In case manager certificate programs, students learn to interact with, understand and assist clients in obtaining care or resources, with emphasis placed on helping clients self-advocate, make decisions and set goals. Case management certificate programs also teach students to manage the quality, cost and need for services or medical care, working within established systems to deliver assistance.
Certification as a case manager is also available through a number of professional organizations, each with its own prerequisites and continuing education requirements.
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Case Manager Certification and Certificate Program
Admissions requirements for case management certificate programs vary. Typically, experienced human and health services professionals, such as licensed nurses, social workers, therapists and counselors enroll in case management certificate programs. Although some programs require that applicants are licensed practitioners in their field, other programs are open to anyone interested in case management, or for professionals seeking continuing education or new job opportunities. Coursework may focus solely on health care or social work, or take a broad-based approach. Common course topics include:
- Client assessment
- Clinical ethics
- Agency and system collaboration
- Practice and policy
- Community relations
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Although specific employment statistics for case managers aren't available, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated a positive outlook for registered nurses and social workers, job categories which include case managers (www.bls.gov). Registered nurses could see an employment growth of 16% in the 2014-2024 decade, while social workers could expect a 12% job growth during the same time, according to the BLS. Further, the BLS indicated that employment growth could vary by specialty; mental health and substance abuse social worker positions were poised to increase by 19%, and employment of child, family and school social workers was predicted to grow by 6% in the same.
Case manager salaries vary depending on specialization, employer and professional certification. According to PayScale.com salary figures reported in January 2016, case managers earned a median pay of $37,391. Similarly, PayScale.com noted that most mental health case managers took home a median salary of $34,984 annually. Nurse case managers reported a median annual salary of $66,532 according to PayScale.com.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Case managers can voluntarily become certified through credentialing organizations, and many certificate programs in case management help candidates prepare for such professional certification. The Commission for Case Manager Certification offers the nationally-accredited Certified Case Manager (CCM) credential, a 5-year designation that requires postsecondary education, adequate state licensure and passing an exam (www.ccmcertification.org).
Additionally, the American Case Management Association confers the Accredited Case Manager (ACM) certification to nurses and social workers who have appropriate state licensure, education, at least two years of professional experience and passed an exam (www.acmaweb.org). According to the BLS, social workers and nurses may also choose to earn advanced degrees in their field, such as a Master of Social Work (MSW) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, especially for clinical work or advancement to supervisory positions.
Case manager certification and certificate programs are useful to a number of medical and social professionals, such as social workers, nurses and counselors. Further education options are available dependent on specialty, and the outlook for professions in this field is generally good.