Starting a career in health and wellbeing

If you love the idea of helping people and making a true difference in their lives, then you might consider starting career in health and wellbeing. The best thing about most careers in this area is that you won’t need a degree, it’s fairly easy to qualify, and you’ll normally be able to study at home whilst you take care of other commitments. Here, we’ve picked out some of the simplest and most popular career transitions we’ve seen our students make, and tell you exactly how you can achieve the success and career satisfaction they have.

Counsellor

What does a counsellor do?

A counsellor is a qualified therapist who helps people to deal with their personal problems and the difficulties in their life through talking therapy. They work for themselves, for the NHS in a GP surgery or hospital, in a community setting such as a school or university, or in private health and wellbeing practices. They might see individuals, couples, or families, and will deal with a variety of issues; some people might seek counselling because of serious psychological trauma, whereas some might simply be suffering with mild anxiety. A counsellor will normally see clients for sessions lasting 30 or 60 minutes in length, and during that time they might encourage them to talk through their problems by asking open-ended questions, and help to give them the mental tools to change their thinking patterns and make positive changes. Amongst our students who decide to start a career in health and wellbeing, counselling is a very popular choice.

How can I become a counsellor?

You generally don’t need any prior qualifications to begin counselling qualifications, but it’s useful to hold a GCSE English qualification, or the equivalent. After that, if you have no counselling experience whatsoever, it’s a very good idea to complete an introductory course such as our Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills. A course such as this will introduce you to counselling as a career, and give you a solid foundation of knowledge before you progress to more advanced qualifications. After this, you might choose to study for a bachelor’s degree in counselling or psychotherapy. However, if you’re looking to save on costs and gain an accredited qualification you can study for at home, you might instead choose to pursue qualifications such as our level three and four counselling diplomas, which you can complete whilst you gain practical experience, and eventually move on to gaining a professional license. Whichever course you choose, make sure the qualification has endorsement by a professional body such as ACCPH (Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists). Salaries for counsellors will vary widely depending on the level of experience, the specialisation, and whether they are working for the NHS or in private practice. In general, however, as a counsellor you might expect to begin on a salary of around £20,000 per year, and eventually may be able to earn up to £40,000.

CBT therapist

What does a CBT therapist do?

This profession is increasingly popular amongst those looking to start a career in health and wellbeing.  CBT is based on the concept that our feelings, thoughts, and actions are all interconnected, and that if one of these things can be changed, they all can. A therapist will work alongside clients, trying to tackle negative thought patterns which might well be contributing to disorders such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Like counsellors, CBT therapists will employ talking therapy, though they will focus on the issues that a client is dealing with now, rather than things which occurred in the past. CBT therapists might work with one client at a time, or deliver group sessions. They will usually work in an office, although they might also work at home, or in community settings such as GP services and schools. They might be freelance, choose to team up with other therapists and counsellors in private practice, or they might be employed by the NHS or private healthcare providers. CBT therapists are in extremely high demand, with more and more people viewing it as a way to effectively deal with their mental health issues.

How can I become a CBT therapist?

Again, in order to become an effective therapist, it’s very useful to hold an English qualification at GCSE level or equivalent, because you will need strong communication skills. After this, the first thing you will need to do is gain an accredited qualification. You might choose to go to university and complete a degree in counselling or psychotherapy, after which you can pursue postgraduate studies in CBT. However, if you’d rather study from home to start your career in health and wellbeing, you might instead opt for a course such as our accredited Level 3 Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which will teach you everything you need to know to become an excellent CBT therapist. There’s no requirement to gain experience in a counselling environment as you study, but it might be beneficial for you to gain voluntary experience. You’ll need to search for counselling services near to you, and ask them if you can come on board for a few months to help out – most centres are more than willing to accommodate trainees if you’re undertaking a qualification. If you study with us, after you’ve finished your course, you’ll be able to gain registration with ACCPH  and set up your own business, if you choose to. Working as a CBT therapist, you might expect to start on around £20,000 per year, which could rise to £40,000, depending on where you work, and how many clients you’re able to attract.

Life coach

What does a life coach do?

A life coach is a wellness professional who works with clients to help them improve their lives, change their day-to-day habits, and set goals for the future. Perhaps a client wants to change their patterns of behaviour in order to find a better job, maintain an exercise regime, or start a healthy eating plan to lose weight – a life coach help with all of these things. Life coaches might specialise in different areas, for instance, sports coaching, family life coaching, or leadership coaching, and they normally work for themselves, from home or an office. They might also team up with other wellness professionals to open up a business. Generally, a life coaching session will be between thirty and sixty minutes, to give the client enough time to discuss one topic in depth or a few briefly, and the sessions may become shorter and more powerful after a client has been seeing a life coach for a while. Clients normally meet with a life coach once a week, which may continue as long as they feel the need.

How can I become a life coach?

