So you want to move ahead in your career but don’t know where to start? Look into specialized health and wellness training and certification.
Why get training in this field? Several health and wellness certifications add to the personal brand of fitness professionals and help differentiate them from others in the field.
Here are just a few examples of education/training that can elevate your health and wellness career to the next level.
First-Aid Training:No matter what industry or profession, knowing first-aid basics is a plus. If you work at a health club, spa, or private corporation, your ability to confidently administer first aid, help in an emergency provides you an advantage over those without this qualification.
Personal Trainer Certification:For those interested in helping people meet fitness goals, a personal training certification can help advance your career. The U.S. Labor Department expects the field to increase 13% by 2028. Those certified gain knowledge about human anatomy and how exercise works. They learn how to create exercise programs tailored to a client’s unique goals, needs, and constraints. There are countless programs offering this certification so it’s important to evaluate the one right for you. Is it led by an institution respected in the field? Does it combine science and an array of methodologies? Are there internships or other hands-on career preparation? How long is the program (they range from three months to up to two years). What is the cost? Finally, does the schedule meet your needs?
Nutrition Certification:This type of certification can be applied to a number of jobs and industries, from weight management consulting to sports nutrition, or it can increase marketability as a personal trainer. Some larger corporations hire nutrition experts as a benefit to their staff. Before choosing a program, it’s important to understand the distinction between a certified nutritionist and a nutrition consultant. Certified or clinical nutritionists create diets by considering client’s specific biology: digestive or metabolic issues, immunity, etc. This career path requires a four-year degree or master’s in clinical nutrition and passing a national board exam. Nutrition consultants also must be certified for most jobs, but traditionally, they provide general information about how nutrition can improve client health. They do not create specific diets based on client medical issues, but rather offer general nutrition planning. Certification programs range from about $600-$3,000 and vary in what information they cover (e.g. diet psychology, business development, fitness integration). Average salary for nutrition consultants is just over $60,000 per year.
Stanford Introduction to Food and Health Certificate:This course explores the scientific and sociological issues around food and nutrition. With increases in health problems that are predominantly diet-related — obesity and Type 2 diabetes, for example — it is important to understand root causes and solutions. Focusing on health information, nutrition, food safety, and food science, this course provides tools to determine which foods support good health and which threaten it, all with the goal of living healthier, longer lives. Certification adds value to those pursuing a career in personal fitness and nutrition.
Child Nutrition and Cooking Certificate:This program is similar to the Introduction to Food and Health Certificate, but, in addition to understanding general nutrition and the societal trends that can be a detriment, this course focuses on childhood nutrition — establishing a foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating. Those who earn the certificate will gain skills and knowledge to provide more healthy nutrition plans for children and families.
Designing Your Personal Weight Loss Plan Certificate:Weight loss programs are a highly lucrative industry. But science shows that many popular diet plans are ineffective over the long-term and actually can be dangerous. This five-week course explains how to create a science-based, weight-loss program for healthy adults. It includes developing an exercise plan as well as strategies for successful grocery shopping and dining out, all toward the goal not only of losing weight in a healthy way, but maintaining it over time. Certificate holders gain an understanding of weight loss that can not only be applied to their own lives, but can enrich skills and knowledge as fitness instructors, personal trainers, and other health and wellness careers.
Weight Management:Beyond Balancing Calories Certificate: We all know that weight management is an equation — balance the number of calories consumed with the number burned. But, it’s not always that simple to maintain a healthy weight. Individual metabolisms are factors, and other barriers such as hormones, stress, and lack of sleep can impede healthy weight maintenance. This course investigates the physiology of obesity to prevent and mange weight gain. At the end, students will have a weight management plan they can follow for life. In addition, they’ll gain the tools to hep others to create weight management plans, a valuable skill for those seeking to differentiate themselves in health and wellness professions.