This article talks about master’s degree programs in wellness management and their educational requirements, coursework, career options, and certification and continuing education options.
Master’s Degree Programs in Wellness Management
Master’s degrees in wellness management are relatively new degree programs offered by schools; the curricula combine the scientific study of the body and its functioning with business management, along with a few aspects of teaching. Coursework involves the exploration of the importance of nutrition and exercise and ways of delivering that message to other individuals. Students also learn about how to design a wellness program for relatively big groups of individuals, and ways of leading the program. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an undergraduate degree, which at times may be expected to include prior coursework in a healthcare area.
This degree program is available at most schools as a Master of Science (M.S.). At some schools, students are offered an option of a Master of Arts (M.A.), whose emphasis may primarily be on leadership and business aspects. A research project or a thesis may have to be completed, and an internship may be a compulsory requirement where students are allowed to gain hands-on experience in the field.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an undergraduate degree in any major of their choosing. Students without prior coursework in a health-related field may have to complete prerequisite graduate courses in allied health. Admission requirements may also include the submission of MCAT or GRE scores and meeting of a grade point average standard in undergraduate coursework.
All aspects of wellness, specifically nutrition and exercise, are typically covered in the program coursework. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:
•Impact of Technology
•Media on Wellness
•Nutrition for Good Health
•Assessing Health in Individuals
Graduates may seek careers that may involve working on wellness initiatives in corporations; alternatively, they may seek management roles in fitness centers, or conduct outreach programs for public health departments, among other choices. A company, a public health department, or a local hospital may hire a health educator.
Job and Wage Outlook
Health educators are expected to see a faster-than-average job growth of 16% over the 2016-2026 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics); the growth is due to the increasing cost of health insurance. In May 2016, a health educator brought in an average annual wage of $45,360. Many health educators hold bachelor’s degrees; an advanced degree can enable an individual to seek career advancement.
Medical and health service managers are expected to have earned a master’s degree; their job involves overseeing outpatient care centers, nursing facilities, or doctors’ offices (BLS). In May 2016, medical and health services managers brought in an average annual wage of $98,350. Over the 2016-2026 decade, these managers are expected to see a faster-than-average job growth of 20% (BLS).
Certification and Continuing Education Options
A heavy exercise component incorporated in some programs helps train enrolled students for certification exams to seek careers as trainers of individuals or groups. Some program graduates may choose to continue their education via a doctoral program in health promotion, wellness, or a related area that could lead to careers in research.
Prospective health educators would benefit from earning a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential offered by the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing Inc.