For those who are highly interested in pursuing a career in the health and fitness field, you might want to consider becoming a health fitness specialist. With the increasing focus on preventative care, many hospitals, gyms, fitness centers and doctors’ offices are utilizing health fitness specialists to help people become healthier and more physically active. Here is a comprehensive overview of how to land a job in this lucrative and exciting industry.
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What Does a Health Fitness Specialist Do?
Health fitness specialists are often certified personal trainers, instructors and coaches who design and implement personalized exercise and fitness plans for individuals looking to improve their overall fitness levels and physical conditioning. They will perform a battery of tests to measure their clients’ aerobic capacity, strength, flexibility and mobility and subsequently offer a personalized exercise regimen that will help clients improve their physical fitness levels. Health fitness specialists are often seen at wellness screenings, events and other types of settings where individuals usually are encouraged to conduct wellness screens and other types of preventive health tests to take advantage of insurance discounts and programs.
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In order to become a health fitness specialist, you will need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology, nutrition, dietetics, kinesiology or human kinetics, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Individuals will have take a number of courses related to biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology and nutrition. Depending on your degree track, you will then take a number of courses related to your major. During college, individuals are encouraged to obtain a number of certifications related to becoming a personal trainer as well as a certified health fitness specialist.
Health fitness specialists are usually hired by insurance companies, corporate health centers, gyms, hospitals and doctors’ offices. Most, if not all of these places, will require these individuals to hold a number of credentials. It will be pretty difficult to obtain a health fitness specialist position within a hospital or a doctor’s office without holding some sort of certification along with having at least a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Salaries for this field will vary and will also be based on a number of factors such as geographic location, years of experience, credentials, type of employer, etc. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health fitness specialists on average make around $45,000 a year. For those who end up working for hospitals and large-scale doctors’ offices, salaries can start off as high as $55,000 to $60,000 a year. Obviously salaries will be much higher in larger cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Also, for those with master’s degrees and other forms of advanced certifications, salaries will be much higher. This is why it is important for prospective health fitness specialists to earn as much education and certifications as possible to set themselves apart from their competition.
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Now is an exciting time for individuals to enter the fitness industry. A lot of people are struggling with their weight and have a hard time becoming physically active due to a lot of work and life-related factors. You can be the agent to help inspire change in people by becoming a health fitness specialist.