Consider a Concentration, Joint Degree for a Career in Healthcare Law Information on law admissions

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While the United States Senate is still considering its options to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the national debate over health care continues. And seasoned health advocates will be an integral part of the ongoing policy changes.

However, health law goes far beyond health insurance coverage. This dynamic field covers topics ranging from reproductive health to food and drug regulation to bioethics and more.

Prospective law students who pursue careers in healthcare law will find themselves in demand after graduation. Here’s how to find the right law school that will prepare you for a successful career.

If you are seriously considering a career in healthcare law, target schools with a proven track record in preparing their students for work in the healthcare community. In particular, pay attention to concentrations or offers of joint degrees.

Whether or not you choose to participate, these programs typically offer in-depth courses in health law, as well as health law networks and clerkship opportunities to help you achieve your career goals. The Center for Health Law Studies at St. Louis University Law School and the University of Virginia Law School, for example, offer students the opportunity to focus on health law. health or to pursue several offers of joint degrees.

Typically, a concentration in health law does not require a separate application to law school. However, if you already know that you intend to pursue a career in healthcare law, establish these grounds in your application via your personal statement. Take this opportunity to demonstrate your experience in the field and articulate your goals for the future.

In contrast, a joint degree program involves coordination with academic programs outside the law school. You will likely need to meet the entrance requirements for the second degree program, which may involve taking the GRE or other standardized tests and demonstrating relevant work experience.

Applying to two different study programs simultaneously means that you will need to be admitted to both, which can make the application process more intimidating. Alternatively, you can apply for a joint degree once you have been admitted to law school. Harvard University, for example, recommends that applicants wait until their first semester of law school to apply for the joint degree program in order to gain more experience in the health field.

JD students looking to focus their degree may take health law courses and may need to meet additional requirements, such as writing a research paper or completing an accredited internship.

While students at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University wishing to focus on health law are not required to follow a particular path, the law school guides students by organizing courses in specialized practices. For example, a student interested in pharmaceuticals might enroll in courses in administrative law, food and drug law, health care financing, and patents.

Meeting the requirements for a second degree depends on the degree you are pursuing. At the very least, graduation will require taking additional courses, earning residency credits, and conducting research.

Typically, students pursuing a joint degree will complete their first year of law school and then enroll in courses outside of law school starting in their second year.

Time to graduation

While students may complete a concentration in conjunction with the JD requirements, a joint program may require longer for completion.

For example, students seeking a JD-Ph.D from St. Louis Law and the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics should expect to spend at least five years to graduate. The University of Virginia JD / MD program takes six years, but keep in mind that graduating from law and medical schools separately would take seven years.

More typical, however, is a joint JD / MPH – like the one offered by the University of California, Los Angeles – which typically takes four years. Because the departments work together to reduce the credits normally required if the courses were taken in sequence, you can get a joint degree in less time.

Postgraduate opportunities

Law students graduating with a concentration in healthcare law are prepared to work in the public sector or as lawyers who represent individuals or providers and healthcare systems or to advise companies on regulatory changes. .

Recipients of the Loyola University Chicago School of Law Certificate in Health Law can boast of skills such as analysis of entitlement-to-care situations in hospitals, familiarity with the healthcare structures of companies and institutions. nonprofit organizations and knowledge of federal and state roles in health care regulation.

One of the main advantages of a second degree is to formalize your interdisciplinary approach to your education. Such a diverse education appeals to potential employers.

If you want to work in the health care policy arena, a joint JD / MPH can give you a significant advantage, according to Harvard’s “Health Law: A Career Guide”. The degree increases your credibility with healthcare insiders because you will be an insider yourself.

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