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Walmart adds health care to Live Better U’s offerings

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New degrees will provide associates with a path to health care careers

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Less than two weeks after providing a first glimpse into its pioneering “Walmart Health’ concept, the company has unveiled a plan to train associates for occupations in health care.

Beginning September 24, Walmart’s 1.5 million associates in the United States can apply for one of seven bachelor’s degrees and two career diplomas in health-related fields through the company’s education benefits program, Live Better U.

Enrollees will pay $1 a day for an education that can lead to higher-paying jobs, the company said in a statement.

“We don’t know of any other retailer in America that has a program that allows its associates the opportunity to achieve a degree in health care that can translate into a higher-paying job within the company or in the broader field,” said Drew Holler, senior vice president of associate experience at Walmart’s U.S. division.

Walmart earlier this month held a grand opening for its new health format in Dallas, Ga., where the new Walmart Health center is attached to a freshly remodeled Supercenter.

By partnering with local providers, Walmart said the new health center will deliver services involving primary care, labs, EKG, dental, optical, hearing, fitness and nutrition, as well as health insurance education and enrollment. The health centers will offer low, transparent pricing for key health services to provide great care at a value, regardless of insurance coverage, the company said.

In announcing the new occupational training through Live Better U, Walmart noted that the new educational offerings will arm associates with training to fill critical health care roles across Walmart and Sam’s Club, which includes more than 5,000 retail pharmacies, 3,000 vision centers and 400 hearing centers, as well as the new Walmart Health center in Georgia.

The training could also help Walmart hold down costs of providing health care, the company said. Physicians, pharmacy managers, dentists and pharmacists were the top four occupations in terms of annual pay in a recent survey from Glassdoor, the job search site that lets current and former employees anonymously share company details such as salary details. Physicians topped the Glassdoor list, with an annual salary of $193,415. The first tech job on the list, enterprise architect, pays $122,585, Glassdoor reported.

Live Better U has more than 50 programs for Walmart’s U.S. associates. The company noted that the new health and wellness courses are especially timely given projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for health sector growth of 18% between 2016 and 2026.

The health and wellness courses include career diploma programs for pharmacy technicians and opticians through Penn Foster, and seven bachelor’s degrees in health science, health and wellness and healthcare management/administration offered through Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Bellevue University and Wilmington University.

“Walmart’s Live Better U is quickly leading the pack as one of the most innovative corporate-sponsored education programs in the country,” said Rachel Carlson, chief executive officer of Guild Education, Walmart’s education benefit partner. “We’ve been proud partners in supporting Walmart’s goal of making their program accessible to all associates and aligned with advancement in the company or beyond. By expanding the program into healthcare fields, Walmart is ensuring associates can continue to pursue their dreams while making meaningful advancements in their careers.”


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