How to Become a Case Manager

Do you have a passion for people and a desire for a career where you can make a difference in people’s lives? If so, becoming a Case Manager may be your best option. This article will show you the skills and education you’ll need to become a Case Manager, as well as how you can expect to make once you begin your career.

 

What Does A Case Manager Do?

The simple answer is a Case Manager helps people solve problems. A Case Manager first identifies the problem the client is facing. Then, they work with the client in creating a plan of action for solving said problem. A Case Manager can work in a variety of settings. A popular field is healthcare, but a Case Manager can also work with immigration or with the homeless. Working with children or recovering addicts are other popular avenues.

Being a Case Manager requires a high level of empathy and good communication skills. Some typical daily tasks for Case Managers include, but are not limited to:

  • Clerical tasks, such as filing paperwork and scheduling client appointments.
  • Strategic tasks, such as determining the cause of client problems and crafting plans of action.
  • Interpersonal tasks, such as meetings with care team members and clients.

Case Manager Skills

Case Management is a career path where people skills reign supreme. A good Case Manager has a creative personality, which allows them to think outside of the box when helping clients implement action plans. They also thrive in a team environment, which is necessary for successfully working with clients and their families. A Case Manager should have a passion for helping people succeed, as well as a love for solving problems.

Other key Case Manager Skills Include:

  • Interviewing
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Negotiation
  • Crisis management

 

How to Become a Case Manager

Education and Training

Since the field of Case Management is broad, there is not one specific path one must take in academia in order to become a Case Manager. According to our research, Case Managers are generally required to hold a Bachelor’s degree to qualify for entry-level positions. This degree is typically in fields like Healthcare and Psychology, as well as Counseling and Sociology.

The degree one holds often has influence in the Case Management subfield one chooses to pursue. Someone with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology is suited to become a Mental Health Case Manager, while someone with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing is suited to be a Nurse Case Manager. Some other entry points into the Case Management field include:

  • Correctional Case Manager
  • Forensic Case Manager
  • Geriatric Case Manager
  • Juvenile Case Manager
  • Child Case Manager
  • Rehabilitation Case Manager
  • Legal Case Manager
  • Substance Abuse Case Manager
  • Clinical Case Manager
  • Mental Health Case Manager
  • Social Work Case Manager
  • Medical Case Manager
  • Nurse Case Manager

A main reason why internships are a requirement to earn a Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Case Management is the broadness of the field. It is at the internship stage where aspiring Case Managers explore and choose one of these subfields to pursue.

Most of the training for a Case Manager comes on-the-job in these internships. Additional training is received when one pursues certification by the Commission for Case Manager Certification. A Case Manager Certification can be a job requirement for some employers, and it is often necessary to progress beyond entry-level.

Finding a Job

Given the broadness of the Case Management field, the National Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific data on the occupational outlook for case managers. With that being said, most Case Management subfields fall under the discipline of social work.

The demand for Social Workers is predicted to increase 12 percent through 2024, which is faster than average. This increase will result in approximately 74,800 new jobs filled during that time period. This forecasted increase is the result of a growing population, which results in an increase in demand for social services.

Case Managers are most likely to find jobs in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities. There will also be openings at nonprofits that work with recovering addicts, abused children, and rehabilitating criminals.

The cornerstone of your job search is your resume. Your resume needs to show how your skills meet the needs of the employer. To get started on crafting a laser-targeted resume, check out JobHero’s database of Case Manager Resume samples.

Once your resume is ready for action, head to the Internet to search for Case Manager job opportunities. Be sure to utilize your network as well. A strong referral goes a long way.

When you find a job you really like, you want to make sure you convey that passion in your cover letter. You also want to weave in hard evidence showing you are qualified for the job. If you need help kick-starting your cover letter, then check out JobHero’s collection of Case Manager cover letter samples.

 

Insights From A Case Manager

In order to paint a better picture of life as a Case Manager, we talked to Christopher Gerhart, a certified Substance Abuse Case Manager in Little Rock, Arkansas with over 20 years of experience. Here’s what Christopher had to say.

What is the common career path for a Case Manager?

For a lot of case managers, a common path involves working on, and /or getting a degree at some level in a human service field such as mental health, counseling, substance abuse, criminal justice.  Very often, this is an entry-level, not very well paid position.

What should someone consider before becoming a Case Manager?

One of the biggest considerations is that one person will never be able to meet everyone’s needs.  The way I see it there are four main areas of life, which I call The 4 L’s: Liver, Lover, Livelihood and Legal.  These are the reasons people seek help.

What type of person excels in this job?

Someone who excels in this sort of position is the same sort of person who makes a great salesperson.  They have a quick memory, skillfully integrate coordination of services and they seem to know everybody

What are some of the most important skills for Case Managers to have?

Networking, both in person and electronically, formally and informally is a vital skill to be successful.  A case manager’s supervisor may need to take into consideration this idea because the case manager’s ability to be effective relies heavily upon their connections with members of the community and these days many of those connections are made and maintained on social media.  An effective case manager MUST be involved in the community, not just one community, but all communities. This includes employers, housing providers, medical services, legal services, food banks, faith groups, interfaith groups, professional helping organizations and informal networks.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Case Manager?

Absolutely the most rewarding thing about being a case manager is someone running into me years later, in another context such as the grocery store, PTA or homeowners association, often that I had absolutely forgotten, and telling me that I helped make a difference in their lives when they were having a tough time.

 

How Much Do Case Managers Get Paid

The median salary for Case Managers is $35,500. The highest 10 percent of the spectrum earned more than $76,820, while the lowest 10 percent of the spectrum earned less than $28,530.

Top 10 States for Case Manager Salaries

Here is a list of the top ten states with the highest median Case Manager salaries.

  1. New Jersey: $56,700
  2. Michigan: $54,000
  3. Virginia: $52,200
  4. Wyoming: $52,000
  5. Hawaii: $49,500
  6. California: $48,700
  7. New York: $48,600
  8. Pennsylvania: $45,800
  9. South Carolina: $45,800
  10. Alaska: $45,100

 

Case Manager Resources

Are you ready to continue your exploration of Case Management? If so, then check out this list of awesome Case Manager resources.

Professional Groups

American Case Management Association – This group provides professional development for members in the form of mentorship and networking opportunities, and it also has a large database of educational resources available to members.

Case Management Society of America – This group prides itself on being a hub of intellectual diffusion between its members. It provides many networking and collaboration ideas and opportunities.

Web Resources

RNCaseManager.com – This is a great website for those considering the subfield of Nurse Case Manager. It contains tons of information on what it is like to be a Case Manager in a Healthcare setting.

National Association of Case Management – This site not only has excellent information, but it serves as a hub for one of the most popular Case Management conferences in the country.

Sources for this article include the Bureau of labor Statistics, job postings and other online sources.

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