You might possess a degree in physiology or already have a nursing license, but you don’t necessarily need those backgrounds to become a wellness consultant. Organizations such as the American College of Wellness and American Fitness Professionals and Associates offer wellness certifications for their members. Wellness typically refers to weight management and exercise plans, and you can provide those services to employers and their staff, one-on-one or as part of a fitness facility.
Studies You’ll Cover
The certification process covers a slew of topics you’ll need to be well-versed in to share with your clients. Those studies include weight control and proper nutrition, vitamins, exercise and national dietary guidelines. You’ll learn how to build relationships with clients and how to gently guide them to a healthy lifestyle. You might study specific illnesses and diseases and how nutrition and exercise play a role in their treatment. Additionally, you’ll learn how to help clients set and achieve their weight and exercise goals. Some organizations, such as the American College of Wellness, require a degree in a wellness-related field before awarding certification while others provide training through webinars and online coursework and have no prerequisites for certification.
Services You Can Offer
You won’t be able to give any medical advice unless you have a medical license, but you can make recommendations and guide clients in their quest to get healthy, referring them to licensed specialists when appropriate. Many wellness consultants develop workplace programs that might involve a weight-loss club or lunchtime exercise groups. Wellness consultants could meet with cafeteria cooks to design healthy menus or make recommendations to a company about a fitness facility they want to build on-site. You’ll meet clients in their homes, at their offices or in gyms and fitness facilities.
What Certification Means
Even if you already practice medicine or teach aerobics and other fitness programs, a wellness certification just adds that much more credibility to your image. Clients and employers appreciate the extra effort you put towards your career and your own continuing education. In a growing field of wellness-focused health care options, you will stand out and receive recognition from your peers. When you join one of the certification colleges or organizations, you’ll be one of the first to hear about new course offerings, speakers and conferences, and find a number of networking opportunities to advance your career.
Prospects for Your Future
As health care costs soar, businesses and insurance companies place continued emphasis on wellness programs for their employees and enrollees. The U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, predicts growth in the fitness field to be close to 24 percent at least between 2010 and 2020, with much of the growth coming from workplace incentive programs that target wellness routines. The growing population of baby boomers is another group ripe for wellness programs whether to maintain their vigor as they age or to cope with age-related medical conditions. An emphasis on reducing obesity in young people also factors into the opportunities that are open for certified wellness consultants.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."