The Health Promotion and Wellness Department offers a unique multidisciplinary major leading to the baccalaureate of science degree in wellness management. The program is designed to prepare students to assume roles as wellness/health promotion and fitness professionals in private business and industry, community organizations, and health care and insurance agencies. We also offer an online graduate certificate in health and wellness.
The wellness management major is unique in the SUNY system because it combines both fitness and health promotion disciplines along with business. The major, along with carefully selected electives, could also prepare students for continuing study in allied health professions such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dietetics/nutrition and physician's assistant. Learn more about careers in the allied health professions.
- It's expected that employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics). As businesses and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other fitness facilities will increase the need for workers in these areas.
- Likewise, employment of health educators is expected to grow by 37 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Growth will be driven by efforts to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people about healthy habits and behaviors.
- Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Growth will occur primarily because of technological advancements; an increased emphasis on preventative care; and the large, aging baby-boomer population who will demand more healthcare services as they live longer and more active lives.
- Employment of physical therapists is expected to increase 39 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Demand for physical therapy services will come, in large part, from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life than previous generations did.
- Employment of occupational therapists is expected to increase 33 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations(Bureau of Labor Statistics). Occupational therapy will continue to be an important part of treatment for people with various illnesses and disabilities, such as Alzheimer's disease, cerebral palsy, autism, or the loss of a limb.
- Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase 20 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than average for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics). In recent years, there has been increased interest in the role of food in promoting health and wellness, particularly as a part of preventative healthcare in medical settings. The importance of diet in preventing and treating illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease is now well known. More dietitians and nutritionists will be needed to provide care for people with these conditions. An aging population also will increase the need for dietitians and nutritionists in nursing homes.
- Employment of physician assistants is expected to increase 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics). As more physicians enter specialty areas of medicine, there will be a greater need for primary healthcare providers, such as physician assistants.
- Aging baby boomers, one group that increasingly is becoming concerned with staying healthy and physically fit, will be the main driver of employment growth in fitness and health workers. An additional factor is the combination of a reduction in the number of physical education programs in schools with parents' growing concern about childhood obesity. This factor will increase the need for fitness workers to work with children in nonschool settings, such as health clubs. Increasingly, parents also are hiring personal trainers for their children, and the number of weight-training gyms for children is expected to continue to grow. Health club membership among young adults has grown steadily as well, driven by concern with physical fitness and by rising incomes. People with degrees in fitness/wellness-related subjects will have better opportunities because clients prefer to work with people they perceive as higher quality trainers. Trainers who incorporate new technology and wellness issues as part of their services may be in more demand (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- An increasing number of employers are requiring fitness/wellness workers to have a bachelor's degree in a field related to health or fitness, such as exercise science or physical education. Some employers allow workers to substitute a college degree for certification, but most employers who require a bachelor's degree also require certification.