Objective. To describe the ways in which investigators are trained for careers in health services research and estimate their number.
Data Sources/Study Setting. Sources describing health services research (HSR) training were consulted and published inventories of HSR training programs were reviewed and 124 training programs were contacted and interviewed to determine the numbers of students and the content of their HSR degree programs.
Study Design. Observational study.
Data Collection. HSR programs listed by AcademyHealth were surveyed and asked for details of enrollments; course content was captured from websites for the remaining programs.
Principal Findings. There are over 300 programs that train investigators in health services research in master's and doctoral programs. The number of graduates who become HSRs in any given year is unknown, but approximately 5,000 individuals graduate with skills that would allow them to function in or lead HSR projects and up to 200 fellows are annually trained as potential independent health services researchers.
Conclusions. The training pipeline for HSR appears to match demand because there are no apparent shortages of skilled workers in the field. There are many forces that are pressuring the field to adapt to technology demands and the increasing need for “translation” of results from research into practice.