Hospital Case Management Degrees: Certification & Online Course Info

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What kind of job can you get with a certificate or degree in hospital case management? Get the truth about the requirements, courses and career options, and find out what you can do with your training.
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Study Hospital Case Management: Degrees at a Glance

Case mangers oversee the planning, coordination and evaluation of patient needs through a variety of methods, including cost and quality management. Students in a hospital case management master's degree program receive comprehensive training in business and health topics. Programs like the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Case Management are most common and generally restrict applicants to individuals with a current bachelor's degree in nursing and/or a current nursing license. Alternatively, certificate programs in case management are available to individuals without a nursing degree, including social workers and people without professional experience in the healthcare industry.

Due to an increasing amount of aging baby boomers and a renewed focus on streamlining healthcare services, job prospects should be excellent for qualified case management candidates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is expected to experience strong growth, 26%, from 2010 to 2020. Additionally, employment of healthcare social workers is expected to grow by 34% over the same period, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Master's Certificate
Who is this degree for? Current registered nurses who want to specialize in case management and pursue leadership opportunities Healthcare professionals who want to increase their skill sets or professionals who want to break into the healthcare industry
Common Career Paths (with approximate salary) - Registered nurses ($69,000)*- Healthcare social workers ($51,000)*
- Other healthcare positions (salaries vary with position and experience)
Time to Completion Typically two years (full-time) Typically several weeks (part-time)
Common Graduation Requirements - Complete coursework
- Maintain GPA standards
- Satisfy practicum requirements
Complete coursework requirements
Prerequisites - Baccalaureate degree in nursing
- GPA standards
- Letter(s) of reference
- Prerequisite courses in nursing and statistics, if applicable
- Personal statement/writing samples
- Clinical experience
- RN license
- CPR certification
- Placement test results
- Depending on the program, proof of licensing/academic credentials may or may not be required
Online Availability Limited availability Limited availability

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 mean figures).

Master's Degree Programs in Hospital Case Management

Hospital case management master's degree programs, like the MSN in Case Management, can help students develop their clinical management skills as they study the theory and delivery of healthcare. Because most master's degree programs in case management are post-professional programs, you will need previous experience in nursing. Many schools require applicants to complete several prerequisite requirements, including courses in statistics, proof of clinical experience and official transcripts from a bachelor's degree program in nursing.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • With an advanced nursing degree you can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, public and private insurance programs and long-term care facilities
  • Many employers in the healthcare industry offer flexible work schedules, childcare, educational benefits and bonuses to entice qualified applicants and retain top performers*
  • Overall, job opportunities for registered nurses are expected to be excellent as hospitals and healthcare service providers struggle to attract and retain qualified nurses*

Cons

  • Because of rapidly changing technology and healthcare laws, hospital case managers may need to take professional development or continuing education courses to stay on top of current trends and regulations
  • Some employers may require recent graduates to obtain two years of experience as a bedside nurse before they can transition into case management**
  • Students can expect strong competition for admission into master's degree programs due to the popularity of the field and promising career opportunities

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Samuel Merritt University.

Common Courses and Requirements

As a student in a typical hospital case management master's degree program, you will expand upon your nursing knowledge with graduate courses in health systems administration and case management. You will need to complete a clinical practicum and study coursework on the following topics:

  • Theoretical foundations for health professionals
  • Leadership, management and organizational behavior in healthcare systems
  • Healthcare finance
  • Program evaluation and quality assurance
  • Biostatistics
  • Ethics in healthcare delivery

Online Course Options

Although online hospital case management degree programs are available, they are not common. Similar to traditional on-campus programs, online programs may require applicants to have several years of relevant work experience, a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) and a current RN license. If you participate in an online program, you may also need to coordinate your practicum, capstone project and independent study as a graduation requirement.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Employers may seek out candidates with relevant professional experience and excellent leadership and communication skills. To better position yourself for employment opportunities, consider brushing up on project management competencies or learning some relevant project management software programs. The extra effort can show potential employers your drive and ability to learn new and relevant skills.

Hospital Case Management Certificate Programs

Case management certificate programs are typically intended for both nurses and social workers. Some certificate programs may require educational prerequisites, such as proof of a bachelor's degree in nursing or social work, while others may not.

A typical hospital case management certificate program is offered several times each year in an intensive format that lasts less than one year. Certificate programs often require some homework or additional study time outside of class, but the amount of work and assignments vary with each program.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Individuals who want to obtain the Certified Case Manager (CCM) credential can use certificate programs to prepare for the CCM examination
  • Unlike most master's degree programs, you may not need a previous nursing license to enroll in a hospital case management certificate program
  • Because of professional experience may not be required, many people complete certificate programs in order to find first time employment as a case manager

Cons

  • To obtain certification, you will still need to pass a proctored exam, such as those offered through the Commission for Case Manager Certification, and meet the required amount of work experience and/or education requirements
  • Certificate programs may not provide the in-depth focus that master's degree programs offer
  • Potential employers may not regard a certificate program to be as prestigious as a master's degree because some certificate programs do not require professional or education prerequisites

Common Courses and Requirements

In hospital case management certificate program, you can expect coursework and independent study requirements, such as case studies, reading assignments and research projects. You may need to spend time outside of class working on projects or completing independent study work. Typical course topics may include case management concepts, insurance and health benefits plans, coordination of services, legal and ethical responsibilities in case management, financial management and disease management.

Online Course Options

Hospital case management certificate programs are available online; however, they are also rare. The convenience of available online programs can particularly useful for working professionals and individuals seeking continuing education options.

Courses are typically aimed at experienced nurses, social workers or others in the healthcare profession; however, programs may not require relevant work experience. The available programs are generally offered 100% online.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Registered nurses and social workers who meet certain eligibility requirements may consider taking the proctored examination to earn a certified case management credential. Eligibility requirements can include valid RN license and two years professional experiences for nurses and bachelor's/master's degree from accredited social work program plus two years professional experience for social workers. Certification exams cover multiple topics in case management, including patient screening and assessment, care coordination and evaluation. Individuals will need to pay for the exam and application fees and receive a passing score to obtain certification, which is typically valid for four years.

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. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • MS - Healthcare Management
      • MS - Healthcare Management - Informatics
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Health Care Management
      • B.S. - Health Care Management - Health Informatics
      • BS - Business Administration - Health Care Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgt. & Healthcare Mgt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Mgt. & Human Resources
      • 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
    4. 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
  • Online Programs Available
    5. 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
    6. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Health Care Admin
      • PhD in Business Admin - Health Care Admin
    Master's
      • MBA - Health Care Admin
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. 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
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
      • MS - Healthcare Admin and Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Healthcare Admin and Management

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

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

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Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
  • MBA: Health Care Management
  • B.S. - Health Care Management

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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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Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MS in Health Care Administration
  • BS in Health Care Administration

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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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American InterContinental University

  • Master of Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Health Care Admin
  • PhD in Business Admin - Health Care Admin
  • MBA - Health Care Admin
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration

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American University

  • Master of Science in Healthcare Management

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