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How to Become an RN Case Manager

Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

Medical professional completing paperwork

RN Case Managers provide a specialized service in the field of healthcare. Not only do they coordinate care, but they act as educators and advocates for patients as well as their families. RN Case Managers also act as liaisons between patients and other healthcare professionals.

This comprehensive career guide offers a deeper look into one of the highest-paid nursing jobs in the United States, the RN Case Manager. This specialty has also been featured among our top work from home nursing jobs.

(Click here to see our full list of the best work from home nursing jobs).

Continue reading to learn more about the requirements, responsibilities, training, and average salaries of RN Case Managers.

RN Case Manager Definition

What is an RN Case Manager?

Registered Nurse (RN) Case Managers works with patients, their families, doctors, other healthcare professionals, and insurance companies to ensure the entire healthcare operation runs smoothly. Their main role is to manage the healthcare plans for their employer.

RN Case Manager Duties & Responsibilities

What Does an RN Case Manager Do?

The primary goal of an RN Case Manager is to develop, implement, and review healthcare plans. Not only do they advocate for patients and their families, but they strive to offer efficient yet effective healthcare services while maintaining treatment costs.

Essentially, RN Case Managers act as a liaison between patients and medical practitioners. They coordinate services for the patient with doctors, other healthcare professionals, and insurance providers.

Some of the typical day-to-day responsibilities of an RN Case Manager include:

  • Reducing hospitalizations for high-risk individuals
  • Recognizing each client’s needs and connecting them to appropriate services or resources
  • Screening clients or population for healthcare needs
  • Helping clients transfer to facilities and other environments as needed
  • Supervising systems for detecting high-risk clients via EMR, referrals, registries, etc.
  • Managing the discharge process
  • Scheduling their clients’ doctor appointments and follow up
  • Acting as a resource for clients, i.e. offering education and guidance to patients as well as their families
  • Developing long-term healthcare plan for clients with serious conditions
  • Serving as a liaison for Payer Based Care Management programs
  • Monitoring medication usage for each client
  • Revising treatment plans as necessary to support the client’s current condition
  • Organizing specialty care, check up on test results etc.
  • Examining the latest treatments and procedures in their specialization
  • Collaborating with external case management programs to better coordinate care
  • Educating the client and their family or caregiver about the case management process

Where Do RN Case Managers Work?

RN Case Managers can work in a number of settings. They can also fill remote positions. Below are just a few examples of facilities in which RN Case Managers can find employment:

  • Hospitals
  • Insurance Companies
  • Long Term Care Facilities
  • Medical Supply Companies
  • Hospice
  • Community Health Centers
  • Public Health Centers
  • Oncology Outpatient Centers
  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Home Healthcare Companies

Two nurses on a break

RN Case Manager Hours

Most RN Case Managers work full time. However, some of these professionals may work more than 40 hours per week as they might need to work evenings or weekends for hospitals, nursing homes, or on-call shifts.

Traits for Success

Becoming an RN Case Manager might be a great fit for you if you…

  • Have great time management skills
  • Value organization
  • Employ effective communication skills
  • Excel at decision making and problem solving
  • Prefer to have autonomy
  • Enjoy teamwork
  • Offer a creative personality
  • Possess strong clinical skills

RN Case Manager Schooling & Certification

How Long Does It Take to Become an RN Case Manager

What Degree Do You Need to Be an RN Case Manager?

Becoming an RN Case Manager might take anywhere from seven to nine years, depending on your level of nursing education and prior experience.

For example, a BSN degree alone could take about three to four years to complete for someone who is just starting out. You may also be required to obtain certification before landing a job. Many certifications will require some years of clinical experience to be eligible.

If you’d like to become an RN Case Manager, then you’ll likely need to follow these steps:

1. Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is an academic degree in the science and principles of nursing. It’s typically granted by an accredited education provider. Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Registered Nurses (RNs) often pursue a BSN degree to further their education and take the next step in their careers.

To be accepted into most BSN programs, candidates are required to submit several standard application materials, such as academic transcripts, GRE scores, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.

Core nursing classes during a bachelor’s program may include the following topics:

  • Professional nursing
  • Health assessment
  • Family nursing
  • Medical and surgical care
  • Nursing management
  • Psychosocial nursing

Graduation cap with diploma and stethoscope

2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Licensure Exam

One important milestone for aspiring nurses is the RN licensing exam. In order to become Registered Nurse, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

The NCLEX is issued by a governmental entity, which provides the public with an assurance of safety and competence. Nurses perform a critical service, and they are the second-largest group of licensed professionals in the U.S. Therefore, it’s vital they receive the proper credentials.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) developed two exams to test the competence of aspiring RNs and LPNs/LVNs. Learn more about the NCLEX and what to expect with this detailed FAQ section.

3. Gain Experience Working as a Nurse

Before you can become an RN Case Manager, you’ll need to hone your skills and qualifications. This is why some certifications—and employers—may only consider applicants who have accrued at least five years of nursing experience.

4. Find a Role That Specializes in Case Management

It’s also important that you seek a position which specializes in case management. Keep the five components of case management in mind while you do so:

    • Care Delivery and Reimbursement Methods
    • Psychosocial Concepts and Support Systems
    • Quality and Outcomes Evaluation and Measurements
    • Rehabilitation Concepts and Strategies
    • Ethical, Legal, and Practice Standards

5. Earn Case Management Certification

Most RN Case Manager positions require their applicants to earn their certification in case management through one of the following organizations:

While these certifications may have varying eligibility standards, they usually require numerous hours of professional experience and an active RN license.

To learn more, you can find lots of helpful information from the following organizations:

(Click here to learn how to become a nurse).

Healthcare professionals with paperwork


RN Case Manager School Cost

So, how much does it cost to become an RN Case Manager? As previously mentioned, most aspiring RN Case Managers will earn a bachelor’s degree while pursuing this career path.

Tuition fees for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree often vary depending on the school. However, you can probably expect to spend anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000.

Work From Home Opportunities

Since an RN Case Manager coordinates care, most of their tasks fall under the virtual realm and only require phones or computers to execute. This means they can typically fulfill their job requirements from home. Even before the pandemic, online RN Case Manager jobs could be found for these professionals.

While RN Case Managers often find work in hospitals, insurance companies, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, and other medical facilities, they can also find remote positions that allow them to work outside of a healthcare facility. Look for Remote RN Case Manager listings on job recruiting sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, FlexJobs, LinkedIn, etc.

RN Case Manager’s Salary

How Much Does an RN Case Manager Make?

According to Salary.com, the average RN Case Manager salary is about $85,000 per year or around $43 per hour. Their salary will typically range anywhere from $78,000 to $92,000. However, an RN Case Managers who earn salaries in the 90th percentile can make more than $98,000 per year!

(Click here to learn about the highest paid nursing jobs).

RN Case Manager Job Outlook

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not currently provide statistics for RN Case Managers, they have predicted overall growth for Registered Nurses now and in the coming years.

According to the BLS, employment of Registered Nurses is projected to increase 7 percent by 2029. The growing emphasis on preventive care in our nation’s healthcare system is one of several factors contributing to these projections.

Smiling female nurse with a chart

Why Pursue a Career as an RN Case Manager

RN Case Managers dedicate their professional lives to the service and care of those who need it most. Moreover, they act as patient advocates and collaborate with a number of teams. In addition to helping others, RN Case Managers have a bright career outlook and enjoy decent salaries.

You too can learn how to save lives and instigate change in the field of healthcare.

If you’re an aspiring nurse but don’t know where to begin, you can earn your Vocational Nursing diploma, BSN degree, or enroll in another nursing program at Unitek College.