Health and Wellness Director: Job Description and Requirements
There are two types of health and wellness directors--corporate-centric and community-centric--but each share roughly the same responsibilities. A health and wellness director plans and implements programs that benefit his or her audience's health and well-being. Requirements include formal education, managerial job experience in a related field and a determination to improve existing situations.
Health and Wellness Director Job Description
A job as a health and wellness director consists of managing staff, implementing strategies and having a passion for improving people's safety and well being. There are two types of health and wellness directors: those working for a company and its employees and those working to serve the public.
Corporate Health and Wellness Director
A corporate health and wellness director plans programs for a company's employees. Duties range from arranging and providing healthcare plans and insurance to ensuring the workplace is acceptable and up-to-date with all applicable health codes.
The position requires an enormous amount of delegation and communication both inside and outside of the company. In some instances, this job is regional in nature, but it can extend to a national and even global scale depending on the structure of the company.
According to the description of responsibilities from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (www.bls.gov), directing a health and wellness program might also include offering solutions to employees. For example, directors may arrange health seminars for dealing with stress, smoking or nutrition. In May 2012, the BLS reported that the median annual salary of health educators employed in business, labor and similar organizations was $64,020.
Program Health and Wellness Director
A community program director implements strategies and plans for an audience of public customers, not corporate employees. Knowledgeable in diet, exercise and lifestyle fields, these health and wellness directors understand the needs of the public and target this information when devising plans to better an organization's offerings.
Directing these programs requires a keen business sense and knowledge of effective marketing strategies to ensure the most valuable outcome for the company. Programs may be similar in nature to the ones devised by a corporate health and wellness director; however, the main difference is that they are targeted toward the public, not the company's employees.
According to the BLS, job growth for health educators in non-corporate settings could be as much as 60% in social assistance programs, 36% in state, local and private educational services, and nine percent in government agencies between 2010-2020. The average annual salary for health educators in all settings was $53,100 in May 2012.
Career and Education Requirements
Health and wellness directors must have knowledge of health practices and policies, prior leadership experience (preferably, the implementation of nutrition or athletics programs) and management skills. Undergraduate education in fields such as exercise science, medicine, kinesiology (sports medicine), nutrition and other health studies topics is needed. Additional training or degrees in business, communication and marketing strategy may also benefit a candidate aspiring to attain this high-ranking position.
Building upon the basis of a formal undergraduate education, health and wellness director should acquire anywhere from 5-10 years of work experience and a post-graduate degree in a relevant field. Health and wellness directors must have a sharp understanding of business tactics and bottom lines because their programs may be large, costly and time consuming. Implementing a new strategy takes investment and careful planning, meaning a good candidate would be someone with experience in creating and introducing new plans with attention to detail and functionality.
Additionally, great computer skills, effective communication and the ability to delegate responsibility enhance a candidate's preparation for a career as a health and wellness director. It is necessary that the director understand and utilize spreadsheets to determine the results and processes of new programs for them to be able to pass along this information to their teams of employees and to focus on managing projects, rather than buffing out all of the rough patches and harping on the details. Keeping up-to-date with changing technologies and new theories of health are important to this position as well, because updating existing programs requires a different approach from starting new ones.
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