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Become a Medicaid Service Coordinator: Education and Career Info

Learn how to become a Medicaid service coordinator. Research the job description and the education requirements and find out how to start a career in Medicaid service coordinating.

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Do I Want to Be a Medicaid Service Coordinator?

Medicaid service coordinators represent patients with Medicaid insurance and manage the administrative aspects of their healthcare case. They relay information from healthcare professionals and organizations to patients and their families, refer healthcare services, interview patients and identify problems, investigate patient complaints, explain policies and procedures, provide consultation, report data, and perform research.

Medicaid service coordinators generally work full-time schedules during regular business hours. Great reward in helping people get the medical care they need can be found, but this position may also be very stressful. The majority of such coordinators work in an office setting. Few physical demands are associated with this career, but much time is spent on the telephone and in front of a computer.

Job Requirements

Most Medicaid service coordinators have a bachelor's or master's degree in social work or a related field, but some have a high school diploma or equivalent. The following table contains the most common requirements for becoming a Medicaid service coordinator:

Common Requirements
Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent accepted for some positions; bachelor's or master's may be preferred*
Degree Field Social work or human services**
Experience 1-2 years of related experience**
Key Skills Excellent writing and verbal communication, organization, problem-solving, time-management and people skills, compassion and empathy skills are required*
Technical Skills Knowledge of industry-specific laws and ethics***
Computer Skills Experience with word processing, spreadsheet, medical and customer relationship management software***
Additional Skills Must possess a valid driver's license and have reliable transportation, must be able to make home visits**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Job postings by employers (Feb. 2013), ***O*NET OnLine

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

While entry-level positions may be available to those with a high school diploma or equivalent, a bachelor's degree, preferably in social work, human services or social services, is recommended for this career. Employers may also consider applicants with an associate degree or a certificate in those fields. A bachelor's degree program in social work might include coursework in social work research, social work methods, statistics, welfare programs, human behavior, social work practice and other related topics.

Success Tips:

  • Volunteer with local organizations. To gain experience working with individuals enrolled in the Medicaid program, it may be useful to lend one's time with a community organization. These organizations may allow you to counsel seniors, the disabled and low-income families in understanding their benefits.
  • Complete an internship to gain experience. Most social work programs require the completion of a field placement or internship as part of its graduation requirements. These hands-on experiences typically take place in a social service agency during the students' last semester.

Step 2: Consider Obtaining a Master's Degree

Some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree in social work, human services or a related field. Many schools offer different concentrations for this degree level. For example, a master's degree program in social work with a concentration in administration might provide training in nonprofit management, social policies, advocacy, ethics and professional development. A concentration in a community discipline might include coursework in social work leadership, social work practice and advanced field instruction.

Step 3: Gain Work Experience

Many employers require Medicaid service coordinators to have some previous experience in a related field. Entry-level positions may provide on-the-job training, so professional experience may not be necessary. Previous experience in case management or social work can provide the skills needed to become a Medicaid service coordinator. Experience through an internship program or volunteer work can be very beneficial to candidates seeking employment.

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