Unlike many careers in health and wellbeing, life coaching isn’t regulated in the UK, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a qualification. Taking a course which is accredited by a professional body will benefit you greatly if you’d like to become a life coach; clients prefer to work with someone who has undertaken thorough training, such as you’d receive through our Life Coaching Level 3 certificate. This qualification will allow you to gain registration with ACCPH, which will expand your career opportunities and your earning potential. Once you’re qualified, you’ll very likely want to start up your own business, and on our course, you’ll be guided through this process step-by-step. The salary for life coaches varies massively and depends only on your skill and work ethic. Some of the most prominent life coaches in the UK earn around £500k per year, though when you first start working, you would likely be charging between £30-50 per session, meaning that if you manage to gain two clients per day for your first year, you’ll be earning up to £25,000.

Personal trainer

What does a personal trainer do?

A personal trainer works with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. You might want to train for a 5k, gain muscle, or simply feel healthier – a personal trainer can help with it all. When they first meet with a client, they’ll likely conduct a fitness assessment to see exactly what progress needs to be made, and they’ll then create a plan tailored to the client which will likely include an exercise regime and a healthy eating plan. They’ll then meet with them regularly, check on their progress, and monitor or accompany them as they exercise. Having a personal trainer is a little like having your own personal cheerleader, they’ll celebrate all your achievements and be delighted when you hit your targets. When lockdown began, record numbers of people began to download the ‘Couch to 5k’ app and began to work on their own personal fitness, so the demand for personal trainers to help continue this journey is also especially high right now. This makes it a great career move for anyone who is devoted to eating healthily and exercising regularly. As a personal trainer, you might work at a gym, or start your own business and work freelance.

How can I become a personal trainer?

Before you consider becoming a personal trainer, it’s vital that you become as fit as you can possibly be. After all, you can’t be giving advice to other people if you aren’t following it yourself! Aside from this, you’ll need to gain a nationally recognised qualification, such as our NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing. This will teach you all of the basics, such as anatomy and physiology, and how to support clients effectively and safely as they exercise. Once you’ve gained this, you’ll be able to register with REPs (the Register of Exercise Professionals) as an instructor. Because most gyms and fitness centres will prefer a level three qualification, you’d likely then choose to study a course such as the NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training, which will give you more advanced knowledge and teach you exactly how to design and deliver training programmes which are tailored to a client’s needs. If you study with us, both of these courses take around a year, though if you have no other commitments, you’ll likely complete them much more quickly. Once you’ve attained level three, you’ll be a fully qualified personal trainer, ready to get to work with clients! How much you earn as a personal trainer will vary depending on the hours you’re willing to put in, as well as which area of the country you live in. On average, most personal trainers earn between £20-£30,000 per year. Having said that, if you gain an excellent reputation, there’s the potential to earn much more.

Beauty therapist

What does a beauty therapist do?

A beauty therapist in a face mask giving a pedicure

Ultimately, a beauty therapist’s job is to make their clients feel great. They administer a wide range of treatments to the face and body, such as facials, manicures, pedicures, spray tans, and much more! They have a strong understanding of anatomy and physiology, so they know which treatments and chemicals are safe, and how to identify adverse reactions and contraindications. A lot of beauty therapists will choose to specialise in an area they particularly enjoy; for instance, some might exclusively offer nail services, some might offer permanent makeup. An important part of their job is staying informed on the latest treatments, because there are always new techniques that clients will want to try! As a beauty therapist, you might work in a salon, a spa, a hotel, or set up your own business and work freelance. A wonderful part of the job is that you often get to see the same clients on a regular basis, so you get the chance to form genuine friendships.

How can I become a beauty therapist?

If you think you’d like to become a beauty therapist but you’ve no idea where to start, it’s a great idea to take course that will give you a well-rounded introduction to the industry, such as our Complete Beauty Course. Here, you’ll learn about anatomy and physiology, and learn how to administer a wide range of treatments such as facials, spray tans, and eyelash extensions. As you study, you’ll likely want to gain experience in a salon, starting in a junior position so that you can learn the ropes. After you’ve gained a good understanding of a range of treatments, you might want to specialise, and gain a qualification in eyebrow threading, brow lamination, or even hot stone massage! Beauty is such an exciting and diverse career, the choices are almost endless. After you’ve gained your qualifications, you might choose to carry on working in a salon, or strike out on your own and work freelance. An advantage of this is that you get to pick your own hours, and fit work around other commitments. Starting out as a beauty therapist, you can expect to earn around £15,00 per year, depending on your location. After you specialise and undertake further qualifications, you might earn £20,000 per year. If you work freelance, put in the hard work and gain a great reputation, there’s the potential to earn a higher salary.

So, if you’re eager to embark on a career in health and wellbeing, hopefully this career guide has given you some inspiration as to where to begin. Before you make any decisions, do your research about what career opportunities are available in your area, and consider volunteering so you can get a taste for the job you’re considering pursuing. Good luck, and remember, we’re always here to help!


Oxbridge are committed to helping anyone unemployed to gain the skills and knowledge needed to find a job. We’ve created a £100,000 fund to subsidise 20% of your course fees for any of our 250+ professional and accredited distance learning courses, ranging from teaching and childcare to counselling and bookkeeping. On top of this, you can enrol on our Job Ready Pack for free, which is a short course covering how to deal with redundancy, create a brilliant CV, and prepare for job interviews.