A wellness director plays a vital role in improving people’s well-being in corporate business environments, as well as public community centers. A wellness director is responsible for a variety of projects designed to improve health and wellness in corporate or community environments. When working in a corporate environment, a health and wellness director will be responsible for making sure employees have access to insurance and healthcare plans.
The director must also make sure the workplace currently follows all current health codes and provides an appropriate environment in which to work. Further, health and wellness directors may arrange meetings and presentations designed to teach employees healthy habits. For example, a director may arrange for a seminar designed to teach employees how to quit smoking or how to begin an exercise program. A community center director will also arrange meetings designed to help people learn about a variety of health topics like exercise, eating, and healthy lifestyles.
The environment in which a health and wellness director chooses to work will influence his or her likely salary. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests those who work in hospitals may see a median annual wage of $60,360 while those working for the government may earn $50,580. Those in the private sector could expect a salary ranging from $36,500 to $46,470.
According to further BLS data, the low end of the scale regarding earnings was $27,730. A new employee without significant work experience could expect to start at a salary around this amount.
A dynamic position, a wellness director must assess the population he or she is responsible for and figure out the best programs and events to offer them that will improve their health and wellness. The position may require teaching people how to deal with current health problems and helping people find health programs that may help improve the employee’s health. In addition, the director must evaluate whether programs are successful and improve or change them when necessary. A director will also supervise his or her staff as they implement various health education seminars so as to maintain high success of company programs.
The skills required by a wellness director vary and include knowledge of standard health practices, as well as how to manage and lead a team. Leadership experience of nutrition or athletic programs is helpful, so an undergraduate degree in something like nutrition or sports medicine is helpful. A wellness director must have good analytical skills to make sure programs are successful and the ability to create a fiscally responsible strategy for implementing those programs. Further, a wellness director must possess good interpersonal skills that will allow him or her to lead the team, as well as computer skills used for tracking effectiveness of programs.
Degree and Education Requirements
As with any job that requires management of a team, a wellness director may benefit from training in business and management, after earning an undergraduate degree in a health area. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) may provide value on a resume, as well as training in areas like marketing strategy and communication. A wellness director must have expert knowledge of health and wellness, as well as the capability to work in management, which means an advanced degree is essential.
Rewards and Challenges of Wellness Directors
A wellness director is responsible for improving the health and wellness of the employees where he or she works or the participants at a community center. As such, one of the most rewarding aspects of the job is overseeing successful health and wellness programs that make a positive difference in people’s lives. In addition, managing a team of employees who help implement health and wellness programs can feel rewarding to wellness directors who enjoy management and leadership.
One of the challenges that wellness directors will face is ensuring that programs are successful while also staying within the budget given to the director for those programs. Implementation of some programs is costly, and a failed program can make it difficult to implement different or new programs down the line. The financial responsibilities of the position is why a degree in business is so valuable. Wellness directors must be willing to analyze programs carefully and completely before they are implemented.
Getting started as a wellness director means embarking on several years of college, as well as time spent in a subordinate position on a director’s team. High school students interested in becoming a wellness director will want to choose a health care related position for undergraduate school. Taking extra classes before entering college may help. Health, biology, and science courses are valuable investments of time during high school. A minor in business may also improve a student’s future prospects.
After completing an undergraduate degree, a student should look into graduate degrees in areas like business or management. An advanced degree in a health are like nutrition or exercise science may also offer an appropriate education for the position. However, classes in business, finance, and management are important for ensuring a wellness director can provide valuable health programs to employees while remaining within budget guidelines set for those programs.
Health-oriented professions are enjoying popularity in growth of available positions, and wellness directors are no exception. According to a recent article from The Atlantic, the United States health care sector grew at an astonishing ten times the rate of other jobs in the economy from 2003 to 2013. In fact, health care has been on an upward trajectory since the 1990s even as other American jobs have declined with the move of many jobs to offshore locations.
The job outlook numbers from the BLS suggest around 99,400 were employed in the industry in 2012. That number is expected to increase by 21% during the period of 2012 to 2022. That means growth of around 21,400 positions may occur over the next several years. Graduates seeking work as wellness directors may inquire with corporations that need such departments, as well as health care facilities like hospitals, community centers, and local government departments.
Students with an interest in improving the health of their co-workers, as well as an interest in leading others in a position of management will thrive in the position of wellness director. The position requires that the director take on important responsibilities regarding the health of co-workers, and the results of health and wellness programs can offer a very rewarding experience.