Careers in the Health and Fitness Field

As the obesity rate among adults and children in the United States rises, the search for a solution is also on the rise. Many families and individuals who are battling obesity are looking to specialists in the health, fitness, and nutrition fields for help in getting their health, as well as their family's health, back on track. This is excellent news for those who enjoy helping people as much as they enjoy living a healthy lifestyle filled with exercise and good nutritional habits. For those who enjoy exercise, healthy recipes and nutrition, or sports, there is a career in high demand that fits these interests. In the health and fitness field, the options for a career are numerous: You could be a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a physical education or health teacher, or even a sports coach. Each of these professions is extremely rewarding for the right people!

Personal Trainer

For those who love to exercise, the idea of working as a personal trainer may seem like a dream job. A personal trainer is responsible for motivating people, providing personalized exercise regimens and offering feedback to their clients. A personal trainer's goal is to offer a client maximum one-on-one assistance in reaching their fitness goals. Personal trainers have a great advantage over a lot of careers in the health and fitness field as they are not limited to one particular place of employment and they are constantly in demand. Trainers can work in clients homes, at parks, gyms, or even from their own homes. Although the excellent work venue options are a huge benefit to this career, this career does generally require one to work under direct supervision, which can hinder the creativity of some. To become a certified personal trainer, most states require that trainers have high school diplomas along with certifications. Most areas require that trainers also be certified in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator) use. In some instances, trainers are required to pass examinations, such as the American College of Sports Medicine or the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) certifications. These examinations are designed to measure knowledge that is helpful in the field, such as nutrition and basic safety practices. To secure the best opportunities as a personal trainer, a bachelor's degree in exercise science or another field related to health and nutrition is recommended. Personal trainers can expect to earn a salary of around $55,285 per year on average. Those with certifications, degrees, and several years of experience can expect to make a maximum of around $79,401 each year, and these degrees also often transfer well to health care or physical rehabilitation careers. For those who enjoy fitness and helping others, this is a great career option, and as an added benefit, personal trainers are able to stay active while working and increase their own fitness levels.

Nutritionist

Nutritionists are people who work with other people to teach them about making healthy dietary choices. They consider factors such as the person's health conditions, weight, and genes to determine an ideal diet. This is a good fit for those who are passionate about healthy cooking as well as living a healthy lifestyle. Nutritionists have a lot of flexibility with their work settings, as they can work in hospitals, doctors' offices, cafeterias, or with clients at their homes. Working with a nutritionist is becoming more common as people focus more on weight loss and improving their overall health, which is a huge benefit to those in the field. Some specific nutritionist professions may require developing plans with the help of a personal trainer based on an exercise routine, which can hinder the flexibility of this career. Nutritionists often must become certified and generally must obtain a bachelor's degree to be considered for employment. Once employed, nutritionists can expect to earn an average of $55,240 per year. This figure can fluctuate based on experience and education as well as the particular area in which a nutritionist is employed.

Physical Education or Health Teacher

Individuals who are passionate about teaching children as well as a healthy lifestyle have several career options. First and foremost, those who wish to teach should identify which age range they are most comfortable working with. Those who prefer working with very young children may opt to work in elementary schools, while those who wish to work with older children or young adults may chose a high school or college level setting. Determining an age range is important, as it can determine the types of courses that need to be taken. Physical education or health teachers will teach different aspects of fitness or health depending on the age range.

To become a teacher, most areas require that individuals possess a bachelor's degree in their area of expertise (in this instance, physical education or health). Often, a bachelor's degree in a field related to children, for those teaching young children, is also acceptable. A field-specific degree, however, offers more options in the event of a career change, although with a booming population of children in schools, the need for excellent teachers is always growing. Those with health degrees, for instance, could gain employment in doctor's offices while those with physical education degrees could also work in gyms. Along with a four-year degree, a lot of schools also require teachers to pass background checks and maintain other certifications. Physical education teachers generally make around $63,770 per year, while health teachers average around $55,360. Like most careers, salary is greatly dependent upon the amount of experience a person has along with their educational background. While physical education and health teachers have the benefit of teaching children, they also are often not employed year-round. This can be seen as a negative point for some, although others may see it as a benefit to have the time to explore other opportunities in the field on a part-time basis.

Coach

For those who are passionate about teaching and sports but not so passionate about four years of college, coaching is a great career option. Those who are interested in coaching sports for adults or for recreational purposes outside of schools generally do not need a degree. Most sports teams consider experience within a sport to be sufficient enough to be considered for a coach or assistant coach position. This is a huge benefit to those who do not wish to obtain a degree. Those who opt to teach children from elementary to high school in a school setting, however, will often need to obtain a four-year bachelor's degree as well as other certifications to be qualified. Because of this, many coaches who advise children's sports teams are also physical education instructors or teachers of other sorts. This may be considered as a negative point to a coaching career for many, although it is in the best interest of children to be taught by qualified professionals. Because of this, coaches with bachelor's degrees are often more in demand than those with just sports experience. General sports coaches can expect to earn a salary of around $34,000. This figure can vary greatly depending on location, the particular sport, qualifications, and experience.

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