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 Setting Standards for Wellness Certification and Excellence 
by National Wellness Institute - 5/14/2012
Professional certifications and certificate programs in the area of wellness and health promotion are becoming more numerous and varied in specialization and format. But, how do wellness professionals know which certifications apply to them? And, which programs are respected and are offered by organizations with proven track records for excellence in both wellness and in educational training?

The National Wellness Institute (NWI) recognizes the growing importance of wellness certifications and is making strides to set standards for these types of educational programs and certifications to-as the nonprofit organization's mission states-"best serve the professionals and organizations that promote optimal health and wellness in individuals and communities."

"We are fortunate to work in a time when 'wellness' as a term is part of our national dialogue. However, this wealth of wellness resources and offerings has it challenges. The National Wellness Institute believes consumers have a need to understand-and we have an obligation to define-what adequate wellness preparation looks like," said Brandan DuChateau, NWI Executive Director.

In April 2012, NWI established the Council on Wellness Accreditation and Education (CWAE). The CWAE is comprised of international wellness leaders and oversees the process of accreditation for undergraduate health promotion and wellness academic programs, the development of NWI certification and certificate programs, and the review of non-academic wellness-related educational programs. This council, while still in the developmental stage, is already working diligently to bring clarification and a cohesive set of standards to the wellness field.

In addition to its plans to evaluate other organization's programs, NWI offers several of its own certifications. With a nearly four-decade history of providing wellness resources and identifying excellence in the field, NWI is recognized as offering highly respected certifications, from its Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) designation to its most recent worksite wellness certifications.

The CWP designation indicates that wellness professionals (through an application process) and NWI accredited academic program graduates have met a national standard for individual health promotion and wellness practitioners as set by the NWI CWAE. This designation is as unique and broad as NWI. Whereas many other designations and certifications focus on a specific career path, the CWP designation looks at the wellness preparation that might be applied across many different professional pursuits.

At its July 2011 National Wellness Conference (NWC) in Stevens Point, Wis., NWI first offered its Certified Worksite Wellness Specialist (CWWS) training program and certification. The program relies on the most current information and research in the field to deliver the tools required to carry out a successful worksite wellness program. The course differentiates itself from other certifications in that it focuses on the importance of changing the organizational culture to ensure long-term results. More than 200 professionals have already received this designation, and the next program will be offered July 14-15, 2012, at the 37th Annual NWC in Stevens Point.

To assist in the development of its CWWS program, NWI enlisted leading wellness experts George Pfeiffer, MSE, FAWHP; William B. Baun, EPD, FAWHP, CWP; and Judd Allen, PhD, CWP, who have a combined 60-plus years' experience in worksite wellness. Pfeiffer, Baun, and Allen also serve as instructors for the course.

Additionally, Pfeiffer and Baun are faculty for NWI's most recent offering: the Certified Worksite Wellness Program Manager (CWWPM) training program and certification, which will debut July 16-17, 2012, at the 37th Annual NWC. The CWWPM certification is designed for practitioners who are either in a worksite wellness program supervisor or management role, or who are working toward a worksite wellness program supervisor or a management position. This program covers critical competencies in managing the planning, design, implementation, and measurement of a comprehensive worksite wellness/health management program. To qualify for the CWWPM program, individuals must have completed the CWWS certification or have managed a corporate wellness program for three of the past four years.

"The implementation of NWI's CWWPM program is the next critical step in the worksite wellness practitioner's career process. As more and more studies continue to highlight the business case for wellness, this program aims to give wellness practitioners practical business tools as they apply to health promotion in a work environment," said DuChateau.

Both the CWWS and CWWPM certifications require participation in a two-day onsite course and successful completion of the certification exams that conclude each day of training. Individuals who receive a passing grade hold the CWWS or CWWPM designation for three years.

For More Information
Individuals interested in NWI's certifications should visit or call 715.342.2969. For more about the National Wellness Conference, visit or contact the National Wellness Institute at 715.342.2969. Registrations are now being accepted for the July 2012 CWWS and CWWPM programs. Space is limited; early registration is recommended.

Founded in 1977, the National Wellness Institute Inc., was formed to realize the mission of providing health promotion and wellness professionals unparalleled resources and services that support professional and personal growth. Enthusiasm drives the vision and mission of NWI today-to promote the understanding of the dynamic factors that contribute to health and well-being as they emerge through research and practice; to share and develop strategies to positively influence those factors that support a worldwide population with healthy, balanced lifestyles; and to serve the professionals and organizations that promote optimal health and wellness in individuals and communities. For more than nearly four decades, the National Wellness Conference has been recognized as the destination conference for individuals seeking professional development and personal renewal. For more information, call 715-342-2969, e-mail, or visit

Provided by National Wellness Institute on 5/14/2012
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