Help Define the Future of Health Law and Policy with Your Master's Degree.Learn More
Help Define the Future of Health Law and Policy with Your Master's Degree.Learn More
With 20% of law graduates from 2010 currently working in positions that don’t actually require them to have a law license,  job prospects are dire for newly qualified lawyers.
In contrast, the health care industry is thriving, with its job market expected to grow 19% between 2014 and 2024. 
Professional health law and policy positions are in particularly high demand, and there’s little wonder with the future of health care in the United States up in the air.
Specializing in health law and policy can be an attractive prospect for lawyers in need of an edge in a competitive job market. Health professionals, too, could improve their career prospects with a health law and policy degree, which can equip them with the knowledge needed to win higher-paying management and decision-making positions.
Most importantly, though, a health law and policy master’s degree could give individuals the chance to shape the future of American health care and influence positive change.
Higher salaries and job stability
The health care industry offers some of the best-paying careers, the most job stability, and the most growth potential.  There are 784,626 health care companies currently operating in the U.S., and together they currently employ approximately 16.7 million.  Jobs in health care are expected to grow by 19% from 2014 to 2024,  indicative of the myriad job opportunities and the job stability over the coming years.
Health care faces a lot of challenges. With new health care systems and advanced technology on the horizon, health care organizations must be prepared for the legal policies that accompany these changes.  That means health care professionals with an expansive body of knowledge in health law and policy are in constant demand.  With a Master of Health Law and Policy degree, health care and legal professionals can fill that need. A master’s in health law and policy can help you become better equipped for reaching top-level positions that offer higher salaries and more responsibility.
Working in the health care industry allows individuals to serve others and can be an incredibly rewarding career. Undertaking a degree in health law and policy can allow health care or legal professionals to become advocates for positive change at any level in the health care system.
A degree for diverse backgrounds
Based on several online programs, health law and policy degree programs are open to students holding a medical, health care, legal, or related undergraduate degree. They are versatile degrees suitable for people with a wide range of previous education levels and professional experiences.
For a health care professional, a master’s in health law and policy can help him or her speak the language of the law in order to utilize medical knowledge and people skills in positions that can influence policy change and reform. Upon graduation, individuals should be well-equipped for dealing with compliance requirements, navigating complex legislation, and using their expertise to drive changes that will improve the health and well-being of the public.
The degree program allows legal professionals to develop a deeper understanding of the complex health care industry in order to carve out a specialized career in health law. The legal industry is highly competitive, and by specializing in an area such as health care, legal professionals can set themselves apart and take on highly complex cases and clients.
Return on investment of master’s in health law and policy
Employment growth and job security are very high for health care industry jobs, with the BLS projecting the health care and social assistance labor force to grow by more than 19% from 2014 to 2024.  This is significantly faster than the average 6.5% employment growth rate for all sectors. With health care professionals in high demand, it can certainly pay to invest in a health law and policy master’s degree now in order to access the highest paying positions within the industry.
For many legal professionals, a master’s in health law and policy can give them an edge in a stagnant job market. Legal occupations as a whole are expected to grow by just 5% from 2014 to 2024, which is slower than the national average.  Health law roles, on the other hand, are growing much faster.
In fact, the professional settings in which health law professionals are able to work is expanding beyond law firms and into insurance companies, government agencies, hospitals, and other health care organizations.  This is mostly due to health care expansion and upcoming legal changes which is driving a demand for health law professionals. 
Support lawyers within law firms, health service legal departments, and government agencies. Common tasks include drafting legal documents, conducting research, and performing administrative duties.
Facilitate negotiations between disputing parties in order to resolve conflict outside of court.
Plan, direct, and manage medical and health services in line with health care law, regulations, and technology. They usually work for hospital facilities or medical practices, or manage specific departments or geographical areas.
Improve the health of individuals and communities by creating and implementing strategies based on data collection. Typically, they will work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, colleges, nonprofit organizations, government, or private businesses.
Coordinate and oversee social service programs and help manage staff who provide public social services. Many positions are within nonprofit organizations, private social service companies, and government agencies.
