» Certified Wellness Coaches


Certified Wellness Coaches

About this Workstream

The Certified Wellness Coach is a new profession that is helping increase our state’s overall capacity to support the behavioral health and well-being of California’s children and youth in a wide variety of settings, such as schools, community-based organizations and health providers. 

The profession is intended to support the development of a larger, more representative behavioral health workforce, providing young people with increased support from people who they can connect with, who speak their language, understand their communities, and work in places that are convenient to youth. Through wellness promotion, screening, and crisis referral, Certified Wellness Coaches help make behavioral health support more inclusive and readily available to youth, bridging the crucial gap between need and accessibility.

Managed by

  • HCAI

Strategic Area

Workforce Training and Capacity


$338.25 million



Workstream Goals

Build a workforce with knowledge of prevention and early intervention supports and services that can support the behavioral health needs of California children and youth.

Help create a more diverse and representative behavioral health workforce. 

Serve as a new, certified role for undergraduate degree holders keen on addressing young people’s behavioral health needs, filling a crucial workforce gap between certificate-level positions requiring postgraduate-level clinical degrees, such as a Masters in Social Work.

Key Achievements

Created and published the framework for the new certified position to increase our state’s overall capacity and grow a larger and more diverse behavioral health workforce.

Completed a year-long stakeholder engagement process, including interviews with more than 50 state government partners, industry leaders and experts from existing behavioral health programs nationwide, and six months of workgroups, including members of the health care workforce, training providers, education workforce, parents and youth.

Made key connections within the public education system, including school districts, county offices of education, and education-affiliated community-based organizations to discuss pipeline opportunities and develop plans for integration of Certified Wellness Coaches into the workforce.

Development of HCAI-Designated Education Programs underway at several California Community Colleges and California State Universities, with more being added on a rolling basis.

Launched an extensive statewide Certified Wellness Coach marketing and outreach campaign in California’s diverse communities, to highlight opportunities and resources for potential employers, prospective applicants, parents and youth, and the general public.

Created a new website and community narrative video featuring key stakeholders articulating the necessity of Certified Wellness Coaches, their potential role, and the value they bring in supporting youth well-being and mental health.

Secured vendor to build out statewide certification platform.

Developing Certified Wellness Coach Employer Support Grant program to provide resources to organizations to integrate Certified Wellness Coaches into their teams and enhance services for children and youth, to be launched January 2024.

Plans to have Certified Wellness Coaches added to the multi-payer fee schedule in early 2025 which will allow for reimbursement of services through Medi-Cal and commercial insurance in school-linked and school-based settings.



Establishment of reimbursement of Wellness Coach role through Medi-Cal.

Fall 2024

Launch of HCAI Designated Education Programs for New prospective Wellness Coaches.

Spring 2024

  • Open first scholarship applications for Wellness Coach students entering or attending California Community Colleges or California Universities.
  • Announcement of employer support grant awardees.

Early 2024

  • Launch of certification portal for pre-qualified applicants.
  • Launch of employer support grant funding.

Fall 2023

Launched the Wellness Coach statewide marketing campaign.

November 2022

The title officially changed to Wellness Coach based on engagement with professional partners, youth and families.

September 2022

Released Wellness Coach model guidance.