Case Manager Training and Education

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in case management. Read on to learn about career options, along with salary and job outlook information. Schools offering Addictions & Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Case Manager Do?

Case managers aid and advocate for clients in the medical, legal or social services field. Some possible career paths in the field include those of social workers, probation officers or registered nurses. Case managers will need to have excellent communication and organizational skills as well as a professional level of knowledge about their chosen field. They will likely work with clients on an individual basis in order to assess their needs and issues, meaning that they need to be sympathetic to people's personal circumstances. The table below outlines the general requirements for case managers wanting to become social workers, registered nurses, or probations officers and correctional treatment specialists.

Social WorkerProbation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist Registered Nurse
Degree Required Bachelor's degree for entry-level; master's degree for clinical work Bachelor's degree Associate's or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Social Work, Psychology, Sociology Criminal Justice, Social Work, Social Sciences Nursing
Training Required Supervised work Training program and supervised work Supervised work
Licensure/Certification Licensure or certification required Certification may be required License required
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12%* 4%* 16%*
Average Salary (2015) $49,670* $54,080* $71,000*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Case Manager?

A case manager is a professional who coordinates, evaluates and supervises designated services or protocols that are implemented for an individual or group. Technically, case management can encompass a wide range of potential scenarios, but the term is most commonly applied to medical, social and legal/correctional services.

What Are My Career Options?

In the social services sector, you may work as a social worker who serves as a clinical or non-clinical case manager. You may assist children in need of medical and protective services, families who require government housing or financial assistance, or substance abusers in need of rehabilitative care.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes probation officers and correctional treatment specialists as case managers. In these positions, you provide counseling to criminal offenders. Your duties may include developing rehabilitation plans including activities such as mental health counseling and attending job training programs.

If you are a registered nurse, you can work as a case manager in the medical field. In this position, if you work in a hospital, you may monitor the inpatient care provided. Other times, you may design, coordinate and monitor the outpatient services that are part of healthcare plans. These plans may include services such as physical therapy or nutritional counseling.

What Education Do I Need?

To work as a non-clinical social work case manager you will likely need a bachelor's degree in a field such as social work, sociology or psychology. To work as a clinical social worker, you would likely need at least a master's degree in the same fields. To work as a correctional specialist case manager, a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology, or other related discipline is generally sufficient.

To work as a nursing case manager, you must be a registered nurse (RN). To become a RN, you must have either a 4-year bachelor's or 2-year associate's degree in nursing. Upon graduation, you will need to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

What Professional Training Is Involved?

There is no specific certification required to work as a case manager, but professional certifications are available. The National Association of Social Workers offers a certified social work case manager certification and the certified advanced social work case manager credentials. To earn the former, you must have a bachelor's degree and at least 4,500 paid hours of supervised professional experience. To earn the latter you must have a master's degree and 3,000 hours or two years of experience.

According to the BLS, most correctional specialist case managers complete a state or federal government sponsored professional training program that culminates in an examination. Most of these managers must also complete a probationary period with their employers.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center's nursing case management certification is available to nurses with two years of professional work experience as a full-time registered nurse and at least 2,000 hours of clinical case management experience within the last three years.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

The skills required of case managers are highly transferable and may leave you well-suited for other positions within social work. If you have studied social work or a related field at the bachelor's degree level, you could also become a social and community service manager. These professionals provide resources, social services and programs to the public in order to generally benefit the community. You'll need some prior experience in the field to qualify for the position, though.

A similar option is to become a substance abuse counselor. These professionals offer support to people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. This position will also require you to have a bachelor's degree. If you have a graduate degree, you could also become a rehabilitation counselor. These individuals provide support and guidance to people living with disabilities or long-term injuries in order to allow them to live independent lives.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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