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Career Profile: Health Policy Specialist

Why Is a Health Policy Specialist a Job of Tomorrow?
With the federal health insurance reform law a hot-button topic on the news and in political campaigns, the question of how the policy will affect care is on many people’s minds. Health policy specialists will see a rise in attention and repute as people turn to them for answers and explanations. Employment positions for
health educators, which include health policy specialists, are forecast to grow 26 percent by 2016, a faster growth rate than the average for all U.S. occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary for health policy specialists is $77,700.

What Does a Health Policy Specialist Do?
Health policy specialists work with the government, nonprofits and the health care industry to figure out how to give more people health insurance coverage with a limited amount of funding and resources. The health care industry faces a crisis in coverage, and the government is attempting to figure out which way to approach and alleviate the crisis of far too few Americans being covered by health insurance and the seemingly unstoppable rise in medical costs. Health policy specialists are the go-to experts in these situations. They are responsible for dealing with the many facets of health care reform, such as issues of who should get treatment, who should be denied it and what other parameters should be in place to allow the health care system to run smoothly.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Health Policy Specialist?
Health policy specialists generally have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a health care field. A bachelor’s would take about four years to earn, and those going on to obtain a master’s would require an additional two to three years of schooling. After earning a degree from a reputable university, health policy specialists can look for entry-level positions within a health care organization, nonprofit group or the government. From there, the new hire can work his or her way up to acting as the health policy consultant for the entity.

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