Wellness specialists work for schools, local governments, companies or other organizations to suggest, support and train people on their health and fitness goals. The types of concerns are as varied as weight and diabetes prevention and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. A specialist often consults with people directly on lifestyle, eating and exercise habits and may direct an individual to a doctor for any serious health concerns.
Training and Education
A wellness specialist often has a degree in a related discipline such as nursing, fitness or sports medicine. There are no specific requirements, but many positions require on-the-job training in addition to certification from accredited wellness organizations such as the International Association of Wellness Professionals.
Wellness specialists research their audience and topics to address specific concerns for that audience. They must be able to communicate well and have a personality that can motivate people to make changes in their lifestyles. Some wellness specialists work in a specific area such as healthy eating habits or stress management techniques. They should be highly knowledgeable in their areas of expertise. A specialist has to be a good orator, able to capture an audience's attention and inspire change.
Duties and Work Life
The main duties of a wellness specialist are to educate the public on how to improve their daily choices, prevent illness or access local resources. The method should be customized to the audience. For example, a wellness specialist working for a company may hold a seminar and make break room posters on preventative care, ergonomic seating, and the importance of exercise to productivity and motivation. Beyond this direct outreach, a wellness specialist may advise employers on the best insurance provider to meet employee needs. When working for the city, a specialist may focus on a larger array of concerns from local outdoor exercise options to diabetes care facilities in the area.
Salary and Job Outlook
With rising health care costs, governments and companies are creating programs to educate the public and employees. These programs are often designed by and implemented by wellness specialists. Because of rising health care costs and the need for programs to reduce costs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the wellness field to grow by 37 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is much faster than average for other careers in the United States. The average salary for a wellness specialist was $53,100 in 2012, according to the BLS.