We all are seeking to become better in certain areas of our lives. Hence, we are always seeking ways to improve the quality of our life. One of the ways many people employ to achieve this goal is to engage the services of a wellness counselor.    

These professionals also called health educators provide several services with the sole purpose of encouraging general wellness and wholesomeness. Wellness counselors create treatment programs used to inspire their clients in a bid to change the negative health lifestyles into positive ones. You can visit Tampa Counseling & Wellness to know more about the kinds of services you can get when you engage a wellness counselor. 

You can find these counselors as full-time staff in hospitals, physician offices, social service agencies, educational institutions, and educational institutions. They are true professionals in the sense that they require education and sometimes certification before they can practice.  

To ensure that you get the full 411, we will be discussing in this article all you need to know about wellness counselors. This way, if you were thinking of how to become one, you will be well-informed at the end of the article. 

Why are Wellness Counselors Needed? 

The duty of these professionals is to educate their clients with the aim of helping them attain optimum health. They also provide support for individuals that have health challenges through motivation so that they can adopt a healthy lifestyle.  

Furthermore, folks who are in recovery from illnesses, those who were injured in an accident or sports, or those suffering from repetitive use can benefit from the service and support of a wellness counselor. These health practitioners are qualified to suggest other non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical treatment regimes that will stop the development of health problems.  

New mothers who require a suitable fitness program or individuals who are trying to quit smoking can take advantage of the services of a counselor. 

One role wellness counselors play is to educate their clients by talking about the function of diet, stress reduction, exercise in personal wellness maintenance. They also carry out an assessment of each individual and aid them in behavior choices that improve personal wellness.  

Some of the issues they deal with include the benefits of regular exercise, weight management, correct meal planning, and dietary supplements usage. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/index.html to learn more about healthy weight management.  

They also give guidance for stress reduction as well as spiritual wholesomeness. Hence, it isn’t strange for these health advisors to recommend you go for yoga or practice meditation. Another thing you can expect from these professionals is that they assist individuals with chronic health issues cope and deal with such issues effectively.  

Wellness counselors are responsible for designed personalized wellness programs. They also carry out regular evaluations to make sure that the program is effective and working as expected. 

What Requirements are needed for one to become a Wellness Counselor? 

Education 

If you desire to become a health educator, then you will have to get a bachelor’s degree in any of the following: 

  • Health education  
  • Anatomy 
  • Physical education 
  • Biology 
  • Or any related field 

Apart from having a degree in any of the above, you have to take some courses as part of your training. The courses are: 

  • Physical education 
  • Human development  
  • Health education  
  • Psychology  
  • Sports medicine  

After going through these courses, you will then go for a clinical internship that is fully supervised. It is after the internship that you graduate and are then allowed to practice.  

While these are the basic educational requirements, certain employers prefer to work with master’s degree holders in any of the following: 

  • School health education 
  • Health marketing 
  • Community health education  
  • Public health education 

Certification  

Although you don’t need any form of certification to practice, some employers may only hire individuals that possess certain certifications. For example, you can get certified by the National Commission for Health Credentialing. All you need to do is to pass the exam that focuses on the elementary duties of wellness counseling.  

To be eligible for the exam, you must have a bachelor’s degree in any of the fields we listed above. Sometimes, if you have just 12 weeks before bagging your bachelor’s degree, you can be allowed to take the exam. 

The certification requires maintenance which involves you completing continuing education for about 70 hours once in three to five years.  

 

Job Duties 

A health educator is required to advise their clients who are trying to manage chronic health issues or those that had an illness or injury. They also support those that want the prevention of health issues before they take place. For instance, a person who is thinking of going mountain climbing for the first time can consult with this professional to see if such an idea is good, and how it will affect their health. So, the primary duty of health educators is to guide people on making healthy decisions.  

Other duties they perform include: 

  • Evaluating client’s personal needs 
  • Designing routines and programs that will educate clients on several wellbeing-related topics 
  • Handing out health-related pamphlets, posters, or other such materials to individuals within the community  
  • Provision of resources for clients 
  • Assessing the effectiveness of designed programs 
  • Employee management of those responsible for educating others about health programs   
  • Supporting more effective health resources  
  • Collection and analysis of program data 

Qualities and Skills Required 

As we have mentioned already, you need a bachelor’s degree in the health field alongside coursework in different areas. Apart from the above, you still need certain qualities that will help you in motivating your client to achieve optimum wellness.  

Knowledge is one vital skill/quality you must possess. What should you be knowledgeable about? Well, here are a few areas you should have sufficient knowledge about: 

  • Exercise and its benefits 
  • Nutrition and diet 
  • Stress management techniques  
  • Smoking cessation programs 
  • Weight management  
  • Non-invasive substitute medical techniques such as kinesiology, deep tissue laser therapy, massage therapy, physical therapy, and chiropractic care. Click here to learn more about chiropractic care. 

Since the clients of these professionals include individuals who have just overcome an injury or illness, the ability of the health educator to correctly evaluate and assess the exercise programs and regimens of these clients is of utmost importance. The counselor should be able to effectively determine if a regime or program is beneficial to their clients. 

Understanding a wide range of illnesses is also a skill/quality the wellness counselor must master. With such an understanding, they will be able to effectively educate patients with chronic problems on how to manage the problems. 

Another skill set that is required is instructional and interpersonal skills. Since their job involves giving instructions, they must be able to do so in such a manner that their audience completely understands the instruction given. Furthermore, it helps them to relate with patients and families when discussing matters.  

They must be proficient at inspiring trust in their clients if they are ever going to influence, motivate and encourage their patients to choose healthy living instead of living life as they please irrespective of the consequences.  

Salary 

While money is not everything, it certainly gets the bills paid. Therefore, having an idea of how much these health practitioners get paid is very important if you are considering a walk down this career path. 

From the data gotten from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is possible to earn around $46,000 per annum. Folks that fall in what is called the lower 10% earn $26,000 per annum, while those that fall in what is called the upper 10% can earn above $82,000 per annum. 

Wellness counselors who work at hospitals can earn up to $59,000 per annum and in the event, you end up working for a government agency, your pay at the end of the year could be up to $49,000. 

Ambulatory services agency counselors can get up to $41,000 per annum, while those who work for religious organizations could earn about $40,000 yearly. Social service agency workers will make about $39,000 in a year.  

Depending on your employer, you could get paid extra when you work at night, weekends, or overtime. 

Conclusion 

The demand for wellness counselors is on the rise with thousands of these professionals operating across America. The projection for continuous increase in this career is evident with the need to deal with issues the Covid-19 pandemic has brought.  

Therefore, the article has placed the spotlight on this profession with all the information anyone interesting in becoming a wellness counselor should know.