College Majors and Careers in the Health and Wellness Industry

Ginger Abbot

Jul 10, 2020
options for careers in health and wellness industry

Deciding on a college major is a big step in your journey toward your dream career. If you’re interested in careers in the health and wellness industry, you already have a bit of direction. But where you go with it is entirely up to you.

Maybe you’re interested in careers in health and fitness or careers in wellness and nutrition. Maybe your goal is to help people who are struggling physically, or perhaps your focus is more on mental health.

Beyond the standard pre-med track, there are many majors and careers in the health and wellness industry to pick from. You don’t have to decide everything right away, but closely exploring your options can get you started on learning what’s right for you. Here are some options to keep in mind:

1. Nutrition

Two of the more popular careers in wellness and nutrition include being a nutritionist or a registered dietitian (RD). While these two are related, they’re not identical. Both require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited nutrition school. Registered dietitians are required to have more training and certifications to be recognized by national standards as an RD.

College majors that can lead you to it:

  • Nutrition
  • Dietetics
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Public Health Nutrition

2. Dental Hygiene

dentist careers in health and wellness industry

Dental hygienists perform regular cleanings on patients to ensure their oral health. This job is hands-on and communicative. If dental hygiene sounds like a fit for you, you’ll need an associate degree and a license. You can usually find all the resources and education you’re looking for at a community college, which means you save on tuition while working toward that ideal health and wellness job salary.

College majors that can lead you to it:

  • Dental Hygiene
  • Applied Science in Dental Hygiene

3. Mental Health

If you’re interested in mental health careers, there are many to pick from. While you can become a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, many people working in the mental health field don’t have doctorate degrees. You can become a counselor, mental health technician, mental health social worker or addiction counselor. There are various ranks in the mental health field for those with varying levels of education, with some careers requiring a master’s degree and others a bachelor’s. 

Picking your specificity and major is all about your personality and skills. When you let those things guide you, you’ll choose a career and major in which you thrive.

College majors that can lead you to it:

  • Psychology
  • Counseling
  • Social Work
  • Public Health

4. Midwifery

midwifery careers in health and wellness industry

Many people don’t know that you don’t need to be a doctor to deliver babies — far from it, in fact. Midwifery is a practice that dates back thousands of years and offers a more personal and holistic approach to childbirth. Many midwives assist in home births or work in birthing centers, supporting various parts of the medical canon. 

There are three main categories of midwives —  Certified Professional Midwives (CPM), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) and Certified Midwives (CM). CNMs have nursing training and are certified to work in clinics and hospitals. Usually, this requires a nursing degree. CPMs have training that focuses primarily on out-of-hospital care like home births. CMs are midwives with other forms of health care education who go on to a master’s degree in midwifery.

College majors that can lead you to it:

  • Nursing
  • Public Health
  • Midwifery
  • Psychology

5. Nursing and Nurse Practitioners

If nursing might be your calling, you’ll go through several levels of education to achieve this goal. To become a registered nurse, you can get an associate degree from a community college, work toward a bachelor’s degree or continue your current education to become a nurse practitioner.

Nurse practitioners are nurses with training that allows them to order tests, write prescriptions and work with patients similarly to how a doctor does. Though it’s not exactly the same as a doctor’s role, nurse practitioners tend to hold more expertise and responsibility than standard registered nurses (RNs). You can even go back to school to become a nurse practitioner after gaining experience in the medical field as a nurse. 

College majors that can lead you to it:

  • Nursing

Find the Right Fit for Your Career in the Health and Wellness Industry

Choosing a major is no easy task, but if you’re on the health and wellness path, you’re already one step ahead. Let your interests guide you, and you’ll be sure to find the major that’s right for you. 

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