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Health Law Degree

Promoting public health is one of the main duties of any government. The U.S. healthcare industry is highly regulated that brings into focus the nation’s health law.  All healthcare institutions must abide by the laws set by the state, and exercise their powers within ethical and legal boundaries. These laws are designed to make sure healthcare services are provided to people in a standardized manner, and to enable the public to seek legal assistance or guidance in the event of any malpractice or misconduct.
The field of health law has attracted many individuals who wish to become a part of the rapidly growing healthcare industry. Apart from legal practice, individuals can pursue a variety of careers related to policy-work, legal advising and consulting, in-house counseling, philanthropy, administration, and more.

Health Law Degree Programs

If you are interested in this field, and want to combine legal and healthcare skills, you can choose from graduate and post-graduate degrees. Many universities are offering health law programs that are aimed at preparing students for careers in this field. A health law degree is needed for most careers in this growing sector of the healthcare industry. When selecting a school, make sure the school is accredited by a regional board.

Masters in Health Law

This is a graduate-level degree that takes around 2 years to complete. Individuals must have a bachelor’s degree for admission into this degree. The program is designed to provide students with in-depth knowledge of the processes, issues, and legal concepts that create the framework of the nation’s health law. Students will be given the opportunity to study the basics of health law in detail and acquire familiarity with legal terminology. The curriculum covers a wide range of advanced topics that highlight the healthcare industry and it’s functioning under state laws. The main objectives of the program are:

  • Understanding legal citations, administrative codes, and case laws
  • Conducting legal research and identifying complex legal issues in the healthcare industry
  • Defining and applying applicable statutory law and codes
  • Developing strong communication skills, research skills, and analysis skills


The curriculum may vary from college to college. Students will generally cover fundamental courses in the initial phase of the program, and move on to more advanced and research-based courses further in the program. Here are some of the important areas one may study:

  • Administrative law

In this course, students will learn about the administrative laws that govern the healthcare industry. The course will cover the types of laws, their implications, effects, and sources.

  • Legal perspective on health care ethics

This course will allow students to explore the principles of ethics for healthcare providers. Students will analyze various ethical issues arising in healthcare institutions.

  • Law of patients’ rights and advocacy

Students will learn about patients’ rights and legal statutes. The course will cover fundamental aspects of patients’ right movements and their contribution to the development of health law.

  • Pharmaceutical law

This course is dedicated to the study of the regulatory and legal issues related to the pharmaceutical law. The course will examine various topics such as drug distribution, licensing and certification, dispensing, drug promotion, FDA, and malpractice.

Certificate in Health Law

A health law certificate is a non-degree program that can help you upgrade your skill set and take your career to the next level. Certificate programs are designed to provide individuals with career-oriented knowledge. Many employers prefer job applicants with a professional certificate.
The certificate program in health law will provide students with competencies that can be applied to a range of health law settings. The curriculum entails a range of courses that highlight important aspects of the field. Students learn about the latest trends and developments in health law. Here are some of the important courses covered in the program:

  • Health law: quality of care and liability

This course will examine the regulatory and legal systems of healthcare industries. Students will cover important topics such as professional licensure, tort system, managed care liability, public health systems, and more.

  • Public health law and ethics

In this course, students will learn about the governmental powers and limits with regards to healthcare delivery and ethics. The course will focus on areas such as privacy and surveillance, compulsory treatment, vaccination, public health research, and more.

  • Constitutional law

This course will introduce students to the doctrines, philosophies, and the framework of the government. Students will learn about the powers of the Supreme Court, drafting of the constitution, and its interpretation.

  • Elder law

This course is designed to cover the legal and health issues of the elder population in the United States. The course will examine various topics such as conservatorship, elder abuse, advocacy issues, and health care needs.
The duration of a health law certificate program will vary from college to college. Typically the program takes around 6-8 months to complete. 

Is Online Education for you?

If you are working and cannot manage your educational interests side by side, online education may be a suitable alternative. A few schools are offering certificate programs and masters in health law online. You can conveniently study according to your own schedule without having to compromise your job. Online learning comes with many benefits such as:

  • Low costs – Minimum textbooks or travelling expenditure
  • Convenient
  • Flexible coursework
  • Individualized attention

Admission Requirements

The requirements for getting enrolled in health law courses will vary from institute to institute. Students applying for admission in a master’s degree in health law will need a bachelor’s degree whereas a certificate program has no such strict requirements. Here are some of the requirements to expect:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5
  • Personal essay
  • Admission application

Career Prospects

The career opportunities for individuals with a degree in health law are dynamic and diverse. Graduates can choose to work in healthcare institutions, welfare agencies, government, and more. According to O*NET OnLine, medical and health services managers made a median annual income of $92,810 in 2014 whereas healthcare social workers made $51,930.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What sort of health law courses are available?

A:There is a wide variety of health law courses available in the education market. These include health law, drug products liability, healthcare fraud and abuse, food and drug law, health care mergers and acquisitions, medical liability and public health, health care corporate compliance and governance, intellectual property and healthcare, pharmaceuticals and the law, privacy and health information technology and so on.

Q:What is a health law certificate?

A:A health law certificate is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of health care law and regulation in the US, including health care access and financing, US public health programs and regulations and the huge number of changes that have been experienced by the healthcare market due to the introduction of the 2014 Affordable Care Act.

Q:What are health law programs?

A:Health law programs give students the opportunity to enrich their health law coursework with a wide range of subjects in areas such as health policy and management, ethics, global health, health economics, social and behavioral health, research methodology and environmental health. Students might also have the option of choosing a concentration in generalist practice and research, law and ethics, public health sites and health policy.

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