Wellness Director Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Learn about a wellness director's job description, salary and educational requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a wellness director career.
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The Pros and Cons of Being a Wellness Director

A wellness director works with communities to create programs and develop wellness ideas to promote healthy lifestyles. Listed below are some pros and cons about this career field.

Pros of Being a Wellness Director
A median annual wage of $62,740*
Ability to work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, hospitals and social services outlets in the community**
A bachelor's degree is considered a minimum requirement to work in this field*
From 2012-2022, employment opportunities in this field could increase by 21%*

Cons of Being a Wellness Director
May be frustrating working with clients**
Positions in this field could be limited based on state and government budgets for social service and community needs*
Job applicants may find that a master's degree in public health is more beneficial to have*
As a director, managing budgets can be stressful**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net Online

Career Information

Job Description

If you are a wellness director working in social and community services, one of your key job duties would be to design and create community and social programs that promote health and wellness. You will do this by creating a budget and collecting data and research to back your program ideas. Introducing your programs to the community and staff would also be necessary. Another duty is to be organized and oversee other workers and volunteers. Aside from managing your program budgets, you would also seek out funding for your programs.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2014, social and community service managers earned a median annual wage of about $62,740. The top ten percent in the field earned over $104,000, while the bottom ten percent earned less than $38,000 during that same year.

Career Options in This Field

As a wellness director, you could work for your local government agencies, developing health and wellness programs for social services. You could also work in hospitals, nursing care facilities, family services or rehabilitation services. To work in hospitals or nursing care facilities, you may need state licensing, in addition to a college education. However, many employers seek someone with a college degree and previous social service experience.

Requirements

Education

Many universities offer a Bachelor of Science degree in public health. These programs can prepare you for entry level work in community and social services. For those who want to obtain management and director positions, you may need to consider earning a master's degree in public health. Other bachelor's degrees that some employers will consider are degrees in social work or public administration, but you will need to have experience in health and wellness. The BLS also suggests that while a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, it's recommended that you have previous work experience in the social services field.

Job Postings from Real Employers

In recent April and May 2012 job postings from real employers, it appears that having prior experience in the public health field is necessary and at least a bachelor's degree is required. Other attributes mentioned include being able to work in a team environment, having effective communication skills and supervising experience.

  • An organization in Illinois seeks a wellness director to create programs that will improve assisted living and long term care patients. Key skills and requirements this organization seeks include having a background in fitness or something similar, along with a degree in health education.
  • A senior living center in Virginia seeks a wellness director with a nursing background and license to serve as a wellness director. This candidate must have at least three years of experience in working with the elderly and basic administrative skills.
  • An organization in Wisconsin seeks a wellness director with preferably a master's degree in public health and three to five years of prior experience.

Standing Out

Because you are working in a social services setting, you need to learn how to manage community needs and raise awareness on health and wellness. Master's degree programs may provide you with the leadership, administration and budgeting skills necessary to work in the field. According to the BLS, some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in public health and a master's degree in business administration. Also, taking courses in statistics and program management would be helpful.

Career Alternatives

Becoming a health educator is similar to a career as a wellness director in a social and community services setting. According to the BLS, the median salary is about $48,000, and a bachelor's degree is the minimum education required; however, some employers may require you to have a specialist certification. A health educator focuses less on budgeting and managing departments and more on educating others about health and wellness by developing programs and monitoring progress.

If you want to work in the social services field, but don't want to create or educate others on health and wellness, you can consider becoming a social worker. Social workers can earn a median annual salary of about $54,000, per the BLS in 2011. By working in schools, hospitals or even private practices, you can assist clients who are living with mental illness, behavioral issues or emotional extremes. Generally, while a bachelor's degree can suffice, a master's degree is required for some social work positions, including obtaining a state license.

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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MS in Nursing
  • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
  • AASBA in Health Club Operations

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Trident University

  • Health Sciences (Ph.D.)

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Grand Canyon University

  • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
  • BS in Health Care Administration

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Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

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Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

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Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Public Safety Leadership
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management

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