How to Become a Health Policy Analyst

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Master of Public Health

A health policy analyst discusses data on a laptop with stakeholders.Health policy analysts play a critical role in the development of public health policy, which includes guidelines, regulations, and rules to help safeguard public health. Analysts identify issues, collect and analyze data, and provide evidence-based recommendations. Decision-makers then implement public health policies based on these recommendations.

The impact of health policy analysts could be seen in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Data from KFF reveals that at the outset of the vaccine program, white individuals were more likely to receive the vaccine than Black and Hispanic individuals. However, thanks to changes to public health policies, such as expanding booster shot eligibility and authorizing vaccines for younger people, those disparities improved over time.

For individuals looking to make an impact on public health as health policy analysts, advanced degree programs in public health, such as a Master of Public Health (MPH), can equip them with the skills and knowledge to excel in the role.

What Is a Health Policy Analyst?

Health policy analysts possess a comprehensive understanding of various health policy issues, including health care access, cost, and delivery. Their analysis often includes investigating privacy; rules and regulations; and the broader impact of social, environmental, and economic factors on health.

Health policy analysts often dive deep into a wide range of health topics that can have far-reaching impacts. Some examples include the following:

  • Health policy analysts studying the shift in the use of post-acute care from skilled nursing facilities to home health among Medicare beneficiaries can examine its impact on various subpopulations. They can evaluate the health outcomes and Medicare spending associated with this sudden shift, which was observed during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • A study published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities revealed that the pandemic had a greater negative impact on the mental health of certain racial and ethnic populations in the U.S. than their white counterparts due to inequities in access to mental health care. In this example, a health policy analyst may conduct research about mental health policy and recommend approaches to address these inequities.

Typical employers for health policy analysts include government agencies, health care systems, health foundations, and research institutions.

Health Policy Analyst Skills and Responsibilities

Health policy analysts produce unbiased public health policy recommendations. They keep track of various health policy topics and provide briefings to decision-makers. In their daily roles, they often collaborate with professionals across a wide range of disciplines. They may interact with health policy stakeholders like doctors and nurses, high-level policy professionals, and government officials, among others.

Because they regularly engage with a variety of stakeholders, health policy analysts must have strong communication and presentation skills to present their findings and recommendations to decision-makers.

Additional skills that health policy analysts should possess include the following:

  • Technological proficiencies in data collection and analysis, including statistical analysis, modeling tools, and spreadsheets
  • Knowledge of evidence-based practices, which describe rigorous, systematic, science-based research and evaluation approaches to provide evidence for informed decision-making in public health
  • The ability to consider different policy views and political leanings about health issues while helping ensure that essential public health services equitably protect the health of all people and communities

Health Policy Analyst Education Requirements

Policy analyst roles often require that candidates have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Areas of study can include political science, public administration, education, statistics, sociology, and economics. The public health career outlook for midlevel to senior-level positions is brightest for those who’ve completed a graduate degree program, as employers may prefer candidates with an advanced education.

Individuals can pursue their graduate education by enrolling in an MPH program. This specialized program offers coursework focused on public health issues, public policy, and public health threat analysis, enabling aspiring analysts to enhance their knowledge base and skill set.

Depending on the program, individuals can choose a concentration to gain expertise in a focus area, such as epidemiology or health policy and management.

Salary and Employers

According to Payscale, the median annual salary for health policy analysts was approximately $66,400 as of February 2023. Individual salaries can vary depending on factors such as years of experience and location.

  • Entry-level candidates earned a median annual salary of approximately $53,000, according to Payscale data, while professionals with 20 or more years of experience earned around $81,000.
  • The median annual salary of analysts in Baltimore, Maryland, was 12.2% higher than the national average, Payscale reported. Other regions with median annual salaries higher than the national average included New York, New York, and Chicago, Illinois.

The type of employer is also often an indicator of what a health policy analyst may earn. For example, health policy analysts working at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have a median annual salary of $92,750. Other organizations that pay competitive salaries include health care organizations, such as AmeriHealth Caritas; research and data analytics firms, such as Mathematica; and government agencies, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Make a Difference in Health Care — Explore a Health Policy Career Today

Health policy analysts help shape policies that impact public health. They contribute to public health in various ways — from developing evidence-based policies to address health care needs to advocating for policy changes that address health care inequities.

Aspiring students interested in making a meaningful impact in public health can pursue a career in health policy. The Master of Public Health program at Regis College prepares students with the skills and knowledge needed to address complex public health challenges. The program’s concentration in health policy and management focuses on ethics, economics, and policy development and implementation to provide students with the expertise to positively impact the health and wellness of individuals and communities.

Ready to help improve population health? Learn more about Regis College’s online MPH.

Recommended Readings

Why Is Health Promotion Important?

MPH vs. MHA Salary and Career Differences

Is an MPH Worth It? Benefits and Career Opportunities


Alliance for Health Policy, “Celebrating 30 Years of Advancing Health Policy Knowledge”

Alliance for Health Policy, Health Policy Analyst

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Essential Public Health Services

Frontiers in Public Health, Public Health Policy

Indeed, “How to Become a Policy Analyst in 5 Steps (Plus Job Duties)”

Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities,  “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health and Mental Health Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

KFF, “Latest Data on COVID-19 Vaccinations by Race/Ethnicity”

KNG Health Consulting, “Medicare Beneficiaries Shifting from Skilled Nursing Facility to Home Health Use Includes Highest Complexity Cases”

Payscale, Average Health Policy Analyst Salary

U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Policy Analysis Positions