Types of Health and Wellness Degree Programs

This article offers details about why you would want to earn a degree in health and wellness. It will also talk about the job opportunities that you can enjoy with this exciting degree. You also can find out about online degree options where you can complete your education in health and wellness.

A career in health and wellness can be a good fit for a professional who wants to promote wellness in our society and also earn a good living. A health and wellness professional implements strategies to improve the health of communities and individuals in them. If you want a career in health and wellness or health education, you will do some or all of the following:

  • Assess health needs of the community and the people who live there
  • Develop new programs and events to inform people about health and wellness
  • Educate people on how to manage and improve their current health issues
  • Evaluate how effective current health promotion programs are
  • Help people in the community find vital health services
  • Offer health and wellness training programs for community members and other health professionals
  • Supervise staff who are working on the implementation of health and wellness programs

As a health and wellness professional, you can work in many different settings with largely the same goals of helping people to live healthier lives. Consider these different settings in which you can work:

  • Healthcare facilities: You may work with a single patient or with the family. You will work with the patient and family to teach them about their diagnosis. Some health and wellness experts in this setting can be called a patient navigator; they help patients and families to discover more about their insurance options. They also can lead efforts at the hospital to develop and administer surveys to find out what the major health issues are in the surrounding areas.
  • Colleges: A health and wellness professional may create materials and programs that have a positive effect on young adults. Some of the programs you may work on would include health and wellness campaigns to reduce the use of cigarettes and alcohol. You may train students to educate their peers and supervise how the students deliver health and wellness information to others.
  • Public health departments: You will play a vital role in administering public health campaigns on topics that include emergency preparedness, proper nutrition, immunization and stress management. You will likely develop very important health and wellness materials that are used by other public health officials.
  • Private companies: There is a strong emphasis today on companies reducing their health care costs, so keeping employees healthy is cost efficient.
  • Nonprofit organizations: Create materials and programs about important health issues that the community must face. You will likely help organizations get funding and many other important resources. They can educate policymakers about methods to boost public health and also work on getting grant funds for programs to promote health and wellness.

Employment of health and wellness professionals in the above areas is expected to increase in the next 10 years, with 13% job growth expected by the US government. Due to the high job demand, the median salary in the field has grown to $51,900 as of May 2015.

Note that some employers in this health field may want you to obtain your Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) license. There are a variety of master’s degrees in health and wellness worth your consideration:

Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching

If you are interested in being a coach of health and wellness, we strongly recommend that you think about Maryland University of Integrative Health. According to their website, US News and World Report has said that health and wellness coaches are being hired by companies and health insurers because they are a cost effective way to control health care costs.

After you graduate from this MA program, you will have the skills to fill the demand for health and wellness coaches, and will be able to help others create sustainable change. Some of the career opportunities available to graduates of this program in the past have been:

  • Coaching in private and group practices
  • Corporate health and wellness professional
  • Health and wellness coach at medical centers and fitness centers
  • Faculty at a college or university
  • Health research manager

This program has 30 credit hours that will provide you with advanced health and wellness skills to either build a profitable coaching practice, or to work in an organization to help others improve their fitness. Some of the highlights of this program include:

  • Highly experienced and expert instructors with years of experience in health and wellness
  • Up to date curriculum that includes motivational interviewing; Prochaska’s change model; positive psychology; the theory of immunity to change; brain science; skills in building a health and wellness practice.
  • Concentration options include integrative health practices; nutrition; herbal studies and medical herbalism.
  • Applied practice: You will work individually with clients under supervision of instructors to build your competencies as a coach.
  • The program can be taken either in person or online, or a hybrid approach.

Master’s in Physical Activity, Fitness and Wellness

This is an excellent program that is offered online by Indiana University that focuses on the importance of physical activity and wellness leadership, as well as engagement in the community. This program has a special emphasis on best practice outcomes for physical activity and fitness for healthy lifestyles.

The two year content of the degree program is on administration, evaluation and utilization of fitness and wellness settings. To complete this degree, you need to have 250 hours of practical health and wellness experience.

Some past graduates of this program have been employed in the following places:

  • US Navy
  • State Department Wellness Director
  • WebMD coaches
  • Health club managers and owners
  • Health and wellness managers at corporations

Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management

This program at the University of Wisconsin offers an online master of science that will help you to master techniques that will improve the culture of organizations and support healthy choices of lifestyle. This will allow employees in the organization in which you work to have a high level of well being as well as a proper work life balance.

Courses are taught by a highly distinguished faculty from across the entire system of the University. The entire program is online, so you can complete your courses and homework wherever you are and have an Internet connection.

To be eligible for this program, you do need to have a bachelor’s degree and have at least a 3.0 GPA. You also will need to have these classes at the bachelor’s level:

  • Personal health
  • Anatomy/physiology or biology
  • Psychology
  • Statistics

Your coursework includes:

  • Contemporary Health and Wellness Perspectives
  • Strategic Management for Wellness Managers
  • Research Methods for Wellness Programs
  • Exercise and Nutrition in Health and Disease
  • Wellness Law
  • Behavior and Development in Organizations
  • Best Practices and Emerging Issues in Wellness
  • Capstone

The health and wellness field is ripe for expansion and growth in the coming years because there is so much effort at the federal and state level to limit health care costs. There also is great pressure on private companies to limit health care costs. It makes a lot of sense for companies to put resources into keeping employees healthy, so you should see good job growth in this field.

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Written by Robert Sanchez
Robert Sanchez is HealthGrad.com's Chief Editorialist. Robert Sanchez has over 10 years experience in the Healthcare field and more recently has become an avid writer advising on career and job topics in this exciting field.

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