A dual degree program offering both a Juris Doctor (JD) law degree and a Master’s Degree in Health Care Law or Administration (MHA) combines both law and health care management curriculums. This type of degree program prepares lawyers, hospital administrators and health care facility managers to navigate the legal issues in today’s Healthcare policy. Graduates can practice law and offer health care legal advice to other health care professionals, institutions or organizations. Programs with the dual degree area are designed to develop qualified professionals with solid skills and knowledge in the issues that are related to analysis, planning, design and management of healthcare institutions and organizations. Students completing the program will be prepared to serve local, state and national communities by contributing to healthcare-related discussions relating to health issues, especially those relating to social policy and populations that are at risk. Health care lawyers guide health care facilities, such as hospitals and clinics, and their staff through the legal system.
What Can I Expect to Earn With a JD/MHA Dual Degree?
Salary levels are largely dependent upon the employer and the sector in which you work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Health Care Lawyers earned an average wage $148,480 per year as of May 2011. In 2011, Hospitals paid their lawyers an average of $147,240 per year, although wages varied by funding source and type. Privately owned hospitals offered the highest average wage of $154,140 per year. Hospitals owned by local government paid an average of $131,500 per year. And hospitals owned by state government paid the lowest average wage of $107,830 per year.
What Are Some of the Reasons I Might Want to Pursue a JD/MHA Dual Degree
- High earning potential (lawyers earned an average salary of $130,000 as of 2011)
- Healthcare is one of the highest growth areas in the field of law
- There are a wide range of potential employment settings that include law firms, government agencies, healthcare organizations and companies.
- There is the possibility of the opportunity to combine healthcare with other marketable specialties, such as intellectual property or litigation
What are Some of the Popular Career Options for Graduates With a JD/MHA?
A dual graduate degree in law and health care management allows professionals to find employment with biomedical technology firms, insurance companies, hospitals, health care facilities and public health agencies. Some of the potential careers include:
- Health care insurance attorney
- Health care hospital lawyer or administrator
- Biomedical lawyer
- Health law legislator or policymaker
- Health care law lobbyist
What Kind of Coursework Would be Covered in a JD/MHA Degree Program?
Students learn about health care insurance policies, biomedical industry ethics, long-term care management and physician group partnership issues. A health care law degree program trains students to research health care precedent cases, write legal briefs, litigate health care cases in court and provide health care legal advice to other medical professionals. Other courses include
- Health system management
- Biological diseases
- Health economics
- Healthcare law & regulations
- Environmental health
- Food and drug law
- Malpractice law
- Biotechnology law
Lawyers, including health care lawyers, must start with an undergraduate degree, which takes an average of four years. Helpful degrees include English, government, history and public speaking. Students must then undertake three years of law school, which requires obtaining acceptable scores on the Law School Admissions Test. Finally, lawyers must pass the bar exams of the state in which they want to practice. To maintain their credential, 45 states mandate that lawyers participate in continuing education every one or three years.