Laura Kuglitsch is a personal trainer, group fitness trainer, and health coach. Like many fitness instructors, she also holds a full-time job. As someone who “lives and breathes” health and wellness, she wanted to use her career to bring fitness to a larger audience—to the tune of 12,000.
Laura is the senior health coach for Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As part of the internal wellness team for the organization, Laura is very busy. “One of the nice things about my job is I get to wear a lot of hats,” she says. Her role allows her to facilitate fitness classes and wellness challenges for 12,000 employees. Health coaching is a service offered to all Froedtert employees, and Laura helps them find general wellness information, develop fitness goals and begin an exercise program. As they progress, she guides and motivates them, promising, “I will always be in their corner, cheering them on and saying, ‘It will take time, hard work and dedication, but when you reach that goal, it will be worth it.’”
She is able to transition easily from her daily work to teaching her cycling and strength group classes three nights a week; rather than having a career that detracts from her love of fitness, she’s found one that supplements it. What she learns every day at work, she is able to transfer to her clients outside of the office—and vice versa.
So how was Laura able to turn her part-time passion into a full-time role? After high school, she majored in kinesiology—but she knew that as a busy adult, there was no way she’d be able to attend an on-site, full-time program. So, in order to advance her career and provide fitness and health expertise on an even larger scale, she’s pursuing a Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management online from the University of Wisconsin. Laura says, “I looked into so many master’s programs after finishing my undergraduate degree in kinesiology,” she says. “But I just couldn’t find that fit.”
The fit Laura is talking about has to do not only with how directly applicable the Health and Wellness Management curriculum is to her career, but also with the flexibility and convenience of an online degree. “The draw of the online program was that I can continue to work and teach classes, come home and still get my schoolwork done. Otherwise, I would have had to give up teaching classes, which is something I love doing.” In December 2018, 2 years from her first day of “class,” Laura will graduate with her master’s degree.
Her next career move? “I’m hoping this will lead me to a leadership role. I’ve already learned so much about strategic initiatives, goal-setting, program development and other things from my courses. I’ve had so many lightbulb moments about how I can directly apply the knowledge at work!”
From her early teenage days at the gym, just learning about fitness and healthy lifestyle habits, to her nights and weekends training small groups, Laura never imagined she was building the foundation for a lifelong career. But with the right education, she was able to choose roles that allow her to live her passion—and share it with thousands. If you’re a fitness professional who would like to expand your career, check out the bachelor’s and master’s degree options in Health and Wellness Management from the University of Wisconsin—and soon you, too, can inspire thousands.Learn more now—download a degree guide.