What Can I Do With a Master’s Degree in Health and Wellness Management?
With the versatile health and wellness management master’s degree, you can create your career as you go.
Before he decided to pursue a Master’s in Health and Wellness Management from Merrimack College, Patrick Allen gave serious thought to becoming a paramedic or a physical therapist. But neither seemed like the right type of health career for him.
“I didn’t want to be in the ‘sick-care’ part of the industry,” he says. “I wanted to be in preventive care. That’s what I truly love.”
Allen’s preference sums up what you can do with a health management master’s degree. In short, the program equips students to promote healthy habits among individuals and groups of people. Graduates of Merrimack’s health and wellness management program have used the degree to pursue careers in corporate fitness, community health, youth education, nutrition, senior care, nonprofit programming and various other specialties.
“I was interested in employee wellness,” says Allen, “and that’s one of the things that drew me to Merrimack.” He got to act on that interest while earning his health and wellness master’s degree, helping to launch a wellness program for the College’s own employees. That hands-on experience, in turn, helped him secure his current job as a health coach for OMC Wellness.
“I meet with employees and guide them toward healthier lifestyles,” Allen says. “When people are healthier, they are also happier and more productive. There’s less absenteeism and better morale. We work on stretching and flexibility, we talk about nutrition and diet, we look at mental health, and we just educate people in how to take care of themselves.”
“It’s a very fulfilling job,” Allen says. “And it really builds on what I learned in my health management master’s program.”
Choose a Health and Wellness Management Career That Fits You
Corporate wellness is a rapidly growing job sector, says Merrimack health sciences professor Allison Higgins. But it’s only one of the careers you can pursue with a master’s degree in health and wellness management.
“I jumped around a lot early in my career,” says Higgins, who has spent more than 20 years in the health and wellness management industry. “I started out in workplace health promotion. I did community education for a hospital. I did some research.”
According to Higgins, about half of the students who come into Merrimack’s program aren’t sure how they’ll use their health and wellness management master’s degree. “A lot of them don’t have a great sense of what their career opportunities are,” she says, “and that’s one of the real benefits of our program. We offer a practice-oriented degree where students can get a lot of hands-on experience, draw on the experience of the faculty and get a complete sense of their career options with a master’s in health management.”
According to ExploreHealthCareers.org, graduates from health and wellness management master’s degree programs can find high demand for their expertise in jobs such as:
“There are opportunities all over the country,” Higgins says. “And no matter what population you’re working with, you can be making a big difference.”
Before Choosing a Health Management Career Path, Explore Your Options
“I started out with open-ended career goals,” says Vickie Holland, who completed her health and wellness management master’s degree at Merrimack in 2018. “I wasn’t sure which specialty within health and wellness management I wanted to focus on. That’s one of the things that appealed to me about this degree. It allows you to create your career path as you go.”
She took her first steps by completing a fellowship as part of her health and wellness management degree. Holland spent nine months overhauling Merrimack’s Campus Kitchens program (now called the Food Recovery Network), a student-led hunger-relief program that provides surplus food from the college dining halls to charitable organizations in the community.
“It was very different from anything I had done before,” she says. “I had no understanding of nutrition, and I wanted to understand that aspect of health and wellness management.”
After graduation, Holland used her health and wellness master’s degree to gain a job with Boston Children’s Hospital in the sports medicine program.
“My title is program coordinator,” she says, “and my job is to make sure all the clinics are running smoothly. “We have clinics that work with high school athletes, some that work with runners, some that focus on dancers.” One of her duties is to recruit medical staff to provide assistance during the Boston Marathon.
Over the long run, Holland says, “I see myself managing programs and making sure they run efficiently. I don’t know if it will be in a hospital setting. There are still options I’d like to explore before I decide what I ultimately want to do with my master’s in health and wellness management.”
“We offer a practice-oriented degree where students can get a lot of hands-on experience, draw on the experience of the faculty, and get a complete sense of their career options with a master’s in health management.”
― Allison Higgins, Lecturer, Health Sciences