Corporations and organizations are quickly recognizing the importance of their employee wellness programs. By affording exercise options and providing health information for their employees, businesses are cutting down healthcare and insurance costs. Because of this movement towards healthier lifestyles, employers are looking for ways to expand their programs and searching for corporate wellness directors.
Corporate wellness directors have a background in wellness and health related subjects. Some corporations directly hire employees to organize their wellness programs, but many outsource their programming to agencies with the required expertise.
This means jobs for corporate wellness professionals may be found within a specific company or in working with a vendor providing multiple businesses with healthy programs.Unlike trainers at a gym, health programs and opportunities in the corporate world are seen as employee benefits and treated with importance and value. Clients don’t pay directly for sessions and then never show—they treat programs as real investments in themselves.
Employers see programs as investments in their companies and their human capital. This means the focus is on health and wellness, not appearance and trend.
Requirements and Education
Most corporate wellness directors have a degree in personal fitness, nutrition or a related health field. In-depth knowledge will be required for this field. Understanding appropriate exercise programs, diet plans, strength training, and other important factors of corporate wellness is essential. These facets of knowledge may be discovered through biology classes and exercise science classes in college coursework.
Certification is not necessary, but is becoming increasingly more common as the idea of a corporate wellness director has become popular. Certification provides extra education and Continued education is expected to keep up-to-date with important changes in the industry.
Job Salary and Outlook
Health educators made an average of $45,830 per year in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Because of the new nature of this job, an accurate picture of average salary is not fully recorded, but it is safe to say that corporate wellness professionals make numbers close to this amount.
Recorded by the BLS as a specific field in health educators, health educators working for Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations made a average salary of $64,020 in 2012.
This is an up-and-coming job field, and should see a steady growth in the future as employers and insurance companies desire to see their employees stay healthy and cost them less in overall wellness expenses.
Health educators as a whole are projected to see a 37 percent growth from 2010-2020, according to the BLS—a number much higher than average growth in other industries. The importance of cutting healthcare costs is pushing employers to seek alternative programming options.
Tips for Becoming a Corporate Wellness Director:
- Focus on proper education and training. There are no shortcuts. Without the proper training, clients won’t trust you to make health decisions for themselves or their employees.
- Practice what you preach. It may go without saying, but if you aren’t already doing a great health program yourself, with a great result, then you will have difficulty being hired to create one for the corporate employees.
- Love being healthy and teaching others to do the same. Staying motivated and excited is the way to sell corporations on what it is that you do. As a corporate wellness director you need to be confident and sure of the difference and value you can provide.
- Network for job opportunities. By meeting new people and staying connected in the corporate world, you are much more likely to find a job. Expand your web of friends while in classes or at a fitness center. Always stay professional in these settings, since you never know who you might meet!
Sources: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Community-and-Social-Service/Health-educators.htm, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211091.htm, http://www.ehow.com/how_6130297_become-wellness-coordinator.html, http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/how-to-become-corporate-fitness-professional, http://wellnessassociation.com/certified-corporate-wellness-specialist/