage you to foster your personal and professional growth even if you have no desire to become a health coach. You may want to add coaching skills to an existing profession or may not have fully defined your career path yet.
An online application, a copy of your license, certification, or diploma and a $40 non-refundable application fee.
Tuition is due within five business days after you are accepted.
Not at this time.
If you withdraw before the course officially begins, and up to 30 days after the course officially opens, you will receive a full refund, minus the application fee. After 30 days, tuition is non-refundable.
If you notify us by email a minimum of four weeks prior to the official start date, you may defer enrollment six or 12 months. Your tuition will remain the same rate and any payments will be applied to the new term.
Job Opportunities for Health Coaches
Functional Medicine is a growing movement poised to revolutionize healthcare. Increasing numbers of providers are practicing Functional Medicine and major medical centers and insurers are taking notice. The world renowned Cleveland Clinic established a Center for Functional Medicine, which is hiring health coaches to join their collaborative team.
Upon graduation, you may choose to establish a private coaching business, work for a Functional Medicine or conventional medical practice, specialize in corporate wellness or design your own unique career path.
Given the growing demand for wellness coaches and the increasing recognition of Functional Medicine as the premier strategy for treating chronic disease, your Functional Medicine Health Coach training opens many doors. You may choose to establish a private coaching practice, work in a Functional Medicine practice, bring Functional Medicine health coaching to a traditional medical practice, become a corporate wellness coach or advance in your current position.
Because FMCA is approved by the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching (ICHWC), graduating from FMCA allows you to sit for ICHWC’s national exam. The ICHWC leaders believe that national certification will grant additional credibility and employment opportunities in this rapidly growing field.