You can learn a lot from looking at the LinkedIn profiles of wellness industry leaders. Two things you’ll often see on these profiles: wellness certification and a health management degree.
But which degree or wellness certification is best for your career aspirations? We’ll guide you through your top options. But first things first…
How will wellness certification and a degree benefit your career?
If you’re breaking into corporate wellness or want to move your health career forward, having a degree and wellness certification shows employers that you have the knowledge and skills you need to do the job. Specifically, a degree represents your depth of knowledge, whereas wellness certification shows that you are committed to staying up to date on professional wellness trends.
Having both a degree and certification on your resume will make a big difference when you apply for wellness positions.
“Candidates who hold a degree and certification show potential employers their passion for the wellness industry and dedication to the pursuit of lifelong learning,” says Theresa Islo, program manager of the UW Health and Wellness Management (HWM) bachelor’s and master’s programs. “In a competitive job market, certification can set you apart from others and, in an established career, can create a path for advancement.”
Which degree is best for a career in wellness?
For this post, we inspected the LinkedIn profiles of advisory board members for the UW HWM program, all of whom are leading and high-achieving wellness professionals. Some of their job titles and highest degrees earned are listed in the table below.
|Lead consultant||MA in Wellness Management|
|Health and wellness coordinator||BS in Health Promotion and Wellness|
|Wellness program administrator||MA in Lifestyle and Wellness Management|
|Account executive – employee benefits||BAS in Health Promotion and Wellness|
|Health and fitness coordinator/specialist||MS in Human and Community Resources|
|Health and wellness director||BS in Community Health Education|
|Worksite wellbeing strategy and innovation leader||MA in Communication|
|Wellness program manager||BS in Exercise Science: Worksite Health Promotion|
You have a lot of health majors to choose from. But a Health and Wellness Management (HWM) degree—like the one offered online by several University of Wisconsin campuses—is a great fit if you’re aiming for a corporate wellness position.
And here’s why: the curriculum was designed by practicing industry professionals.
The HWM advisory board members guided the creation of the online bachelor’s and master’s degree curricula, ensuring the skills and knowledge taught are directly applicable to real wellness jobs. Explore more about the UW Health and Wellness Management program here.
Which wellness certification is right for you?
Certified Health Coach (CHC)
Some health coaching jobs require certification. For example, HWM master’s graduate Laura Kuglitsch become a Certified Health Coach through the National Society of Health Coaches. Afterwards, she was hired as the senior health coach for Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin.
How can you earn this wellness certification? The CHC credential is awarded after eligible candidates pass an online certification exam. The national society recommends 70 hours of self study of provided materials to prepare for the exam.
By far, the most popular certification among the wellness leaders we looked at was the CHES credential. In fact, a third of our advisory board members listed it on their LinkedIn profiles, including a marketing director and a health and fitness coordinator. Offered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), the CHES credential is designed for wellness professionals in the early stages of their career. It covers the “Seven Areas of Responsibility” that are important for entry-level practice of health education and promotion.
How can you earn this wellness certification? You must pass the CHES exam at a testing center to earn the credential. Eligible candidates for CHES examination must have completed a degree or significant coursework in health education.
NCHEC also offers the MCHES credential designed for professionals with at least five years of experience. This certification demonstrates that a professional is ready for health leadership roles and is competent at making ethical decisions, developing strategic planning, managing budgets, and training staff.
How can you earn this wellness certification? You must pass the MCHES exam at a testing center to earn the credential. Eligible candidates for the MCHES must have completed either five years as a CHES, a health education-focused master’s degree and five years of work experience, or significant coursework in health education and five years of work experience.
You’ll spot the CWP credential on quite a few corporate wellness resumes. We saw it on the LinkedIn profiles of a wellness program administrator, health and wellness coordinator, and employee benefits account executive. Granted by the National Wellness Institute, CWP certification signifies that you have expertise in wellness programming and health promotion and that you are up to date on wellness industry trends.
How can you earn this wellness certification? You are eligible for CWP certification if you have a degree and certain amount of wellness work experience. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in wellness, health education, health promotion, public health, or integrative health, you need supervised wellness hours, an internship, or one year of wellness work experience to apply for certification.
UW HWM graduates, advisory board members, and program manager Theresa Islo have earned the designation of “WELCOA Faculty.” What is it? WELCOA states that the credential “demonstrates exceptional commitment and dedication to pursuing excellence in workplace wellness.” It is for those promoting workplace wellness and addressing a higher level of challenges faced in today’s organizations, including engaging employees in their long-term well-being.
How can you earn this wellness certification? You can earn it by completing 24 hours of training through WELCOA on topics such as healthcare costs, improved productivity, and employee engagement in long-term well-being.
Take the next step
Ready to advance your career in wellness? Explore the UW Health and Wellness Management program, including:
Then contact an enrollment adviser to discuss any questions you have about the program. Call 1-877-895-327 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.