Health and Medical Law

Health and medical law professionals deal with topics such as medical malpractice, public emergency health law and medical antitrust law. Read on to learn about education requirements, career prospects and salary info for this field.

Is Health and Medical Law for Me?

Career Overview

This field deals with such areas as emergency preparedness for public health problems, medical malpractice, managed care, healthcare delivery and medical advances. Since the health and medical law field covers a variety of areas, you can focus your expertise according to your interests, which might include insurance law, healthcare services, healthcare management or medical patents.

Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the legal field to expand as fast as the average for all occupations in 2012-2022, but with fierce competition for most positions (www.bls.gov). However, professionals that specialize in areas such as healthcare and medical law should have better job prospects. The BLS also reported that in May of 2013, the median annual salary for lawyers was $114,300.

How Can I Work in Health and Medical Law?

Education Programs

Degrees in medical and health law for non-law professionals include master's degrees in health law. This degree is usually intended for healthcare workers who need an understanding of the governance and regulation of the healthcare industry. The programs are solely educational and do not qualify you to practice law.

Law Degrees

Aspiring lawyers wishing to practice health and medical law may pursue a combined Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Public Health, though a J.D. by itself may be sufficient as well. Lawyers who already possess a J.D. can pursue a Master of Laws (LL.M.) or a Doctor of Judicial Sciences in Health Law (SJD or JSD). Post-graduate certificates in health law are also available. If you wish to practice health or medical law, you also need to pass the bar examination in your state.

Topics of Study

Coursework for all programs includes instruction in health law and policy, bioethics, analysis of healthcare-related legal and policy problems, medical malpractice law, regulation of the human body in society and healthcare antitrust. Programs for aspiring lawyers involve additional coursework, such as constitutional and criminal law, civil court procedures and legal writing, which help train you to practice law in a courtroom.

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