An In-Depth Look at 5 Careers in Healthy Living

Ginger Abbot

Jan 15, 2021
yoga

If a healthy living career has always interested you, you may be wondering what opportunities exist in the field — and how much they pay. Before making a decision, you should evaluate the education requirements, job descriptions, and salaries. Also, consider your passions and how they relate to job opportunities in the industry. Only after you evaluate these factors can you make an educated decision on how to best move forward in your career.

Keep reading to discover five popular careers in healthy living!

1. Nutritionist

Nutritionists study food and nutrition to become experts in healthy living. As a nutritionist, you may have various duties depending on whether you work independently or as part of a team. Typically individuals in this role are responsible for making meal plans, working with health care professionals, and advocating nutritional research and standardization. In some cases, you may prepare foods for patients and provide them with directions on healthy living.

While the requirements vary from state to state, most regions require you to have a bachelor’s degree to work as a nutritionist. For example, in Florida, it is illegal for a person to provide nutrition counseling unless they have a license or are exempt. It’s possible to work in various job settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, cafeterias, and offices. Always check local requirements and review job descriptions to determine if you qualify based on your experience.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), nutritionists and dieticians make an average salary of $61,270 annually. However, you should expect this number to fluctuate depending on your location and degree level. Generally, individuals with greater education and job experience will receive a higher salary.

2. Personal Trainer

Personal trainers work closely with their clients to help them reach their fitness targets. They develop training plans that correspond to their client’s skill level, abilities, and needs. As a fitness trainer, you shouldn’t offer individualized meal plans unless you have certifications and experience. Giving meal plans without a license is illegal in several states. However, you can send your clients resources, guides, and suggestions online or provide basic advice, like eat more protein and cut down on carbohydrates.

This career in healthy living is excellent for anyone interested in physical fitness and exercise. It does not require a degree, and the job outlook is expected to grow. However, you should still plan to get CPR and AED certifications to prepare for emergencies that may occur in the workplace. If you are looking for a position with flexibility and minor education requirements, this could be the job for you. While the national salary averages around $36,000 a year, top earners can make around $70,000.

3. Dietitian

Many people believe dietitians are similar to nutritionists, and so the titles are often used interchangeably. However, contrary to popular belief, this position has differing roles and responsibilities. Specifically, dietitians are college-educated individuals proficient in the science of nutrition and management with different legal rights than nutritionists. Most individuals recognized as registered dietitians (RD) will complete a four-year bachelor’s degree as well as the Didactic Program of Dietetics (DPD) and a dietetic internship (DI). 

Dietitian fields include:

  • Clinical
  • Foodservice management
  • Research
  • Community

This occupation is expected to grow faster than average over the next 10 years. Earning a degree in this field will offer more opportunities nationally than a nutritionist. 

4. Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors typically lead and coach a group of people on various physical activities. Some individuals may choose to specialize in areas like yoga or strength training. If you enjoy exercising and keeping fit, this career in healthy living may allow you to follow your passions while earning a living.

Most instructors only have high-school degrees and receive on the job training. However, some employers require trainers to have certifications. Salaries range drastically by location, and many fitness coaches earn an hourly wage. As of May 2019, the BLS reported that the average salary is approximately $40,390.

5. Medical Doctor

Becoming a doctor is one of the most obvious career paths for healthy living. There are many opportunities to specialize in the medical field, which allows professionals to follow their interests. Training and subsequent degree programs will differ depending on the area you choose to pursue.

Typically, doctors who specialize in cardiology can expect to earn approximately $648,000, while dermatologists earn $420,000, and psychiatrists $273,000 in the United States. In most cases, it will take people at least a decade before being recognized as a practicing doctor in their field. As a result of the lengthy study requirements, you should feel confident in your decision before deciding to pursue this career path.

Keep Your Options Open

There are many opportunities for careers in healthy living. The five listed above are some of the most popular positions, but you should keep your options open. It’s possible to shape roles to suit your passions, so remember to think outside of the box. For instance, chefs have the opportunity to promote healthy living through nutritious menus and innovative restaurants. Business majors can open fitness and health companies, and bloggers can influence society through their specialized writing. 

The possibilities are endless, so begin planning your path today!

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