According to one study, over the course of a lifetime, the average American will spend approximately 13 years and two months at work. Shouldn’t you truly enjoy what you are doing, considering you will be spending so much time doing it? When deciding upon a career, many factors should be taken into consideration. Not only do you want a job that is lucrative and interesting, but you also want a vocation that aligns with your values and your lifestyle, if at all possible. If you are a health-conscious individual, you might want to think about a career that prioritizes your mental and physical health and wellness.
Let’s face it – most jobs that are office-based lead to sitting way too much for way too long, and, as we have all been told, “sitting is the new smoking.” More than a quarter of American adults sit for over eight hours per day, and a whopping 44 percent of those adults say that they get little to no exercise. Why is sitting bad? It can lead to insulin resistance, potentially causing diseases and conditions such as obesity and Type II diabetes.
If you can find a job that aligns with your health-conscious values, it may be easier to become and remain active, both during working hours and outside of work. Many of the jobs listed below can be done using a standing desk, and some are not entirely office-based, which also decreases the amount of time you will spend sitting. Examine the 12 health-focused career choices that we explore below and see if one of them spark your interest. You just might be able to associate your healthy, wellness-focused lifestyle with an equally healthy, wellness-conscious workstyle!
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $92,920 *
Job Outlook: growth of 21 percent projected from 2020-30 (much faster than average)
Physical therapists work with people who have been injured or are ill, in order to help them improve movement and manage pain. They may work in a variety of settings, such as private offices, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, patients’ homes, and nursing homes. Much of the time, a physical therapist is on their feet, not sitting behind a desk. The fact that the job of a physical therapist involves promoting activity and motivating others may appeal to those who are invested in living a healthy, wellness-conscious lifestyle. Physical therapists may focus on a variety of clinical specializations, including, but not limited to, Cardiovascular & Pulmonary, Geriatric, Orthopedic, Neurology, Pediatric, Oncology, Women’s Health, Electrophysiologic, Sports, and Wound Management.
Mean Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $249,760*
Job Outlook: growth of 3 percent expected from 2020-30 (slower than average)
Psychiatrists work with people who have mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. They may prescribe medications, and direct or administer a variety of psychotherapeutic treatments. Most psychiatrists work in an office setting, within a private clinic, hospital, medical center, or outpatient center. As work is primarily done in a one-on-one scenario, within an office, the work of a psychiatrist is mostly sedentary. For health-conscious individuals, the psychiatrist’s focus of wellness is mental and emotional, but good mental and emotional health supports overall physical well-being and health. Board-certified specializations that a psychiatrist may wish to pursue include (but are not limited to) Addiction Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Clinical Neurophysiology Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, and Geriatric Psychiatry.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $82,750*
Job Outlook: growth of 9 percent expected from 2020-30 (as fast as average)
A registered nurse provides and coordinates patient care in a variety of settings. They may also educate patients and the public about health conditions. Registered nurses work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, home healthcare services, nursing care facilities, schools, and outpatient clinics. The work of a registered nurse is fairly active, with much time spent standing and some time spent sitting writing notes. Health-minded persons may be interested in pursuing a career as a registered nurse to help improve the health and wellness of others, as well as to help maintain their own good health habits. Specialties involved in nursing include, but are not limited to, Cardiac Nurse, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Family Nurse Practitioner, Geriatric Nurse, Pediatric Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Mental Health Nurse, and Critical Care Nurse.
Dietitian and Nutritionist
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $65,620*
Job Outlook: growth of 11 percent expected from 2020-30 (faster than average)
As the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) now refers to them, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) may also be called Dietitians, Nutritionists, Licensed Nutritionists, or Registered Dietitians. They work to advise clients on food and nutrition, helping to develop meal plans, gauge goals for their clients and improve eating behaviors, and educate the public through community outreach programs. The jobs of dietitian and nutritionist may appeal to those who are health-conscious as healthy eating is the foundation of good health and overall wellness. This career choice entails a mixture of sedentary time behind a desk, record-keeping or counseling clients, as well as active time, traveling to meet with clients in various settings. Dietitians and nutritionists typically work in medical centers, nursing homes, private clinics, schools and for government agencies. Specializations for dietitians and nutritionists are many, a few of them being Clinical Dietitian, Holistic Nutritionist, Sports Nutritionist, Nutrition Educator, Dietetic Technician Registered, Pediatric Nutritionist, and Eating Disorder Nutritionist.
The following bachelors and Master’s programs offer career-focused instruction delivered by trained nutritionists with experience in the field. Find out more what each individual course of study offers through the locations below.
Purdue Global's Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Program is an approved holistic nutrition education program through the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP).
American University offers two different programs focused on Nutrition and Health. Their Online Master of Science in Nutrition Education will prepare you to become an influential leader in nutrition education and advocacy while promoting nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices in your community and beyond. Or Earn your Master of Science in Health Promotion Management from AU’s award-winning program in just 20 months with $10K available in scholarships upon enrollment (qualifier is a 3.0 GPA).
UNC's MPH Nutrition concentration prepares students to provide, evaluate and communicate nutritional and dietary guidance that improves individual and population-wide health outcomes. In addition to developing their knowledge of nutrition science, students will explore behavior change, communication, counseling and the effects of dietary culture on individuals and communities.
Bay Path University's health and wellness certificates build the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to upskill your abilities in your profession or to provide a robust concentration to your degree program for a specific role. Learn more about the Certificate in Food Science and Safety certificate.
