MDS Coordinator: Job Description & Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an MDS coordinator. Get a quick view of details about training programs, the job description, duties, career information and licensing requirements to find out if this is the right choice for you.

View popular schools

MDS coordinators assess the mood, needs and behavior of nursing facility residents. This allows them to provide individualized support and care. They need to be registered or licensed nurses and receive formal or on-the-job training.

Essential Information

The Minimum Data Set (MDS) is a key tool in the process of assessing the functional capabilities of residents of certified nursing facilities. MDS coordinators, also known as nurse assessment coordinators, use these results to formulate and implement individual care plans for residents. Most are licensed nurses who are trained on-the-job or through formal, off-site training programs.

Required Education Completion of registered nurse or licensed practical nurse education program AND on-the-job training OR a formal MDS coordinator training program
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 16% for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses & 16% for registered nurses
Median Annual Salary (2016)** $61,497

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Job Description for MDS Coordinators

The objective of MDS coordinators is to promote the physical and emotional well-being of nursing facility residents. They use a Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) to gather information from residents and their families during initial and periodic interviews. The MDS covers such areas as the patient's mood, behavior patterns, cognitive ability, and nutrition needs.

Information from these assessments helps nursing home caretakers formulate individualized care plans that include support from social services, dieticians, rehab specialists, and medical staff. MDS coordinators then implement and monitor these care plans to ensure their effectiveness. They must also make sure all strategies comply with Medicare requirements and ethical standards.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Anesthesiologist Assistant
  • Chiropractic Technician
  • Clinical Laboratory Assistant
  • EMT Ambulance
  • Health Aide
  • Home Health Aide
  • Medical or Clinical Assistant
  • Medication Aide
  • Occupational Therapist Assistant
  • Pathology Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Respiratory Therapy Technician
  • Veterinary Technician

Education and Licensing Requirements

MDS coordinators commonly start their careers as registered nurses (RN) or licensed practical nurses (LPN). RN degree programs last two to four years at the undergraduate level. Licensed practical nursing programs commonly are one year in length. Coursework discusses pharmacology, pathophysiology, and nursing fundamentals.

All nurses must be licensed by their state of employment. State licensure commonly requires passing nursing examinations that are administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NCSBN offers a National Council Licensure Exam for prospective RNs (NCLEX-RN) and for prospective LPNs (NCLEX-PN).

Formal MDS coordinator training programs are available, if employers do not provide this training on the job to newly hired nurses. The American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (AANAC) offers one that covers assessment scheduling, survey methods, and care planning. Those who complete this 10-course program become Resident Assessment Coordinator - Certified (RAC-CT).

Employment and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of RNs will grow by 16% from 2014-2024; job opportunities for LPNs and licensed vocational nurses will also likely increase by 16% during the same time frame. MDS coordinators earned $45,257 - $82,041 annually as of January 2016, according to

Most MDS coordinators complete a nursing degree program and work as a licensed or registered nurse before becoming an MDS coordinator. They may also complete a formal MDS coordinator training program or receive on-the-job training. Additionally, MDS coordinators must be licensed in the state they wish to work.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MS in Nursing
    • Master of Healthcare Administration
    • BS in Health Science
    • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
    • BS in Healthcare Administration
    • BS in Health and Wellness

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Associate in Medical Assisting
    • Diploma in Pharmacy Technician

    What is your education level?

    • Medical Assistant-Certificate
    • Physical Therapy Technician-Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What year did you graduate high school?

  • What is your age?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?