Should I Become a Home Care Coordinator?
A home care coordinator facilitates the delivery of in-home health and personal care services provided by caretakers for ill, injured, or disabled clients. These coordinators may assess the types and amounts of care that clients need, interview clients, and coordinate the schedules of home health aides tasked with providing care. They might work for state government agencies, home healthcare provider companies, hospitals, retirement communities, or hospice agencies. Coordinators who work for hospitals or retirement communities may serve patients recently released from those facilities who require ongoing, in-home care. Travel to clients' homes is often required.
|Degree Level||Minimum of a high school diploma; employers may prefer an associate's degree or some postsecondary education|
|Degree Field||Allied health fields, such as nursing|
|Certification or Licensure||Registered nurses must be licensed by the state in which they practice|
|Experience||Many employers prefer candidates with 1-5 years of home healthcare work experience, customer service experience or healthcare management experience|
|Key Skills||Organization, analytical problem-solving, administrative, oral communication, writing and interpersonal skills; familiar with health clinical billing, database, and payroll software programs; knowledge of patient management and intake methods, familiarity with medical coding procedures, possessing a driver's license, and CPR certification|
|Salary (2016)||$44,410 (median salary for health care coordinators)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com
Let's look into the steps required to become a home care coordinator.
Steps to Become a Home Care Coordinator
Step 1: Graduate from an Associate's Degree Program
The majority of employers seek candidates who possess an associate's degree in a healthcare-related field. Associate's degrees are available in healthcare support or healthcare administration. These programs, which typically take two years to complete, include classes in psychology, medical terminology, the fiscal management of healthcare facilities, the legal aspects of healthcare management, human physiology, health and aging, community resources, and pharmacology.
Because some employers seek registered nurses to work as home care coordinators, completing an associate's degree program in nursing is another option for aspiring home care coordinators. The curricula of these 2-year programs includes classes in psychology, microbiology, nursing care techniques for different populations, anatomy, and physiology. These programs include both lab and lecture classes.
- Participate in an internship. Some associate's degree programs allow students to participate in an internship or externship during their studies. As interns, students may perform some of the job tasks they will complete when working as home care coordinators. This experience and knowledge may impress employers and be helpful when working in the field.
Step 2: Earn RN Licensure
Graduates of associate's degree nursing programs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to earn state licensure and be able to work as a nurse. This exam is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and can be taken at multiple locations throughout the nation.
- Prepare for the NCLEX-RN. The NCSBN provides a test plan for the NCLEX-RN. This plan outlines the major components of the exam. Being familiar with these components may make it more likely that an examinee will pass the exam on their first try.
Step 3: Begin Working as a Home Health Nurse
Most employers of home care coordinators require that candidates have at least one year of experience providing in-home healthcare. Home health nurses might check a client's pulse, respiration rate and temperature, assist a client with performing exercises, or administer medications to clients. They might also help a client care for artificial limbs or clean wounds. These nurses are tasked with recording the services they perform and keeping their supervisors advised of the client's progress.
Step 4: Seek Employment as a Home Care Coordinator
After gaining experience working in home care, an individual is usually eligible to work as a home care coordinator. These coordinators oversee and schedule the in-home care provided to clients. They may create a care plan, assign a home health aide to a client, and ensure that the appropriate types of care are provided to a client.
Step 5: Pursue a Graduate Degree
Home care coordinators with a bachelor's degree may consider pursuing a graduate degree in a relevant field, like nursing or healthcare administration. Earning a master's or doctoral degree may lead to career advancement.
Home care coordinators require a minimum of a high school diploma, RN licensure, and at least one year of nursing experience before they can start working professionally.