Highest Paying Jobs with a Health and Wellness Degree

Get Matched With Health & Wellness Colleges

Many colleges and universities in the United States offer degrees in health and wellness. Programs of this type are often appealing to individuals interested in pursuing a wide variety of healthcare and fitness-related professions. It’s an ideal major for those who want to help others maintain and improve their overall wellbeing. While curriculums vary by institution, graduates typically possess the knowledge and skills necessary to qualify for jobs in patient care, health administration, biomedical research, and other related fields.

It’s important to realize that salary potential can vary significantly depending on the occupation sought. Work location can also greatly impact job availability and pay. States with the highest-paying employment options for healthcare practitioners and technical workers include Washington, Idaho, California, Arizona, North Dakota, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Hew Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia. States with the lowest annual mean wages for these occupations include Nevada, South Dakota, Kansas, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Healthcare support professionals, on the other hand, can expect the highest wages in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Alaska, North Dakota, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, and South Carolina. Salaries for these workers are generally lower in Idaho, South Dakota, Kansas, Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Maine.

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How to Prepare for a Health and Wellness Career

In many cases, health and wellness professionals require some amount of higher education (at least an undergraduate degree if not a master's or more advanced degree for advanced practice). There are, however, entry-level opportunities available to those with high school diplomas or GEDs. Notably, these positions tend to pay significantly less.

Generally, colleges and universities throughout the nation offer programs in health and wellness at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate levels. Prospective students should consider their career goals carefully before selecting a degree type, as every profession has unique education standards.

Associate degrees are generally offered by community colleges, which is notable because these academic institutions tend to charge lower tuition rates than traditional four-year colleges and universities. These programs often consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that takes students approximately two years to complete. Students typically receive instruction in personal and community health, nutrition, and physical fitness. These topics are often covered broadly, providing a basic introduction to the field and a good foundation for future learning.

Many health and wellness professionals possess bachelor’s degrees. These programs usually consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Students can expect to study a range of healthcare topics, from nutrition to bioethics and exercise physiology. Coursework also helps those enrolled develop various administrative skills, especially related to healthcare payment systems and health information management.

It's also common for professionals in the field to continue their education by enrolling in further education. Master’s degrees in health and wellness generally consist of 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework, which full-time students can finish within about two years. Prospective students should expect to further develop their knowledge and skills. Graduates are generally prepared to pursue positions that seek to improve and support health and wellness initiatives in the United States through implementation and evidence-based strategies.

A PhD or doctorate are the terminal degrees in the field. These programs are highly advanced and may take full-time students four to seven years to complete, but they can lead to the most advanced positions available. These degrees generally consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours, with components of traditional classroom instruction, independent research, and writing. Most provide highly specialized instruction, with concentrations available in a wide variety of areas. Examples include behavioral health, education, psychology, and nutritional science. Graduates generally qualify for career opportunities in research and/or academia.

Is a Degree in Health and Wellness Worth It?

In most cases, earning a degree in health and wellness is worthwhile for individuals seeking careers in fields related to healthcare, fitness, nutrition, and overall wellbeing and helping people deal with various health issues or health problems. While it may be possible to obtain entry-level employment in some common health professions without a degree, the majority of healthcare employers expect candidates to possess some level of higher education, though there is a broad range of options. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many careers in health and wellness require at least a bachelor’s degree. As a result, completing academic degree programs of some kind is often an important part of preparing for employment in this field.

Notably, however, the worth of a degree often varies based on several factors such as the specific career path chose, location, and personal interests. Prospective students and professionals should research potential careers carefully before determining whether a particular degree in health and wellness is appropriate.

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Job Outlook in Health and Wellness

Overall, the outlook for healthcare occupations is very good. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment for workers in this field is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations in the United States. Approximately 1.8 million openings are projected each year between 2022 and 2032. The median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations was $77,760 in May 2022, which is higher than the median annual wage of $46,310 for all occupations in the nation. Healthcare support occupations, on the other hand, had a median annual wage of only $33,600 in May 2022.

Notably, projections vary by job. Some professions are expected to perform better than others. While the anticipated growth for nuclear medicine technologists is almost nonexistent, employment for occupational therapy assistants and aids is expected to increase by 23%, while full occupational therapists work outlook is slightly different. As a result, it’s a good idea to spend time researching your chosen occupation in order to gain a more accurate understanding of employment outlook.

How to Get a Job in Health and Wellness

The first step to getting a job in health and wellness is to determine your ultimate career goals. With so many employment opportunities available in the field, it’s important to identify which occupation or occupations you are most interested in pursuing.

Once you know your preferred profession(s), you will need to research all associated hiring standards. These can vary significantly from one occupation to another but, once you are familiar with employer expectations, you can more easily determine which additional steps will be necessary to obtain the job of your choice. This is particularly relevant when selecting a degree program level but can also prove useful when picking major and minor areas of study, elective courses, internships positions, extracurricular activities, and/or professional certifications.

After obtaining the necessary degree(s) in health and wellness, it may be necessary and/or beneficial to pursue associated professional credentials. Depending on your chosen career path, this may even be required. Personal trainers, for examples must often obtain certification from reputable organization prior to providing their services. Additionally, internships or practical experiences may help prepare you for professional employment. These opportunities allow you to gain hands-on experience that can be highly valuable during the hiring process.

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Top Paying Health and Wellness Careers

There are many health and wellness careers that offer high salary potential. Pay can vary significantly across the field, however. Those with a master's degree are most likely to make the highest income working for health care facilities. Some of the best-paying professional opportunities available include the following.

  • Community Health Program Director - $146,952
    Community health program directors develop programs intended to promote healthy lifestyle choices and prevent the spread of disease within communities. They often recommend various health initiatives, as well as encourage best practices and relevant policy changes. These professionals may also spend time submitting grant applications for funding when necessary.
  • Clinical Trial Manager - $104,634
    Clinical trial managers oversee clinical trials and are often responsible for implementing various related strategies throughout the process. In addition to interacting with staff and reviewing trial progress, they must ensure that all aspects of the study meet all associated compliance and safety standards. These professionals are also expected to carefully analyze the resulting data, as well as interpret the research information and create corresponding documentation.
  • Dermatology Physician Assistant - $100,122
    Dermatology physician assistants help dermatologists treat a wide range of skin, nail, and cosmetic conditions. Depending on the position, they may also be expected to provide support during and/or perform surgeries. They must be licensed to perform their various duties and prescribe medication to patients.
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative - $92,171
    Pharmaceutical sales representatives sell various medications to healthcare facilities. To attract new clients and maintain existing ones, they frequently meet with medical professionals such as physicians, pharmacists, nurses, technicians, and office management personnel from hospitals, nursing homes, dental office locations, etc. These professionals are typically responsible for coordinating orders, providing customer service to existing account holders, and resolving customer complaints and concerns.
  • Healthcare Human Resources Manager - $84,521
    Healthcare human resources managers oversee a wide variety of human resources function for healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, and private physician practices. They spend a lot of time assisting with recruitment, performing interviews, administering worker benefits programs, coordinating training initiatives, managing payroll, and handling employee conflicts. They are also responsible for ensuring that all employment-related activities comply with state and federal regulations.
  • Healthcare Quality Improvement Manager - $82,545
    Healthcare quality improvement and health services managers make various policy and process improvements in order to improve patient care, safety, and outcomes. They often have many responsibilities including decreasing the spread of infections, enhancing procedural practices, running programs, and increasing overall facility efficiency and consistency. These health care professionals may also be expected to document activities and/or perform a variety of administrative duties.
  • Health / Medical Writer - $78,482
    Health or medical writers typically generate the written content for healthcare manuals, training materials, and/or educational papers. While they can write on behalf of medical professionals or patients, these professionals most frequently work for health service providers, medical equipment companies, and other healthcare organizations. They spend a significant amount of time conducting relevant research, collaborating with experts in the field, interpreting data from research papers, and making revisions.
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist - $75,081
    Nuclear medicine technologists work directly with patients, performing and analyzing therapeutic and diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures. They often have many other responsibilities, as well, including writing departmental reports, entering patient information into databases, and transporting patients to and from imaging services. These professionals must also conduct quality control and quality assurance procedures as directed by local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Clinical Liaison - $73,195
    Clinical liaisons work directly with patients, assisting them with a wide variety of tasks related to medical facility processes and/or procedures. They often function as advocates, ensuring patients receive high-quality service and medical care from the time of admission until their departure. These professionals are also instrumental in establishing clear lines of communications between patients and all necessary staff members.
  • Healthcare Manager - $72,702
    Medical and health services managers are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating various medical and health services offered by medical facilities, clinical departments, and/or groups of physicians. They may spend time developing goals to improve efficiency, monitoring budgets, recruiting employees, training new staff members, creating work schedules, and maintaining service records.
  • MRI Technologist - $72,272
    MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners in order to create diagnostic images for medical professionals. In addition to adjusting and maintaining imaging equipment, they must follow the exact orders provided by physicians regarding which areas of the body to scan. These professionals may also prepare patients for procedures, position patients for imaging, help physicians evaluate imaging results, and maintain detailed records.
  • Registered Nurse - $69,825
    Registered nurses (RNs) are responsible for providing and coordinating patient care, as well as educating patients and the public about various health conditions. They also provide advice and emotional support to patients and their families. Additional duties often include assessing patients, recording patient symptoms, observing patients, administering medications, consulting with doctors, performing diagnostic tests, operating various medical equipment, and explaining care needs after discharge.
  • Orthotist and Prosthetist - $69,610
    Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate medical support devices such as artificial limbs, braces, and other medical and/or surgical devices. Prior to finalizing designs, they spend a significant amount of time evaluating and interviewing patients, taking measurements, and selecting the appropriate materials. These professionals also instruct patients in how to use and care for new devices, as well as make adjustments and repairs when needed.
  • Wellness Director, Residential Care / Assisted Living - $67,454
    Wellness directors for residential care or assisted living facilities are responsible for overseeing the clinical and medical programs offered by their employers. In addition to ensuring processes are carried out correctly, they verify that the facility’s standards of care meet or exceed applicable guidelines, laws, and regulations. These professionals may also coordinate staff hiring, training, scheduling, and firing activities.
  • Wellness Program Manager - $64,117
    Wellness program managers coordinate and plan the fitness activities offered by gyms and other health-enhancing facilities. They are often responsible for organizing classes, seminars, and/or special events. These professionals must also ensure all local, state, and national laws and regulations are met.
  • Spa Director - $64,011
    Spa directors oversee daily operations for spa facilities. In addition to providing excellent customer service to guests, they must ensure all relevant standards are properly met. These professionals are also likely to spend time identifying and recommending new products and product enhancements in order to remain competitive within the market.
  • Dental Hygienist - $63,749
    Dental hygienists provide a wide variety of dental services, from preventative care to treating oral disease. They spend most of their time examining patients and providing education about oral health. These professionals also remove tartar, apply fluorides, take x-rays, report findings to dentists, and document patient care.
  • Insurance Claims Specialist - $60,035
    Insurance claims specialists facilitate the processing of insurance claims while ensuring all regulations are properly followed. They may work in a wide variety of industries including automobile, home, health, and business. These professionals are also responsible for negotiating settlements and verifying insurance coverage for clients.
  • Wellness Consultant - $59,965
    Wellness consultants are employed by companies and organizations that offer services intended to improve the health of their clients. These professionals work directly with participants, directing them to the services that will suit their needs best. They often start this process by administering surveys or conducting short health interviews. Other responsibilities include greeting guests, selling products, and answering questions.
  • Wellness Program Administrator - $57,607
    Wellness program administrators oversee programs and activities meant to improve overall employee health and wellbeing. They carefully assess worker needs and then recommend possible procedural changes to address them and may also be responsible for generating interest in the wellness programs and activities available, often by advertising offerings to employees.

Other Career Options

While the positions mentioned above are some of the highest paying options available to health and wellness professionals, individuals with backgrounds in this field may qualify for many other occupations as well. Even those with limited education and experience are likely to find relevant entry-level employment, with academic requirements ranging from high school diplomas to bachelor’s degrees. Despite offering lower salary potential, these professions can function as a great means of gaining additional experience that may lead to more advanced employment opportunities in the future.