If you want to work in fitness and nutrition, take the first step toward a new career with one of Penn Foster's accredited, online fitness and training programs. These affordable programs are all offered online, and can be taken at your own pace.
Grand Canyon University offers an M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Winthrop University offers an Online Master of Science in Human Nutrition and an Online Master of Science in Sport and Fitness Administration
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $68,230*
Job Outlook: growth of 7 percent expected from 2020-30 (as fast as average)
A forester, or conservation scientist, manages the overall quality of the land of parks, forests, and other natural resources. They may work for government agencies, privately owned lands, or within social advocacy organizations. Much of a forester’s work is done outdoors, and is fairly active, although there is some sedentary time spent record-keeping behind a desk. The work of a forester may appeal to health-conscious individuals as they work to conserve, foster, beautify and preserve the planet and its natural resources. Working outdoors like foresters do, with little contact with other humans, may lead to less stress and a healthier overall lifestyle. Foresters may choose to pursue such specializations as Range Management, Wildlife Management, Forest Recreation, or Forest Education.
Health Education Specialist
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $64,930*
Job Outlook: growth of 17 percent expected from 2020-30 (much faster than average)
Health Education Specialists/Health coaches develop programs to teach other people about conditions that affect their health and well-being. They may also work to help people adopt healthier behaviors. The work of a health coach is active and sedentary, with more time generally spent on one’s feet and less time sitting at a desk record-keeping. Work may be done in hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, wellness centers, schools, and community centers. The job of a health coach may be perfect for health-conscious individuals, as health coaches espouse healthy living practices and behaviors–not just nutrition and exercise — which health-conscious persons strive for and incorporate in their everyday lives.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $45,870*
Job Outlook: growth of 39 percent expected from 2020-30 (much faster than average)
Fitness instructors and trainers work with individuals and groups in exercise activities. They lead, instruct and motivate others to become more active and live their best lives. Fitness instructors may work in recreation centers, health clubs, yoga studios, medical centers, and schools. Fitness instructors and trainers are the embodiment of the wellness principles by which health-minded individuals live, making this career choice a sound one for those interested in their own health and wellness. Specializations that fitness instructors may pursue include Personal Fitness Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Exercise Physiologist, and Clinical Exercise Specialist.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $49,260*
Job Outlook: growth of 32 percent expected from 2020-30 (much faster than average)
Massage therapists treat clients using touch to manipulate the muscles and soft tissues of the body. They offer clients a range of treatments to relax and restore their health and wellness. They may work in private clinic settings, medical centers, rehabilitation facilities, spas, clinics, doctor’s offices, hotels, fitness centers, or travel to clients’ homes. Massage therapists are typically health-conscious individuals who enjoy helping others to reach a sense of calm and peace. They are satisfied once they have helped others achieve a state of relaxation. Most of the work of a massage therapist is done standing, so it is not a sedentary position. Specializations available for massage therapists include Medical Massage Therapist, Corporate or Chair Massage Therapist, and Sports Massage Therapist.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $32,100*
Job Outlook: decline of 20 percent expected from 2020-30
Floral designers, otherwise known as florists, arrange live, dried and silk flowers and greenery into attractive displays for sale or decoration. They typically work within retail stores, including flower shops and grocery stores. Most of the work of a floral designer is done standing, with some work done while seated. Floral designers are artistic persons who usually value mental and emotional health and get a sense of satisfaction from creating a floral design to bring happiness to others. Floral designers may find their work relaxing and engaging, promoting emotional and mental wellness.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $67,240*
Job Outlook: growth of 14 percent expected from 2020-30 (faster than average)
Craft and fine artists work with a variety of materials and technique to create works of art, which they may put on display at an exhibition or offer for sale. They may work in art studios within office buildings, warehouses, lofts, or from their private homes. This job may be perfect for health-conscious individuals, as artists are able to express their thoughts and feelings on a daily basis through their creations, leading to a much healthier mental and emotional state. The work of an artist may be done in a seated or standing position. Artists may specialize in many concentrations, including but not limited to Graphic Design, Interior Design, Manga, Art Education, and Digital Arts.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $81,120*
Job Outlook: growth of 9 percent expected from 2020-30 (as fast as average)
Writers develop written content for a variety of media types. Like the job of an artist, being a writer is a career choice that allows one to express themselves, leading to better mental and emotional health and well-being. The profession typically offers a good work-life balance as well, with many writers able to work from home. The job of a writer is mostly sedentary, however, and not a very active position. Endless specializations exist for writers, ranging from Sports Writer to Fiction Writer to Non-Fiction Writer to Screenplay Writer to Copywriter.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $54,880*
Job Outlook: growth of 12 percent expected from 2020-30 (faster than average)
Social workers help clients cope with and solve problems in their daily lives. They help to coordinate resources for their clients, provide referrals as needed, assist with emotional and social problems, and advocate for their clients’ mental and emotional health. Working to help others with mental and emotional health needs may particularly appeal to those who lead health-conscious lifestyles and value their own mental and emotional health. The job of a social worker is typically sedentary, with minimal movement necessary. Settings in which social workers work include mental health clinics, schools, medical centers, human service agencies, community development centers, and private offices. Specializations for social workers include Community Social Work, Child and Family Social Work, School Social Work, Mental Health/Substance Abuse Social Work, and Military/Veterans Social Work.
*2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for physical therapists, psychiatrists, registered nurses, dietitians and nutritionists, conservation scientists, health education specialists, fitness instructors, massage therapists, floral designers, artists, writers, and social workers reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2022.