Case managers fill essential roles in the delivery of health, social and other human services. The settings occupied by these professionals include medical, homeless shelters, schools and governmental social services departments. While there exist common duties, skills and qualifications among case managers in general, the type of employer or work environment often shapes a particular case manager’s job description. Below you can find a full overview of the case manager job description and qualifications.
Case Manager Job Overview: What Does a Case Manager Professional Do?
While specific duties may differ by work setting, case managers share common responsibilities of guiding clients seeking to overcome challenges. The case manager job description entails gathering information, finding a strategy, executing the details and retooling as necessary. To fulfill these duties, the case manager must listen, evaluate and exhibit concern for clients and their families.
Case Manager Job Duties
- Review applications or intakes of clients or service recipients.
- Assess needs of clients and recipients, including immediate or critical problems.
- Formulate goals, action plans and also strategies.
- Complete and keep records of clients and treatments, progress and recommendations.
- Explain client’s rights and responsibilities in program or services.
- Refer clients to community resources, such as hospitals, clinics, treatment facilities based upon the client’s particular needs and challenges.
- Obtain information about every client from those providing services for clients.
- Assign tasks to particular staff or team members assisting the manager with client services.
- Meet regularly with the client and, as necessary, family members.
The particular work setting may define specific duties in the case manager job description. For example, a nursing case manager is a registered nurse who may coordinate and plan care for patients, nursing home residents or those in hospice centers. In the employ of managed care or insurance companies, nursing case managers oversee the care of patients to ensure that medical services are cost-effective and necessary. Intake by these professionals involves obtaining patient histories and assessing the needs.
Case managers in social service or public assistance agencies rely on intake to determine whether the applicant meets resource or income eligibility requirements. In a homeless shelter or treatment facility, the case manager monitors the resident’s compliance with facility rules of conduct. Case managers in schools may direct teams of teachers and counselors to establish and execute individualized education plans for special needs students.
Case Manager Essential Job Skills
Communication. The case manager job description includes listening to clients, family members and also acquaintances to understand the clients’ needs and match them with the proper services. Case managers offer advice, references, rules and other information to clients. With proper communication, applicants for services can grasp eligibility requirements to know how to meet them, if possible.
Analytical. Case managers must analyze the problems and challenges of clients to direct them to the proper services. Analytical skills also include evaluating the effectiveness of proposed treatments, solutions and other services. Application of eligibility requirements to information furnished by or on behalf of a client also requires the ability to analyze.
Interpersonal. The case manager job involves constant interactions with a wide array of people with likely different perspectives or interests in cases. Clients, patients or students and their family members need empathy, especially when progress occurs slower than anticipated or desired. In some cases, the case manager must advocate for a client to receive particular services inside or outside the agency.
Becoming a Case Manager
The case manager job description relies strongly on the candidate having education and experience in the particular field of work. Additionally, certification as a case manager can enhance job prospects.
Qualifications and Training
The field in which the case manager works will significantly shape the education and training required. For example, nurse case managers must be registered nurses. These professionals may obtain a bachelor of science in nursing or receive a degree from a community college or hospital nursing program. Similarly, in human and social services agencies, the case manager may take classes in social work. Education courses may help those who are employed with elementary and secondary schools.
As a general rule, case managers are not required by law to be certified as such. However, nursing case managers must be licensed as registered nurses in the jurisdiction. Certification as a case manager may impress a potential employer. According to the Commission for Case Manager Certification, roughly two in five employers of case managers required the applicant to be board-certified, as of 2014. In 2004, nearly 26 percent of employers required board-certification.
The necessary to become a case manager depends on the setting. For instance, nursing case managers typically have prior work experience in hospitals, clinics or physicians’ officers.
In social service agencies, case managers have served as case workers or intake specialists. To become a certified social worker case manager, the National Association of Social Workers requires that candidates log three years and 4,500 hours of paid, supervised, post-undergrad work in a case management setting. Those seeking accreditation through the American Case Management Association must have twelve months in case management in the health care delivery system.
Case managers generally work full time, with many logging above 40 hours a week. In social service departments and schools, case managers keep traditional weekday hours. Nurse case managers in physicians’ offices and clinics similarly are likely to work day times and weekdays. Those who work for insurance companies, especially workers’ compensation or disability carriers, travel to various physicians’ offices or medical care facilities with the patient.
Job Outlook and Advancement Opportunities
Case managers in numerous fields should find ample job opportunities. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 16 percent increase, or addition of 439,000 jobs, through 2024. The number of social workers in the healthcare field should grow by 30,900, or 19 percent by 2024. Within the mental health and substance abuse sector, social worker jobs should rise by 19 percent, or 22,300 by 2024.
The growth of case managers should result from the rise of clients and patients needing substance abuse and other medical treatment. With the influence of health and workers’ compensation insurers and managed care, nursing case managers are needed to ensure the effectiveness of treatments and determine matters such as maximum medical improvement.
As the case manager job description shows, these professionals must obtain information and analyze it to determine a client’s eligibility and the care needed. Duties also include follow-up meetings and evaluating the success of treatments and services. Training and education should focus on the field in which the case manager will eventually work.
To sum up, demand for case managers should remain strong. Health insurers and those interested in managed care seek accountability from health care providers. In the nursing field, case managers fill this demand. As patients and clients obtain more access to health care and are directed by themselves, their families and the justice system for counseling, case managers will find ample opportunities for employment.