In 2013, leaders of the engineering firm Black & Veatch were sorely disappointed when just one percent of its U.S.-based staff participated in its workplace wellness program. Two years later, in 2015, the company launched new benefits, incentives, and services for the 9,000 professionals and family members eligible for the program—and were delighted with the resulting 60 percent increase in participation.
How did Black & Veatch engineer such a massive increase in interest in its corporate wellness offerings? Such change doesn’t just happen, right? You need to employ strategic health and wellness management perspectives to motivate employees to participate and ensure their continued engagement.
Workplace wellness programs are growing fast in popularity, now covering more than 50 million U.S. employees. These programs are mutually beneficial—employers get reduced medical insurance costs and employees profit from health and fitness initiatives.
But, to truly work well, wellness programs must be managed by professionals with specific skills and training, much of which can be acquired with a Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management. A master's degree in health and wellness management prepares gradutes to enter this growing field, positioning students for wellness-based roles with companies like Black & Veatch, on top of many other opportunities.
Still on the fence? Here are nine more reasons to consider an MS in Health and Wellness Management degree.
1. Programs are flexible (kind of like yoga). Some MS in Health and Wellness Management programs can be completed in as little as nine months, and many can be done entirely online. Mid-career professionals who balancing full-time work with earning their degree will be able to advance their education without missing a beat—or you know, bench press.
2. Health and law/business go together like avocado and toast (or crossfit and paleo?). As with Black & Veach, many corporate businesses need trained management professionals to administer the wellness programs that are offered as perks to their thousands of employees—which is, obviously, no small task. An MS program will also provide insight into the legal and ethical issues in health and wellness, which can open doors to related work in the legal and business fields.
3. Choose your own adventure: public health or community health? An MS in Health and Wellness Management prepares graduates for careers in public health education. With a projected growth rate of16 percent by 2026, the public health job market is expanding much faster than average. Even better? With an MS in Health and Wellness Management, you've got options. If public health education isn't your non-GMO jam, you can also make an impact on others’ lives by becoming a community health worker. Many public and nonprofit organizations and agencies also need help with wellness management and administration. For example, you can help seniors or disabled veterans improve their quality of life.
4. Don't forget private practice (by which we do not mean pilates). Graduate education in wellness management will give you the skills to work one-on-one with members of wellness programs to help them live healthier lifestyles. You can also set up your own private practice advising clients on their personal health and wellness routines—an option that can provide tremendous satisfaction, a flexible schedule, and increased income.
5. Not for nothing: sports or fitness. Sport-lovers, take note. You may want to use your degree to pursue sports medicine, kinesiology, or physical training—working with elite athletes or your favorite teams, or engaging youth in high school or elementary physical education programs.
6. You'll make a comfortable salary. Wellness managers spend their days helping other people, but that doesn’t mean they're paid in hugs. The average salary for wellness program managers is about $55,000 per year, with a range reaching up to $87,000 in total compensation. Other jobs you can find with an MS in Health and Wellness Management may pay even more. For example, a career overseeing clinical trials pays an average of almost $100,000 per year.
7. Career advancement is within easy reach. Many graduates of MS in Health and Wellness Management programs pursue certifications to become a Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coache (NBC-HWC). Much of what you learn in an MS in Health and Wellness Management program will help you prepare for these (and other) certification exams—which in turn will open doors to new career opportunities.
8. You'll be part of the wellness community. Those who work in health and wellness are excited about what they do and dedicated to helping others thrive. As a wellness professional, you’ll join a robust community of health and wellness practitioners, like those through the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) or the International Association of Wellness Professionals.
An MS in Health and Wellness Management is a great choice for anyone interested in the administrative or business side of health and wellness. You can join an enthusiastic community of practitioners, help others lead healthy and thriving lives, and count on excellent job security as the field continues to grow.
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