Enrollments in a new UW online degree in health and wellness management are more than double the expected enrollment since the degree’s launch in spring. University of Wisconsin-Extension attributes this growth to the national spotlight on healthcare.
“With healthcare news dominating the headlines across the U.S., there’s a resulting growth in the health and wellness industry,” said George Kroeninger, assistant dean of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning in UW-Extension. “The average age of students in this bachelor’s degree program is 36. Many have experienced dramatic changes in their own healthcare plans, and their employers are steering them toward better health habits.”
Amanda Day, an employee at Aprilaire in Madison, is currently enrolled in the online health and wellness management degree program. She made a career change as a result of her employer’s health and wellness program.
When she joined Aprilaire as human resources specialist in 2006, one of the first things Amanda did was volunteer for the company’s wellness committee.
“I was encouraging the people I worked with to improve their health, but I weighed nearly 200 pounds,” Amanda said. “Being on the wellness committee made me walk the talk.” So she started packing a workout bag and walking after work.
That was 65 pounds ago. “It took me two years to lose the weight and I’ve kept it off, thanks to the support of my boss and coworkers.” Amanda said. “The encouragement and the focus on health gave me the motivation I needed.”
Amanda expects to put her new knowledge to work on behalf of her colleagues. “The skills I’m learning will give me the ability to help people take the initiative, to get involved with health programs, and gain control of their own well-being,” she said. “My co-workers helped me get healthy. Now I’m helping them.”
UW-La Crosse, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior offer courses in the program, which are fully online. For more information visit http://HWM.wisconsin.edu.
The online Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Management is a degree completion program designed to equip you with the skills necessary to design, develop, implement, and maintain health and wellness programs in the workplace. This degree program will help you learn more about the seven dimensions of wellness and how they affect our lives and well-being.
Companies and agencies nationwide need qualified individuals who can manage and administer health and wellness programs across departments and business units to reduce healthcare costs and improve productivity and employee well-being. According to a 2009 survey by the Integrated Benefits Institute, 68 percent of responding employers who provide any health and productivity initiatives said that they plan to expand these efforts over the next two years. A Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness can be the foundation for a variety of positions including:
- Wellness Manager
- Wellness Program Manager
- Worksite Wellness Coordinator
- Director of Sports, Fitness, and Wellness
Prospective students for healthcare/wellness programs range from insurance professionals, human resources’ administrators, nurses and fitness coaches, to health educators and health promoters. The average salary for a wellness professional is $55,000, according to a 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey.