Since you are passionate about health and wellness, it makes sense that you might contemplate shifting into becoming part of that world, rather than just an observer. But how do you break into an industry, especially if you have zero experience in it?
Before establishing a foothold, most likely, first you will need to do a little legwork. This is helpful, not only for developing a career in health and wellness, but also for offering more insight into specific areas of the industry where you can assume a role. For example, you might find yourself steering toward a new career as you become a personal trainer, a group fitness instructor, or a holistic nutritionist.
Regardless of the path you choose, these are some tips for taking those important first steps.
Identify Your Goals
In preparing to launch your career, it’s important to identify and understand why you initially became interested in health and wellness and what you hope to gain from your career. Establishing clear goals and objectives will give you the necessary foundation to pursue your career in a direction that’s right for y=ou. Do you envision helping clients eat better, move better, or think better—or maybe all three? Do you want to work for a company—as a nutritional supplements sales rep or a corporate wellness coordinator—or do you see yourself as an independent consultant instead? As you become more specific in visualizing your career progression, it will be easier to connect with the right people and programs that can help you reach those goals and objectives.
Network, Network, Network
Health and wellness is filled with numerous professionals who are willing to help a newcomer. You can begin to make these contacts on LinkedIn, but it’s also useful to connect locally, especially if you’re going to cultivate local client relationships. Send emails to local experts asking to buy them coffee or lunch; make sure you’re upfront about your purpose. You may get turned down more often than not, but it's likely that the contacts who do make time to meet with you will offer valuable information on how they got started, the challenges they overcame, and what seemed best for propelling their careers forward.
Research the Industry
Most likely, you’re already reading a slew of articles and research about the field, but it’s also useful to delve into the industry itself. AFPA has many free guides like the Holistic Nutritionist Program Guide, How to Start a Successful Online Personal Training Business, and links to the 8 Step Guide to Becoming a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. This virtual library of fitness and health resources can help you find fresh ideas for starting your career—and growing a sustainable, successful profession once you have become established.
Once you have narrowed down your choice of career track to one or two fields, it’s time to look at your educational options. In this area, a certification program can be vital. A certificate from an accredited organization offers the extensive knowledge you need to excel in the field, and also assures your clients that you have received superior training. Another advantage to certification is that you can get your education much faster and in a much more affordable way than any you would find with a four-year college degree.
Apply for an Internship
Working as an intern is a top way to get hands-on learning experience and develop relationships in the field. When you make the effort to immerse yourself in the industry, you can establish yourself and prove your worth before being considered a certified professional. An internship, when coupled with an accredited certification program, will provide you with the necessary knowledge and experience to assist clients in setting meaningful and achievable health goals.
Ready to learn more about AFPA’s certification programs? Explore our programs and grab your free copy of the guide to learn more about breaking into careers in health and wellness: How to Make a Successful Career Change Into Health and Wellness.