According to the Case Management Society of America, case managers assess, plan, facilitate and evaluate social services for their clients. Helping clients meet their goals and ensuring public safety requires completing an educational program that provides the knowledge necessary to work in a specialized environment such as mental health, healthcare or child welfare.
Generalist College Certificates
A certificate program provides individuals who want to work in the social services with the general skills necessary to take on a case management role. This type of degree is typically shorter than a full-length associate, bachelor's or master's and may or may not accompany one of these degree programs. A generalist certificate provides a broad background in case management principles. For example, Rhode Island College offers an 18-credit case management certificate, giving students basic skills and knowledge such as Introduction to Case Management, Basic Interviewing Skills and field experience.
Specialized Psych Work
Some case management courses and degree programs include a specialized component such as mental health. For example, the University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work offers concentration courses in behavioral health case management. Undergraduate students in either the social work or psychology programs can elect this certificate, which provides instruction on working with mental health clients in a service coordination role. Students take case management coordination courses along with mental health classes in topics such as Abnormal Psychology and Introduction to Social Work.
Some community colleges offer case management courses as part of a certificate or associate degree program. For example, the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania offers a 36-credit certificate program in Social Work Specialist: Case Management. This type of program does not prepare students to become licensed social workers or certified health-care professionals, but does provide coursework in social work, psychology, human development, interviewing and case management skills. The associate degree takes less time than a bachelor's, but you may have to return to school to complete an undergraduate degree to advance in your career beyond an entry-level position.
Medical case management includes supporting the care of patients in a healthcare setting or those who have physical issues such as illness or chronic diseases. Colleges offering case management classes in medical areas provide degrees that includes specialized training in health-related care and service coordination. For example, Davenport University offers a Bachelor's of Science in Medical Case Management that includes classes in disability case management, general healthcare case management, healthcare research and cultural issues in the healthcare setting. Graduates work in hospitals, hospices, assisted living facilities, home healthcare organizations, rehabilitation centers or doctors' offices.
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.