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From Novice Wellness Professional to Health Promotion Specialist: The Benefit of Continued Training

UW Online Collaboratives May 31, 2016
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Just like a client’s personal health, the wellness industry is constantly shifting. As a practitioner, your role within the field can benefit from regular assessments and opportunities for continued development. Certifications and degrees are an excellent way to grow in your wellness management career.

According to the Health Education Specialist Practice Analysis (HESPA), a survey performed by leading wellness industry organizations, the following duties are the core responsibilities of a health promotion specialist:

  • Assessing needs, assets, and capacity for health education
  • Planning and implementing a health education
  • Conducting evaluations and research related to that education
  • Administering and managing the developed education;
  • Serving as a health education resource, including communicating and advocating for the program

Depending on how you prioritize these principals, your wellness practice can focus on hands-on employee interaction or overall program development and implementation.

What type of education will lead to success as a health promotion specialist?

There are numerous options for additional credentials: nationally recognized certifications, targeted training in health coaching or wellness program management, or comprehensive degree-completion programs. What’s the best choice for you?

The answer is, there is no easy answer. It comes down to which area of wellness you feel will best support your career. If your professional goals include success as a wellness practitioner, you’ll want a certification that concentrates on skills such as behavior change management and prevention techniques.  If, on the other hand, your focus is on wellness program management, look for credentials that highlight program benchmarking, increasing employee engagement, and measuring metrics. If you aren’t yet sure which area of wellness management you’d prefer to work in, feel that a solid foundation in each would enhance your career, or haven’t yet completed your bachelor’s degree, opt for a dual-focus degree that provides education in both areas of wellness management.

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Different ways to gain additional wellness credentials

Once you’ve narrowed down your direction, explore different paths for reaching your goal. To build individual skills, there are a variety of trustworthy online sources offering courses and certifications. and are two websites focused on wellness leadership and skills development. If you decide you’d get the most benefit from a health and wellness management program, there are many traditional in-person programs. However, many working adults find that their lives are too busy for these programs; in those cases, the University of Wisconsin Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management program provides the same education in a flexible online format.

As the wellness field expands, roles are becoming increasingly niche. A master’s degree curriculum puts a targeted focus on the more specialized facets of health promotion, such as health systems and policy, wellness law, and global impact on corporate wellness.  Explore the curriculum developed for the UW program to decide if it might benefit your career.

Worksite wellness continues to grow as an industry, with no signs of slowing down. To keep competitive in the field and advance from wellness practitioner to health promotion specialist, you must focus on your own development. By being mindful of your professional goals and precise in your pursuit of continued education, you can promise both your clients and your career a thriving ROI.

Programs: Health and Wellness Management