Some less lucrative health and wellness jobs include:

  • Corporate Wellness Coordinator - $57,600
  • Nutrition Instructor - $57,096
  • Health Advisor - $55,000
  • Healthcare Human Resources Specialist - $54,852
  • Registered Dietitian - $54,640
  • Dietary Technician - $54,038
  • Health Coach - $52,923
  • Injury Prevention Coordinator - $52,606
  • Medical Office Manager - $53,340
  • Clinical Dietician - $52,072
  • Social Worker - $51,607
  • Physical Therapy Assistant - $51,156
  • Health Promotion Coordinator - $50,697
  • Health and Wellness Coordinator - $50,396
  • Public Health Educator - $50,354
  • X-ray Technician - $50,180
  • Nutritionist - $50,038
  • Physical Education Teacher - $49,790
  • Wellness Center Manager - $49,715
  • Health and Wellness Sales Consultant - $49,615
  • Medical Coding Specialist - $49,146
  • Exercise Physiologist - $49,069
  • Psychiatric Technician - $48,819
  • Fitness Manager - $48,779
  • Health Educator - $48,778
  • Fitness Director - $48,370
  • Athletic Trainer - $45,844
  • Medical Executive Assistant - $45,507
  • Health Screener - $45,480
  • Fitness Consultant - $45,153
  • Mobile Paramedical Examiner - $45,084
  • Medical Administrative Assistant - $44,910
  • Medical Biller - $44,414
  • Surgical Scheduler - $43,385
  • Mental Health Case Manager - $42,875
  • Life Skills Support Specialist - $42,722
  • Community Health Worker - $42,116
  • Personal Trainer - $41,226
  • Exercise Specialist - $40,906
  • Nutrition Assistant - $39,297
  • Wellness Ambassador - $34,404
  • Group Exercise Instructor - $34,348
  • Health Advisor - $55,000
    Health advisors are employed by corporations, hospitals, government agencies, and wellness centers to promote positive health behaviors among patients, community members, and/or staff members. They are often responsible for planning, implementing, and monitoring various health-related measures. These professionals also review program progress and provide consultations when necessary.
  • Social Worker - $51,607
    Social workers help individuals, groups, and families prevent and cope with various problems in their everyday lives. Those working in clinical settings and diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional problems. These professionals are generally capable of assisting with a wide range of situations, from child adoption to substance abuse prevention.
  • Physical Therapy Assistant - $51,156
    Physical therapy assistants help patients recovering from injuries and/or illnesses to regain movement and manage pain. Typically working under the direction and supervision of physical therapists, these professionals observe patients and give regular status reports. These professionals may also assist with specific exercises, provide various treatments, and/or educate patients and their family members.
  • Nutritionist - $50,038
    Nutritionists are responsible for planning and conducting food service or nutritional programs intended to help people lead healthier lives. As food and nutrition experts, they are able to counsel clients on various issues and provide advice for building good eating habits. These professionals may also develop meal plans, speak to groups about dieting, create educational materials, and/or document the progress of their clients.
  • Medical Coding Specialist - $49,146
    Medical coding specialists are employed by hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities to handle billing information. They are typically responsible for ensuring all regulatory standards are met, as well as reviewing and verifying diagnosis and procedural codes are input correctly. These professionals may also assist with audits, enter patient demographic information into systems, and/or update information on computers.
  • Exercise Physiologist - $49,069
    Exercise physiologists help patients recover from chronic diseases and/or improve cardiovascular function, body composition, and flexibility. They spend most of their time analyzing medical histories, performing fitness tests, and developing appropriate fitness programs for patients. These professionals also closely monitor blood pressure, oxygen usage, heart rhythm, and other key health indicators.
  • Psychiatric Technician - $48,819
    Psychiatric technicians care and assistance to individuals diagnosed with mental and/or emotional conditions, as well as developmental disabilities. They are generally responsible for monitoring patients, overseeing medication distribution, and providing various therapies. These professionals also report changes to medical staff, assist with daily living activities, and help with intake/discharge procedures.
  • Athletic Trainer - $45,844
    Athletic trainers help their clients prevent, diagnose, and treat muscle and bone injuries and illnesses. They take various steps to help prevent injuries such as applying protective devices like tape, bandages, and braces. These professionals also provide first aid and emergency care, evaluate injuries, and develop rehabilitation programs for athletes.
  • Health Screener - $45,480
    Health screeners help facilitate health screenings for blood pressure, various cancers, and other health indicators and conditions identified as significant by their employers. They spend most of their time performing blood pressure and heart rate checks. Using biometric scanning equipment, these professionals are able to gather a snapshot of patient health, which can be used to make healthcare recommendations.
  • Community Health Worker - $42,116
    Community health workers implement programs intended to promote wellness and help people adopt various healthy behaviors. They often conduct outreach, oversee case management, provide coaching, coordinate health screenings, and provide first aid. These professionals also spend time advocating for individuals with limited access to health resources and social services.