Earning your MSL is just the beginning.
Earning your MSL is just the beginning.

MSL With a Specialization in Health Care Compliance

Health care compliance is crucial to protecting practices against liabilities like fraud, abuse and waste. In order to successfully follow the legal standards outlined by federal and state laws, as well as private insurance companies, knowledge of the law is essential. Compliance programs require knowledgeable professionals to develop processes, policies, and procedures that will promote legal and ethical business practices. Skilled professionals are also needed to educate and enforce compliance policies in health care organizations.

Health care is just one of many fields in which the need for legal skills in non-lawyer roles is growing. With a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) with a Health Care Compliance specialization from Pitt Law, you will be poised to benefit from this need as you grow your career and your income potential. Master the ins and outs of health care compliance that you need to gain more authority and responsibility in your career.

Explore the MSL with a specialization in Health Care Compliance to see what Pitt Law can do for you.

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Program Brochure

Are you considering a master’s degree in law or a graduate certificate to take your career to the next level? Pitt Law’s Master of Studies in Law online program is designed for professionals seeking to enhance their careers with a versatile alternative to the traditional three-year JD degree. The certificate programs are ideal for those who are not currently looking to pursue a master’s degree.

Complete the form to get a program brochure for Pitt Law’s Online MSL plus your chosen specialization, or your chosen certificate program, delivered to your inbox.

The MSL in Health Care Compliance: More Than a Degree


Pitt Law’s 5:1 student-to-teacher ratio provides you with individualized attention that sets you up for success during your master’s program and after graduation. The Online HCC specialization is accredited by the Compliance Certificate Board (CCB), which enables you to sit for the following exams within one year of earning your MSL with a Health Care Compliance specialization:

  • Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP)®
  • Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional–International (CCEP-I)®
  • Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC)®
  • Certified in Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC)®
  • Certified in Healthcare Privacy Compliance (CHPC)®

What Can You Do With an MSL in Health Care Compliance?

Health care occupations in general are projected to grow 13 percent, or must faster than average, through 2031.1 With a legally-focused master’s degree that allows you to further specialize in health care compliance, you will stand out to future employers. Review a sampling of common job titles held by people with MSL degrees. In the list below, an understanding of the law and how it governs your role is crucial to success in each position.

Man and woman walking office environment looking at tablet
Health Care Compliance Officer
In health care, as a compliance officer or director, you will be responsible for ensuring that your company or organization operates in a way that is legal and ethical. To be successful in this role, you will need to stay on top of the ever-changing laws and regulations that govern the health care industry. You will be responsible for policy creation and enforcement. The total compensation for compliance officer roles vary, averaging $91,439* a year with salary, bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing taken into account.2 Salaries depend on duties and experience level.
Female health care practitioner talking to two doctors
Health Care Practitioner
Health care practitioners are licensed or authorized to provide health care services. Earning your MSL with a Health Care Compliance focus will allow you to effectively render services to patients using appropriate conduct that meets compliance measures laid out by your organization. With your newfound skills in compliance, you will be able to develop effective processes and procedures and properly adhere to them. Health care practitioner salaries vary widely depending on the type of services provided, but the mean annual wage for all occupations under this umbrella is $91,100.*3
Hand holding insurance forms on clipboard
Insurance Compliance Officer/Manager
In this role, you work for an insurance company to ensure the company and its employees follow any requirements related to compliance issues, including laws and regulations, standards, policies. The insurance compliance officer is also responsible for developing and enforcing any internal processes. The average total compensation for this role is $99,666.*4
IT manager walking two doctors through user experience on a tablet
Health Care Information Technology Manager
With laws like HIPAA in place there is a great need to ensure patient privacy, especially within health care software systems and other IT infrastructure. As an IT manager with an MSL in Health Care Compliance, you will be responsible for configuring, deploying and securing various health care systems and will be part of the front line in ensuring that clinical policies around compliance are being upheld. You will need to keep up on the latest technologies and evolving compliance laws. The national average total for this role is $96,203* per year.5

*Total annual compensation as of January 20, 2023.

Health Care Compliance Specialization Courses

Upon completion of 15 credits of core courses that make up the Online MSL program, you will complete 15 credits in the Health Care Compliance specialization. The HCC specialization consists of five courses designed by experts working in compliance, law, and online education.

  • Introduction to the Legal System for Health Care and Compliance (3 credits)
  • Legal Aspects of Health Care Compliance (3 credits)
  • Effective Compliance Program Development and Skills (3 credits)
  • Professional Judgment and Ethics, the Canvas of Compliance (3 credits)
  • Selected Applications in Compliance (3 credits)

View Full Curriculum

HCC Specialization Course Spotlight

Introduction to the Legal System for Health Care and Compliance

Good compliance decision-making depends upon a clear understanding of the legal framework that regulates the health care industry. This course will explore aspects of tort, contract, corporate, and administrative law against a backdrop of the business of health care and compliance needs. For example, students will learn fundamental tort concepts while discussing malpractice issues and will learn basic concepts of corporate law while examining shifting alliances in the health care market. Students will also gain an understanding of administrative law by examining the authority of federal regulators and their influence on how health care is delivered.

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Articulate in general terms the nature and purpose of regulatory compliance activities in the healthcare system and the reasons for the growth of the compliance industry.
  • Recognize or explain basic concepts of tort, contract, corporate, and administrative law.
  • Identify and describe how basic concepts of tort, contract, corporate, and administrative law are implicated in the operation of the health care system.
  • Apply basic concepts of tort, contract, corporate, and administrative law to scenarios arising in the health care system.
  • Discover and identify key aspects of the federal regulatory structure relating to health care, the primary actors in that structure, and current developments in federal regulation relating to health care.
  • At a basic level, analyze actual examples of compliance failure and evaluate which aspects of the legal system were involved.
  • Present cogently your analysis of how the multiple areas of law studied may come into play in health care compliance.
Jessica Ellel.jpg
Meet HCC Professor Jessica A. Ellel
Jessica A. Ellel is chair of Houston Harbaugh’s Health Law Practice in Pittsburgh. Professor Ellel works almost exclusively with health care entities and health practitioners. She has extensive experience drafting and negotiating physician employment agreements from both the physician and employer perspectives, negotiating contracts between physicians and hospitals, preparing purchase agreements to govern the sale of medical practices, advising on corporate governance issues from practice formation to dissolution, developing comprehensive compliance plans for physician practices, hospitals, third-party billing administrators, and other healthcare-related entities and organizing strategies for compliance with fraud and abuse laws.

Professor Ellel frequently publishes articles and presents on issues relating to physician employment agreements, the Affordable Care Act, and other compliance issues. She has published articles in the Allegheny County Medical Society Bulletin and the Physicians News Digest. She earned her JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.

Master Your Career in Health Care Compliance with Pitt Law

Earning your MSL in Health Care Compliance will take you to the next level in your career, enabling you to learn the language of the law to flourish in a highly regulated industry like health care.

A Pitt Law MSL with a Health Care Compliance focus will set you apart in this in demand area of health care without setting you back.

Fall 2024 Admissions Deadlines

Priority Deadline
August 2
Fall 2024
Final Deadline
August 12
Fall 2024
Start Date
August 19
Fall 2024