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What health economics education gets you the job?

A review of education requirements in 150 health economist job profiles.

I reviewed education requirements in 150  health economics job advertisements posted on

First, I divided the health economics roles into three groups:

  1. Analyst,
  2. Manager, and
  3. Director

and then, the education requirements to four levels:

  1. Bachelor’s degrees (BA),
  2. Master’s degree (MSc),
  3. Medical doctor (MD), and
  4. PhD

This is what I found. Please share if you find this useful.

There are not many jobs for bachelor’s degrees

There are not many job openings for persons with a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree in health economics seems to be the minimum entry requirement in the pharmaceutical sector in Europe. If you have a BA and you consider health economics career in the industry, the best move is probably to continue with a health economics master programme.

Health economics master opens doors at all levels

Master’s degree in health economics opens doors at all levels. In most of the analyst- and manager jobs a health economics master is required. For director roles a health economics MSc needs to be combined with several years working experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

PhD is required in 40% of the health economics director roles

A PhD degree is preferred or required in over 40% of the health economics director roles and in a quarter of the manager roles. If your ambition is to become a HEOR director in a pharmaceutical company,  you might consider starting a PhD.

Medical doctors with a health economics degree strike gold

If you are a medical doctor (MD) with a health economics degree, you strike gold. There is a clear demand for MDs with a health economics education, especially in the director roles. If you are a medical doctor, doing a health economics master study could be an excellent career stepping stone in the pharma industry.

Health economics education requirements in analyst, manager and director jobs in pharma
Health economics education requirements in analyst, manager and director jobs in the pharmaceutical industry.

Education level is often not mentioned

Surprisingly, many companies do not even mention the required education level for health economics positions. This is probably because many of the job posts are written by human resources personnel or managers who are not familiar with the health economics job market, and they simply leave the education requirements out.

Is my education level too low?

You should keep in mind, that these are education levels that the companies would like the candidates to have. However, with the current shortage of experienced health economists, there might not be enough candidates who fulfil the education requirements. Therefore, especially if you have a few years of work experience, you should just go for it.

If you found this interesting and useful, please share the post. Thank you.

Jari Kempers
Health economist, PhD
info (a)

Health economics education requirements in the pharmaceutical industry