You’ll find that jobs in healthcare law are available at all levels of legal and medical education. Healthcare law jobs are available for attorneys who want to work in the civil litigation side of healthcare and jobs in healthcare law are available for paralegals who want to start their legal career with a medical focus. Medical professionals who want to work in the legal field can find employment working for law firms and private employers who need employees with the combined skills. Some healthcare law roles don’t require medical experience while other healthcare law jobs place a value on the combination of medical and legal education and experience.
What Are the Most Common Healthcare Law Jobs and What Do They Do?
The most common types of healthcare law jobs are:
- Healthcare paralegal
- Legal nurse consultant
- Nurse paralegal
- Medical attorney
- Hospital paralegal
Each role fulfills a specific need in the healthcare law field. All of these healthcare law jobs are found in law firms and private employers that need staff with medical-legal training and experience in both positions. Here’s a look at the duties and expectations of each role:
A healthcare paralegal is a paralegal with training in healthcare education or is a healthcare professional that has earned their paralegal certificate. Their primary duties are to interpret medical language when necessary, look for failure to follow federal and state health laws, perform research relevant to the case, liaise with clients, and aid attorneys.
Legal Nurse Consultant
A legal nurse consultant is an RN, BSN, or MSN who has taken some legal courses to enable them to work as consultants for attorneys or employers who are in need of a medical professional who can interpret medical information for legal purposes. A legal nurse consultant can work independently as a consultant for work in-house for a law firm or private employer.
The nurse paralegal is similar to the legal nurse consultant in that the nurse is either an RN, BSN or MSN, but earns their paralegal certificate or degree. A nurse paralegal usually finds employment in law firms that focus on medical cases, but are also hired in the healthcare and insurance industries.
The title of medical attorney covers a broad category of lawyers who work in medical law. A medical attorney can find work in law firms that take on medical malpractice cases, lawsuits for defective medical devices or find work in the legislative field crafting new laws for healthcare and refining existing laws. Healthcare regulatory law jobs offer a unique opportunity for a lawyer to make use of their law degree while working for the public’s benefit.
What’s the Employment Outlook for Healthcare Law Jobs?
The employment outlook for healthcare law jobs is good to excellent depending on which field of healthcare law you’re looking to enter. Specialization in any aspect of the law field helps improve your career trajectory, but healthcare law is growing due to large populations that need healthcare throughout their lives. Baby Boomers and Millennials are two large population cohorts that require medical care. As each population ages, the need for medical care increases along with the risk of malpractice and other healthcare issues that can require the need for legal help. Someone who enters the medical-legal field in the near future can expect to have a solid career in one of the many healthcare law employment titles.
How Much Can I Make Working in Healthcare Law?
The average salary for working in healthcare law depends on the area of medical-legal employment you choose to enter. Someone who earns their juris doctorate to become an attorney can earn an average salary of $122,960 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s worth noting that the medical lawyer stands to earn more due to the specialized nature of the work. A lawyer who works in medical law is required to have knowledge specific to the medical field and has to earn that knowledge through schooling and/or experience.
Salaries for other healthcare law jobs range from $52,000 for a healthcare paralegal to $78,000 for a legal nurse consultant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not break down the pay scales for specialized legal professions like the healthcare paralegal, nurse paralegal or legal nurse consultant, but once again, the specialized nature of the role usually results in higher earning potential. The field of healthcare law requires education in both medical and legal fields, something that can take years to acquire. Employers recognize this fact and offer salaries that are in accordance with the educational and experience requirements of the role.