Becoming a Care Manager: Salary Information & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career as a care manager? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a care manager is right for you.
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The Pros and Cons of a Care Manager Career

Care managers work in a variety of fields, including healthcare, counseling and social work, and are responsible for managing the care of a patient or group of patients. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of a care manager career to see if this is a field you'd like to pursue.

Pros of a Care Manager Career
Above-average salary (median salary of $63,440)*
Can work in a variety of places (doctors' offices, insurance companies, private practice, hospitals, home health care agencies)**
Occupation is open to people from different educational backgrounds***
Opportunity to help people with chronic disabilities****

Cons of a Care Manager Career
Must deal with people in crisis situations*****
Overnight and weekend work may be required for emergencies******
Must keep current with and adapt to new regulations******
Licensure is required for some positions*****

Sources: *Salary.com, **Case Management Society of America, ***iseek.org, ****National Academy of Certified Care Managers, *****Monster.com, ******U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Info

Care managers assess patients to determine the kind of care and services needed. They then monitor patients to ensure the treatment is effective. Care managers collect and analyze patient data and look for ways to improve efficiency. They consult with physicians and other healthcare personnel, working as a team to provide medical services. Some care managers work directly with patients, and some perform assessments and make referrals over the telephone.

Care managers can come from a wide range of fields. They might have backgrounds in nursing, psychology, public health or social work, to name a few. According to a March 2012 search of job posts on Monster.com, most employers were looking for care managers who were registered nurses (RNs). According to Salary.com, the median annual salary of a case manager was around $63,440 in August 2015.

Requirements

Care managers are typically trained in one of the health and human services fields, such as nursing, social work, psychology or gerontology. If you are interested in pursuing a care manager career, you should obtain a bachelor's degree in one of these fields. Employers often require a bachelor's degree along with some relevant experience, and some require a master's degree. Licensure or certification is sometimes required. For example, if the position requires an RN, you must have a current RN license. If the job opening calls for a social worker, certification may be required.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Employers usually require care managers to have experience and credentials in the health and human services field. Below are positions for care managers that were open in May 2012:

  • A healthcare services firm in New York seeks a care manager to monitor substance abuse and mental health services. Duties include data collection and analysis, crisis intervention, patient advocacy and telephone triage. Candidates should have at least three years of managed care experience and RN credentials or a graduate degree in behavioral health or an associated field.
  • A Texas behavioral health company is looking for a care manager with at least three years of experience in substance abuse or psychiatric care management. Duties include telephone assessments, referrals, case reviews and treatment evaluations. A master's degree in a related field and clinical licensure are required.
  • A not-for-profit health plan company in Massachusetts wants to hire a nurse care manager to asses, implement and evaluate a managed care plan. Other responsibilities include identifying potential problems and offering solutions, coordinating care and educating members about wellness options. RN credentials, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or equivalent, current licensure and at least five years of experience are required.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

Membership in a professional organization for care managers, such as the Case Management Society of America or the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) can give your career a boost. Some professional organizations provide educational resources that can help you earn the continuing education credits required in some jurisdictions for licensing or certification. They also offer networking opportunities. Some organizations post job openings for care managers on their websites, and some offer professional certifications. For example, the NAPGCM offers geriatric care manager certification for those who specialize in the field of senior care. Candidates must fulfill educational and work requirements established by the NAPGCM and possess credentials in the care management field to be eligible for this certification.

Other Career Paths

Physician Assistant

If the idea of a career in the health services field appeals to you, yet you'd like to increase your earning potential, you may be interested in becoming a physician assistant. Physician assistants perform many of the same functions as a medical doctor, such as conducting physical examinations, making diagnoses and prescribing medication, under the supervision of a physician. A master's degree is required for this occupation. According to the BLS, physician assistants earned a mean annual wage of $89,000 in May 2011. The job outlook for physician assistants is very good, with the number of jobs projected to increase by 30% between 2010 and 2020, which is much faster than average.

EMT or Paramedic

If you aren't ready to attend a college degree program but are interested in helping people who have medical problems, an emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic career is an option. These occupations typically don't require the same level of education as a care manager. EMTs and paramedics provide medical care to injured or sick people during emergencies. They determine the treatment required and transport patients to emergency facilities in ambulances. The mean annual wage for EMTs and paramedics in May 2011 was $34,000, according to the BLS, which also projected that the job outlook for paramedics and EMTs would grow 33%, much faster than average, between 2010 and 2020.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
      • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
      • Master of Health Informatics
      • Master of Health Information Management
      • Master: Nursing/Nurse Administrator
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
      • Health Information Management
      • Bachelor: Health Science
      • BS in Health Information Management
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS in Clinical Research Administration
      • MSHS in Health Care Quality
      • MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research Administration
      • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality
      • Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Affairs
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgt. & Healthcare Mgt.
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      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting & Healthcare Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Health Care Management
      • Bachelor: Health Information Management
    Associate's
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate of Science - Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Office Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Health Care Administration
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Healthcare Administration
      • B.S. General Studies - Life Sciences
    Associate's
      • A.S. General Studies - Life Sciences
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Health Services Admin
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Health Services Admin
      • Associate of Science - Medical Administrative Billing and Coding
    Certificate
      • Grad Business Certificate - Health Services Management
  • Campus Locations:
    7. Brightwood College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Medical Office Specialist
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.A. - Health Care Admin
    Bachelor's
      • BA/Health and Human Services - Health Care Informatics Systems
      • BS/Health Information Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Government - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
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      • Master of Public Administration - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MS in Health Care Administration
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Informatics
      • MS in Nursing: Health Care Informatics
      • Master of Public Administration - Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Health Care Management
  • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
  • Medical Office Administration

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George Mason University

  • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

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The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Clinical Research Administration
  • MSHS in Health Care Quality
  • Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research Administration
  • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality

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Herzing University

  • MBA: Health Care Management
  • Bachelor: Health Care Management
  • Associate: Healthcare Management
  • Diploma: Medical Office Admin

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • Master of Business Administration - Health Care Administration
  • B.S. Healthcare Administration
  • A.S. General Studies - Life Sciences

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Keiser University

  • B.A. - Health Services Admin
  • Associate of Arts - Health Services Admin
  • Grad Business Certificate - Health Services Management

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Brightwood College

  • Medical Office Specialist
  • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate

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Ashford University

  • M.A. - Health Care Admin
  • BA/Health and Human Services - Health Care Informatics Systems
  • BS/Health Information Management

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