Career Options for Health Economists

Career Prospects

The current job outlook for health economists is extremely promising. This stems from the wide spectrum of opportunities available in this field. Health economists can find fulfilling careers across various sectors, including hospitals, academia and research, universities, health insurance corporations, pharmaceutical companies, governmental bodies, and even international organisations.

Whether you’re passionate about research, policy, or practical applications, a career in health economics offers a diverse and impactful path.

Career at OHE

Educational requirements

While becoming a health economist usually requires a bachelor’s degree in economics at the very minimum, the competitiveness of the field usually requires an advanced graduate degree. Since health economists must possess knowledge on issues that range from economics and political science to management,  epidemiology, health systems, and public health issues, it is typically suggested that students pursue a master’s degree in health economics, economics, healthcare management, health policy, or public health for the best career opportunities. To excel in research, health economists must also refine their mathematical and analytical abilities to grasp intricate economic principles

Salaries typically vary depending on the sector and level of seniority but generally speaking, the business side of health care tends to provide some of the highest salaries in health care – sometimes surpassing those of physicians.

Job Description

Health economics is one of those rapidly growing fields that links up business with health care. Health economists are vital healthcare professionals who are given the task of investigating how resources should be used and distributed in healthcare to maintain optimal efficiency. Health economists apply the theories of production, efficiency, disparities, regulation, and competition to better inform healthcare organisations on the most equitable course of action. Working both in the public and private sector, health economists are specially trained to apply these tools of economic evaluation to healthcare markets, healthcare programs, public health policies, and healthcare interventions. Apart from working in hospital settings, health economists are commonly found in universities, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, government agencies, consultancy firms, and public health local or international organisations.

Potential roles for health economists include:

  • Health Economist
  • Health Policy Analyst
  • Market Access Manager
  • Health Services Researcher
  • Health Data Analyst
  • Economic Consultant
  • Pharmaceutical Pricing Specialist
  • Health Program Evaluator 

Navigating Industry Options

The following guide assists individuals keen on exploring the myriad of industry opportunities within the field of health economics.

  • Academia and Research Institutions

    A career as a health economist in academia offers a rich and intellectually stimulating environment with a focus on research, teaching, and contributing to the academic discourse. In this setting, you can expect to conduct cutting-edge research to address pressing issues in health economics, exploring novel methodologies and contributing to the academic literature.

    Your responsibilities may include teaching students at various levels, mentoring graduate students, and engaging in collaborative research projects with colleagues and external partners. Academia provides a platform to influence future generations of health economists, fostering critical thinking and analytical skills.

    Furthermore, you may have the opportunity to participate in policy discussions and provide expert insights to inform public health decisions. The flexibility to pursue your research interests and the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration are significant advantages of an academic career.

    While academic positions often come with the pressure of securing research funding and publishing, the rewards include the chance to shape the field, inspire the next generation of professionals, and contribute to evidence-based policy and practice. Overall, a career as a health economist in academia offers a fulfilling and intellectually rewarding path.

  • Charity 

    A career as a health economist in a charity setting offers a unique opportunity to contribute meaningfully to public health and social welfare. In this role, you can expect to apply your economic expertise to address health-related challenges, focusing on projects aligned with the charitable organisation’s mission.

    Responsibilities may include conducting cost-effectiveness analyses, evaluating healthcare interventions, and advocating for evidence-based policies. Working closely with stakeholders, including donors and community partners, you’ll have the chance to make a direct impact on improving health outcomes and addressing health inequalities. This career path also often emphasises social responsibility, requiring strong communication skills to convey economic insights to diverse audiences.

    Overall, a career as a health economist in a charity provides a fulfilling avenue for professionals dedicated to leveraging economic principles for the greater good of society.

  • Consultancy

    A career as a health economist in a consultancy promises dynamic and challenging opportunities. Working in this setting, you can expect to apply economic principles to healthcare challenges, collaborating with multidisciplinary teams to provide valuable insights.

    Your role may involve conducting economic evaluations, market analyses, and policy assessments, contributing to strategic decision-making for clients in the healthcare industry. The fast-paced consultancy environment often demands adaptability, effective communication, and the ability to translate complex economic concepts into actionable recommendations.

    With diverse projects and clients, a career as a health economist in a consultancy offers a stimulating path for professionals seeking to make a tangible impact in the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare economics.

  • Government and Public Health Agencies

    A career as a health economist in government offers a compelling blend of public service and policy impact. Working in this capacity, you can anticipate engaging in the design and evaluation of healthcare policies, contributing to evidence-based decision-making that directly affects public health.

    Your responsibilities may include conducting economic analyses to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare interventions, formulating budgetary recommendations, and providing critical insights for healthcare reform initiatives. Collaboration with various stakeholders, such as policymakers, public health officials, and community representatives, is integral to shaping policies that address societal health challenges. The dynamic nature of government work often demands adaptability and the ability to navigate complex political landscapes.

    Overall, a career as a health economist in government offers the chance to influence systemic change, improve population health outcomes, and contribute to the broader well-being of communities.

  • Healthcare Providers and Systems

    A career as a health economist in public health promises a dynamic and impactful role at the intersection of healthcare, economics, and societal well-being. In this setting, you can expect to contribute to evidence-based decision-making by assessing the economic aspects of public health interventions and policies.

    Your responsibilities may include conducting cost-effectiveness analyses, resource allocation assessments, and economic evaluations of health programs. Collaboration with public health professionals, policymakers, and community stakeholders is integral to shaping interventions that address health disparities and promote population health. Working in public health offers the opportunity to directly impact communities, influence health policy, and contribute to the prevention and control of diseases.

    Your role may involve advocating for effective health policies, developing strategies for healthcare delivery, and analysing health outcomes to inform public health priorities. The multidisciplinary nature of public health encourages collaboration with epidemiologists, social scientists, and healthcare providers, creating a diverse and collaborative work environment.

    Overall, a career as a health economist in public health provides a rewarding opportunity to make a positive difference in the health and well-being of populations.