Institutions of higher learning do not offer associate's degree programs in health policy. Students interested in the field should enroll in a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Health Policy program. These programs are often interdisciplinary, combining courses from business administration, health sciences and liberal arts.
Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in health policy are expected to gain an understanding of how the U.S. healthcare system is organized. They learn about legal, ethical, financial and political issues that affect policies in the healthcare system. They also learn how to use business management and organizational skills to create and implement new policies designed to increase the quality of healthcare while lowering its cost. Applicants must have a high school diploma, and meet minimum GPA and test score requirements. Real world work or volunteer experience all can factor into admittance. Prerequisite mathematics and English courses may also be necessary.
Bachelor's Degree in Health Policy
The core courses included within a bachelor's degree program in health policy concentrate on those financial, ethical and practical issues that dictate the organization and distribution of health services. Some specific examples are:
- Health services delivery and systems management
- Healthcare financial management
- Population and policy issues
- Professional development in health policy
- Health policy administration
- Law and ethics in health administration
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree in health policy can actually prepare graduates for administrative and policy-making positions in several different areas of the healthcare field. Some of these areas include:
- Hospitals and medical facilities
- Healthcare research institutions
- Local, state and federal healthcare agencies
- Health insurance companies
- Medical group practices
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide job outlook information for healthcare policy workers, it does provide information for healthcare administrators. From 2014-2024, healthcare managers were projected to see a 17% increase in employment opportunities. The mean annual wages for these workers were $106,070 in 2015.
Graduates of an undergraduate degree program in health policy who are interested in pursuing continuing education options might consider enrolling in a post-baccalaureate health policy certificate program or a Master of Science in Health Policy degree program. Completion of the degree or certificate program could prepare individuals for positions as directors, researchers and consultants in the field of health policy. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in the field are ideal for students interested in pursuing research or gaining a position in academia.
Bachelor of Science in Health Policy courses cover related topics, such as healthcare accounting, legal and ethical matters, policy development, and systems management. Students will also develop business skills and learn about the inner-workings of the nation's healthcare system.