The goal of case management is to provide good quality of care for patients while managing costs. Both certificate and master's degree programs offer general training through courses in topics such as insurance, quality assurance, life care planning and ethics. Students examine research in the field, especially in master's programs. Graduates may qualify for professional certification.
Some certificate programs are open only to registered nurses, social workers or other health care workers. Master's programs are open only to registered nurses; a bachelor's degree is often required as well.
Certificate in Case Management
Nurses or social workers interested in starting a career as a clinical care coordinator may obtain a comprehensive overview of the case management processes through a certificate program. The curriculum for a case management certificate program, which typically takes one to two years to complete, combines coursework in quality assurance, general health care systems and foundations in case management. Specific topics include:
- Life care planning
- Hospital case management
- Health care systems
- Quality management
Master of Science in Nursing - Case Management
A master's degree in nursing with an emphasis in case management prepares students to work within the health care industry. Graduates of this program work as a leader within a health care delivery team by ensuring accuracy and efficiency in patient care. Programs are offered in a variety of formats and should be accredited by case management professional organizations. A master's degree program includes foundational courses in ethics, health care administration and research methodology. Classes may include the following:
- Healthcare systems
- Nursing theory
- Health policy
- Quality assurance methods
- Diverse populations
- Research design
Career Outlook and Salary Info
Case management professionals work in a variety of healthcare-related fields, including insurance, hospitals and home health. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that registered nurses were expected to experience 12% job growth from 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov) with a median salary of $71,730 as of May 2018.
There are a number of certification options for case management professionals, including the Continuity of Care Certification - Advanced (A-CCC), Certified Case Manager (CCM) and Accredited Case Manager (ACM); all are offered by various organizations and recognized as professional credentials within the industry. They require a combination of education and professional experience, as well as successful completion of an examination. Periodic continuing education and renewal is required.
Aspiring clinical care coordinators have the option of studying towards a certificate or master's degree in case management. Courses in hospital case management and nursing theory will prepare students for a career within the field.