Students earning a Master of Health Law and Policy can expect to develop a well-rounded understanding of the American legal system and the way it interacts with health law and policy. Curricula are designed to help students develop their knowledge of existing laws, policies, regulations, and compliance; learn about the U.S. health care system; and gain knowledge of health care administration and business principles in a health care setting.
Based on a survey of program curricula, typical core courses include:
The length of an online master’s degree program can depend on a number of variables, perhaps the most prominent of which is the pace at which you choose to study. You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two to three years if you choose to study full-time, although some accelerated programs may be able to help you finish more quickly.
Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part-time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.
You can find more information on this topic at our program length overview page.
How many courses are required?
Master of Health Law and Policy programs will typically require between eight and 12 courses, comprising about 24-32 semester credit hours. Your program’s composition will vary, but likely components of the curriculum include required or core courses, elective courses, and a capstone or experiential learning option.
While each program will set its admission requirements based on its own criteria, many requirements are universal across all programs. No matter where you apply, you can expect to provide items like transcripts from previous degrees or coursework; standardized test scores; a personal statement or essay; letters of recommendation; and an overview of relevant work experience.
In certain cases, some of these requirements may be waived.
For more information about admissions, please visit our admissions requirements page.
There are many master’s degrees that are closely related to the Master of Health Law and Policy degree, and potential applicants are encouraged to explore their options and choose the program that best suits their career goals.
This internationally recognized degree may be a good choice for those with an undergraduate degree who want to specialize in health law. Compared to the Master of Health Law and Policy degree, it focuses more on the legality of health care rather than policy, health care administration, and business.
Much like the LLM in Health Law, this degree program offers highly specialized legal education, but in this case, the focus is on the wider arena of health law and policy.
This degree is suitable for individuals who wish to study general law issues and do not wish to become an attorney. Health law is usually covered within these programs, but it is not the primary focus of the degree.
Designed to enhance knowledge of highly specialized health law, this degree may be suitable for business professionals who would like to gain a better understanding of health law in order to reach higher-level executive positions.
MA degrees tend to be heavily research- and discussion-based, and often they do not require a thesis like MS degrees might. The core courses and electives of the MA in Health Law and Policy may not be dramatically different than what you might find in an MS in Health Law and Policy degree, but the delivery of education and the type of assignments may differ.
This degree focuses on the administrative aspects of health care and is best suited to individuals who want to achieve managerial or consultant positions in hospitals and health service organizations. Health policy is covered in these programs to an extent, but not in as much detail as in the master’s in health law and policy.
Designed to give a more hands-on learning experience, the Master of Science in Health Policy degree can help students develop analytical and quantitative skills within the health policy sector. It takes a more critical, research-based approach to health policy than the Master of Health and Law Policy degree does. The MS in Health Policy may suit individuals who aspire to work in research-based positions upon graduation.
The following organizations and resources may be of huge value to health law and policy students, both during their studies and throughout their careers:
The ABA is a very important resource for legal professionals and provides a wide range of services, from accrediting law schools to helping law professionals find new jobs. Membership is open not only to lawyers and law students, but also to anyone else interested in the legal profession and the law in general. 
Part of the Department of Health and Human Services, CMS administers various health care programs, including Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM). Their website has a range of valuable resources that may prove helpful to health law and policy students, both throughout their education and during their subsequent careers. 
As the leading journal on health policy, Health Affairs is an incredibly valuable resource for health law students and professionals. Although anyone can read articles published three or more years ago, more current articles can only be viewed by subscribers. Some universities may have licenses that allow their enrolled students unrestricted access to the journal. 
Although a health law and policy master’s degree can provide a solid education on the legal aspects of health care, it does not qualify graduates as lawyers. Individuals who would like to become lawyers will have to earn a JD or LLB degree in order to qualify for the bar exam.
The health law and policy master’s doesn’t typically require residencies or provide hands-on health care training of any kind. The program can help supplement your knowledge of and experience in a field like social work or senior nursing, but it won’t prepare you for the relevant licensure. You’ll need to get licensed through other means.
There are a number of factors that can greatly affect how much your education will cost. These include whether you attend a public or private institution; whether you attend as an in-state or out-of-state student; and whether you qualify for financial aid like grants or scholarships.
For a more detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other financial issues, please visit our tuition and fees page.