As you embark on your new career path as a health coach, making sure that your business remains in compliance with Florida health coach laws will be essential. Failure to do so could be devastating for your new business and put you at risk of penalties.
However, these laws can often be complex. Our health coach attorneys at Wellness Law, LLC, are here to help you understand how these laws could affect your business and clients and ensure your health coach business is following these laws.
With that in mind, here is a brief introduction to Florida’s health coach laws so you can set your new business up for success.
Do You Need a License to Be a Health Coach in Florida?
Although there are many professions that require licensure or certification, the state of Florida does not require health and wellness coaches to obtain such certifications. However, that does not mean that you should not obtain a private certification if you are going into the health and wellness industry.
In fact, having your certifications through the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaches can help your clients feel confident in your health and wellness services. With that being said, there are some laws in place throughout the state of Florida that could have an impact on your health coaching and the services your business offers. Here is more:
Coaching Someone With Existing Medical Conditions
First, if you are going to be working with clients who have existing diseases or medical conditions, it is important to secure a thorough medical history and the contact information for any previous healthcare providers or practitioners they are currently seeing or receiving treatment from.
If your potential client is currently under the direct care of a physician for their medical condition, and this healthcare provider has prescribed nutrition intervention, health coaches and holistic health practitioners are not legally allowed to work with this potential client. However, recent changes to the Florida health laws now give health coaches the opportunity to treat clients who are seeking help for weight loss and obesity.
Recent Changes to Health Coach Laws in Florida
Florida has new nutrition laws in place that allow health coaches who are not registered as licensed nutritionists or registered dietitians to offer their services. Back in 2020, holistic health and wellness professionals were approved to offer nutrition coaching services to clients as long as those clients were dealing with obesity or seeking help for weight loss.
Should You Include Nutrition and Dietetics in Your Health Coach Services?
Just because you are allowed to offer dietetics and nutrition counseling as part of your health coaching business does not mean it is something you should go into lightly. The Florida Dietetics Practice and Nutrition Act (DNPA) requires anyone offering these services to have a state-issued license as a registered dietitian.
However, under section 468.505(n) F.S., unlicensed health coaches and holistic health practitioners now have some leeway. It is important to consider the type of nutritional advice, recommendations, diet, and guidance you are hoping to offer to your prospective clients when deciding whether you should include dietetics and nutrition as part of your health coaching service options.
Be Careful With Occupational Titles
Unless you have your registered dietitian or a nutritionist license, you should never describe your health coaches as nutritionists. That does not mean you cannot offer nutrition counseling services, but rather you cannot refer to yourself or your staff as “nutritionists”.
What Happens If You Are In Violation of Florida Health Coaching Laws?
Anyone found in violation of state licensing laws or health coaching laws can face considerable penalties. Not only could you be issued a cease and desist notice, but you could also be fined up to $5000 for each day that you continue to offer services you have been prohibited from offering.
In worst case scenarios, under Fla Stat. § 456.065, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for attempting to practice or offering services without a license. If convicted, you could spend up to 30 days in prison and be fined $500.
This could be increased to a third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances of your case. If convicted at this level, you could spend up to a year in prison and be fined $1,000.
How to Remain in Compliance With Health Coach Laws in Florida
If you are hoping to remain in compliance with Florida’s health coach and nutrition laws, here are some of the dos and don’ts:
- Don’t offer mental health, diet, or exercise advice unless you are license to do so or meet the exceptions under new Florida nutrition laws
- Don’t practice your health coaching business outside the scope of your training or education
- Don’t misrepresent your qualifications
- Don’t claim your services or programs will cheer or treat a client’s condition unless there is legitimate evidence to support your claims
- Educate your clients about healthy life choices
- Obtain liability insurance for your business
- Establish a separate legal entity for your health coach business
- Follow the codes of conduct as outlined by the state health coach certification board
- Refer your clients to licensed professionals when necessary
- Provide your clients with the emotional support they need to make educated decisions about their health
- Continue your health coach education to maintain competency
Set Your Health Coaching Practice Up for Success Today
Embarking on your career as a health coach is one of the most exciting times of your life. However, you must set your business up for success by ensuring you are in compliance with Florida health coaching laws.
This is just a brief introduction to the state’s rules and regulations regarding health coaching. To make sure your business remains in compliance, be sure to contact our experienced health coach lawyers at Wellness Law, LLC. Fill out our quick contact form or call us at (608) 579-1267 to schedule your free 15-minute consultation.
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