How to Become a Wellness Consultant

What Does a Wellness Consultant Do?

Wellness consultants, sometimes known as health educators, assist individuals by offering advice about appropriate meal plans, healthy diets, the benefits of regular exercise and strategies to deal with stress. There is a mounting focus on preventive medicine and the role of diet, exercise and stress reduction in maintaining personal wellness. Wellness consultants may offer advice on all areas of health and wellness, or they may specialize in a particular area like nutrition, exercise or stress management. Others offer advice on setting goals and lifestyle issues. Weight and disease management, smoking and fitness for new mothers are also fields that wellness consultants may tackle.

What is a Corporate Wellness Consultant?

Corporate wellness consultants are in charge of developing and implementing employee wellness programs at large businesses. The focus is on getting employees to exercise, eat right, seek medical and psychological care when needed, and other preventative measures to ensure employees are happy and healthy.

Wellness consultants provide a variety of services as part of their position. They might offer nutritional counseling that helps employees choose healthier eating options when they break for lunch. Fitness programs, such as those offered after the workday is done, are often designed and implemented by wellness consultants as well. Providing stress management programs is another primary duty common to work as a wellness consultant. Many wellness consultants perform their jobs in this manner, working in a variety of areas. Other wellness consultants specialize in one area and provide services to a specific group of employees, such as those that have diabetes or those who are over the age of 60.

Some corporations will hire wellness consultants to provide individual or small group counseling as well. Often, wellness consultants will also provide large-scale educational programming. For example, a wellness consultant might offer a seminar to a company’s entire workforce on exercises employees can do at their desk or in their office to prevent muscle fatigue.

Where Does a Wellness Consultant Work?

Corporations hire wellness consultants to provide health education for their employees through individual counseling sessions and educational programs. Wellness consultants may then refer individuals for counseling through the company’s Employee Assistance Program or EAP. Some wellness consultants represent hospitals at special events or work with non-profit organizations. Local schools also benefit from a health promotion program implemented by a wellness consultant. Wellness consultants who specialize in fitness sometimes work in a fitness center where they provide assessments and training. Upon certification, the wellness consultant can offer recommendations for changes in lifestyle and nutrition. While most wellness consultants work full time for a corporation, fitness center, organization or school, some wellness consultants have their own private practice.

Why Do We Need Wellness Consultants?

Wellness consultants are necessary in that they provide a critical service to workplaces and individuals. They have the capacity to foster a nurturing office environment that understands mental health issues, and that takes their impact seriously. When we feel cared for in our workplace, we stand to work more productively. Wellness consultants take a holistic approach to improve circumstances for businesses and for individual clients.

We live in an era in which an increasing number of individuals take medical leave in order to address their own mental health concerns, and society has yet to catch up. Many workplaces do not consider the mental and emotional concerns of their employees to be a serious issue. For example, depression is commonly framed as a weakness. When wellness consultants are brought in, they serve to reframe the importance of workers’ mental health, thus promoting a supportive and emotionally healthy work environment.

Wellness consultants are also equipped to provide life coaching for groups and individuals, and this is crucial in that not everyone possesses the tools to navigate life’s rough waters on their own. Having a professional on hand to guide us through the more torrential times in our lives can be tremendously beneficial.

Looking at wellness from a holistic perspective means that we look beyond our physical wellness needs. Working in a supportive environment with a team that looks out for its members can indeed make all the difference. Wellness consultants provide crucial services that benefit employees and workplaces, which helps businesses overall.

What are the Requirements to Become a Wellness Consultant?

Education

Educational requirements for a wellness consultant vary. Some wellness consultant positions require a college degree, and others just require a background in healthcare, diet and nutritional training. Wellness consultants who work for a large company or a healthcare agency generally have a college degree in a health related field like nutrition or sports medicine. Lifestyle coaches with their own company benefit from a business background as well as education, training and experience in a health-related field.

Kaplan University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Wellness designed to enable participants to pursue a wellness career as a corporate wellness consultant, stress management facilitator, corporate wellness consultant, health and wellness educator, vitamin and herb education consultant or fitness center education specialist. The 180-hour degree program emphasizes concepts including trends in nutrition, exercise, health psychology, stress management and alternative medicine. Students learn ethical practices along with legal and professional standards. There is also an emphasis on multicultural issues. The University of Wisconsin offers a Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Management that enables the graduate to secure a position as a wellness manager, worksite wellness coordinator or director of sports, fitness and wellness.

Certification

Healthcare professionals can obtain wellness certification to offer specialized advice to patients. The American College of Wellness offers a Certified Wellness Consultant (CWC) program that emphasizes wellness education as opposed to wellness practice. The program is designed for candidates with significant experience in providing health related education to patients, students or community members. Participants who have achieved 150 professional experience points in a health and wellness area based on college admission criteria are eligible for the program. A Certified Wellness Specialist (CWS) program is also offered. This program requires 250 points for experience in promoting health and wellness.

College and Online Programs

Colleges and universities also offer wellness programs for certification in areas including nutrition and natural health. These programs may not require a background in a health field, and coursework may be available online. Students with a high school diploma can look into programs like the distance learning program offered by Life Dynamix. This Certified Wellness Specialist program admits applicants who pass a comprehensive exam and demonstrate wellness knowledge during a phone interview.

Skills and Qualities

A wellness consultant should have a background in a health field and have the ability to motivate people.  Effective communication and a pleasant personality can help to encourage individuals to enjoy healthy living by making healthy lifestyle, nutrition and exercise choices. Sensitivity to the concerns of others and the ability to inspire trust and maintain relationships are also important traits.

What is the Salary for a Wellness Consultant?

According to Simply Hired, the average wellness consultant salary is $47,000 (May 2015 data), although salaries can vary widely based on experience, location, industry and the company you work for.

What is the Job Outlook for Wellness Consultants?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the job outlook for health educators with a bachelor’s degree is much faster than average for all other occupations. Health educators are expected to increase 37 percent from 2010 to 2020.

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