Turning your lifestyle into a career

Are you an avid jogger? Are you passionate about healthy eating? And do you spend all day at work watching the clock, waiting to get to the gym? You’re not alone. But you’re also part of a pretty exclusive club.

According to a 2016 study by Mayo Clinic, Just 2.7% of Americans maintained a healthy and active lifestyle – determined by being a non-smoker, getting 150 minutes of exercise per week, having a low body fat percentage, and eating an FDA-recommended diet.

At the same time, two thirds of Americans are “disengaged at work” – the politically correct term for disliking their job. So, if you’re one of the few people who live a healthy lifestyle but one of the many that dislike their job, why not consider turning your healthy lifestyle into a career?

Here’s a rough guide to getting out of the wrong job and into one you’ll love:

Do your research

Gym instructor. Dietitian. Nutritionist. Personal trainer. These are the career paths most people’s minds jump to when they think of jobs related to health and wellbeing. And that’s with good reason – often, the most obvious health-related careers are the most popular. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says there were 267,000 personal trainers working in the USA in 2012 (the most recent figures available). But most revealingly, they estimate that number will grow to 338,000 by 2018 due to population growth and increasing interest in health and fitness.

That’s all well and good if personal training is for you – but there’s a huge number of other available career paths in health and wellbeing. The list includes – but is not limited to – roles as diverse as dance therapist, herbalist, pharmaceutical salesperson, mental health counselor, health informatics specialist, homoeopathist, and nurse case manager. And considerations like salary, required education level, as well as your natural interest in a discipline will all play a part in deciding which path is right for you – the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great place to start your research.

Take advantage of plentiful educational opportunities

Once you’ve narrowed down your search for a new career to a few strong candidates, it’s time to investigate your options for further education. And there’s good news – there’s never been a better time to study for a new career.

That’s partly thanks to the growing trend towards students completing further education courses online. Over the past ten years – and particularly in the past three, the number and range of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees available online have increased dramatically. So, it’s now possible to get properly qualified for a career in healthcare through a flexible distance learning course – like USC’s online Executive Masters in Health Administration (learn more about their executive MHA program).

Unlike on-campus study, online degree courses can work around your existing commitments. So, if you’re looking for a career change and don’t want to give up your day job – or have your hands full looking after a young family – it’s worth considering online study. The bonus is many online courses also have relatively low course fees when compared to on-campus equivalent.

Getting your foot in the door

One of the hardest steps towards making a career change is getting on-the-job experience – and getting your face in front of potential employers.

When choosing a course for further education, consider whether that course also includes a work placement. This is one of the best ways to get both real-life training and to put your skills on show with a potential future employer.

That said, course placements aren’t the only way to get your foot in the industry door. Another way is to shadow members of staff or offer to complete a short internship somewhere you’d love to work. While both options may require sacrificing time and a salary, it’s often a worthwhile sacrifice to get some real-life experience on your resume.

Also, it’s important to note graduates are now turning to self-employment in increasing numbers. If you find yourself newly qualified but are struggling to find a full-time role, why not consider working for yourself?

Ongoing education

Giving yourself the best shot possible of advancing up the ladder of your new career can come down to hard work and dedication. But part of that dedication can often include the willingness to take on further study – for example, nurses usually must gain additional accreditations to advance, so remember to consider this when choosing your new career.