Online Case Management Education, Training and Certification Programs

Case management is a patient-advocacy specialty within the human services and health fields. This field includes negotiating and locating services for patients. Undergraduate training prepares students for careers in assisting case managers, while graduate programs prepare for more advanced positions.

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Online Associate Degrees Covering Case Management

Community colleges that offer Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degrees in human services - or one of its specialty fields, like alcohol and drug counseling - can prepare graduates for careers in the case management field. As with other distance-learning programs, students are required to have Internet access. Unlike most other online programs - because of the special requirements of professionals in the health and human services fields - some on-site requirements may need to be met, including internships or participating in on-campus classes. Depending on their interests, graduates may find work in elder care, addiction, social services, community outreach, the justice system or behavioral management.

Course Topics

Along with general education requirements, these types of programs offer professional and technical training. Case managers take a human-oriented approach to care and relevant classes may cover:

  • Assessment
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Treatment models

Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Human Services

Because no specific licensure is required of general case managers, students in human services programs are qualified to find work as case managers upon graduating. Classes in some online human services programs are designed for completion within eight weeks, allowing courses to be offered multiple times throughout the year. This modular format allows students to finish their degrees in a shorter amount of time than a traditional, on-campus format.

Additionally, some online universities provide students with access to 24/7 technical support. Due to the nature of the human services field, students may be required to participate in internship or practicum experiences prior to graduation.

Course Topics

Some of these programs allow for concentrations in topics like the court system, civic engagement, psychology, leadership, child development, cultural studies, or even a self-designed concentration. The topics that can prepare graduates for careers as case managers include:

  • Human services administration
  • Intervention methods
  • Ethics of human services
  • Research methodology
  • Social welfare

Online Continuing Education Graduate Certificate Programs

Online programs are primarily designed for physicians and registered nurses, while some on-campus programs are open to other professionals, such as social workers. The online certificate programs generally take no more than a year to complete. Some of these programs are designed for 100% online delivery, while others are designed as mostly online programs, with occasional requirements for attending in-person, on-campus classes.

Course Topics

Case managers assess patients, plan goals, implement strategies, coordinate care, monitor documentation and measure changes in health, as well as the financial impact that care has on patients and their families. Important training found in these programs can include:

  • Clinical ethics
  • Case management in the field
  • Life care planning
  • Utilization review
  • Quality management

Online Master's Degrees Covering Case Management

Programs like the Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing or M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling and Case Management offer training in related areas and can be found in a 100% online format. However, due to the interpersonal nature of the field, participation in an in-person internship is often required. Applicants are generally not required to have completed their undergraduate degree in any specific major. These programs take roughly two years to complete.

Course Topics

Good communication as well as an ability to research - and think critically about - a problem are vitally important to good case management. These programs prepare graduates for work in the field by providing classes in:

  • Rehabilitation technology
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Statistics
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Caring for diverse populations
  • Clinical systems

Certification

Because case managers come to the profession from a variety of backgrounds - including social work and nursing - there are a wide variety of certification options available to case managers. Those coming to the field with a bachelor's degree in social work may opt for certification as a Certified Social Work Case Manager, while those coming in with a bachelor's or master's degree from an administrative field may choose to go for the Case Management Administrator Certification.

One of the most generally applicable certifications is the Certified Case Manager credential from the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). These applicants must be licensed or certified - by their state - to independently practice case management. The CCMC additionally requires that applicants have completed a sufficient amount of case management experience, lasting between 1-2 years. This credential remains valid for a 5-year period.

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