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Nurse Case Manager Careers and Salary Outlook 2020

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Nurses interested in collaborating with medical and non-medical professionals to coordinate long-term care for patients can pursue careers as nurse case managers. Our guide provides information on the profession, including nurse case manager work settings, responsibilities, and requirements for education and licensure, along with data on salaries and job growth.

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What is a Nurse Case Manager?

A nurse case manager oversees the monitoring of long-term care plans for patients of different backgrounds. These nurses typically work with a specific type of patient who requires constant, ongoing medical care. Patients can include geriatrics, cancer patients, and individuals with HIV. Case management nurses work with other medical professionals to cultivate effective long-term care plans to ensure patients receive the highest quality of healthcare available.

  • What Do Nurse Case Managers Do?

    These professionals handle the cases of patients upon admittance and up to their discharge from the hospital or other healthcare facilities. They are responsible for the long-term care of patients, along with making important decisions throughout treatment. Individuals must maintain current registered nurse (RN) licensure to qualify for this position. To advance, RNs must pursue additional education and licensure.

    Nurse case managers work with teams of medical professionals to create and implement comprehensive care plans specific to patients’ medical and illness histories. These professionals research the most modern procedures and treatments for their nursing specialty, overseeing treatment plans and updating them whenever necessary. Nurse case managers schedule surgeries and arrange doctor’s appointments for patients and monitor their medication usage. Additionally, these nurses educate patients and their caregivers about the different resources and treatment options available to them.

  • Where Do Nurse Case Managers Work?

    Nurse case managers can focus their careers in many different workplace settings, including clinics, private practices, and hospitals. They can also explore job opportunities in care centers and other healthcare facilities for patients struggling with long-term medical issues.

    Professionals in the field can also work in hospice care facilities, nursing homes, and home healthcare companies. These nurses often work independently and can become case management consultants in charge of their own schedules.

  • Skills That Could Affect Nurse Case Manager Salaries

    Nurse case managers should possess excellent communication skills. These nurses regularly work with other healthcare professionals and must be able to stay on track and ensure that everyone functions as part of the same team. Additionally, these professionals need to communicate with patients in a clear, concise way.

    Nurse case managers should possess organizational skills and the ability to pay close attention to detail for cultivating patient care plans. These professionals should also maintain strong computer skills to coordinate care for patients and review appointments.

How to Become a Nurse Case Manager

When reviewing how to become a nurse case manager, individuals must first earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. Once they successfully graduate with their BSN, they can complete RN licensure by passing the NCLEX-RN exam. With licensure, professionals can gain hands-on experience through internships before pursuing full-time case management positions.

Some employers might require professionals to complete certification programs in the field. Each nursing case manager should plan to earn an RN license with a BSN or master of science in nursing (MSN) degree, along with completing 1-2 years of professional nursing practice and additional experience in case management.


Nursing case managers typically hold a BSN. Case management nursing also features advanced practice nursing opportunities for professionals who complete an MSN. Earning a BSN typically takes four years to complete when enrolled full time. A student should plan on taking an additional two years of full-time enrollment if they pursue a master’s degree.

Training and Certification

Not all employers in the healthcare field require nurse case managers to complete certification programs, but candidates who hold relevant credentials often enjoy an advantage over other applicants. The American Case Management Association offers the accredited case management credential for professionals in the field to consider.

Additionally, nurse case manager professionals can explore the nursing case management certification offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The Commission for Case Manager Certification also offers an esteemed certified case manager credential. Professionals can review the specific eligibility requirements for each certification type, such as education, clinical experience, and practical training components.

Pursuing certification in the nurse case management field after completing a degree program and RN licensure can help professionals stand apart among other candidates. Certified individuals often receive higher salaries and explore more advanced job opportunities.

Nurse Case Manager Salaries and Job Growth

Experience level and location have a significant impact on nurse case manager salary data. According to PayScale, the national median salary for the occupation is $71,372, with New York, New York, as the highest paying area for the career ($90,483). Other high-paying cities that nurse case managers can consider working in include Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Atlanta, ranging from $76,619-$84,750.

Entry-level nurse case managers earn an average salary amount of $65,062, while those practicing late in their careers enjoy an average salary of $75,470. Nurse case management is offered as a specialty for RNs, so aspiring case management professionals should also consider RN salary data.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs receive the highest salary opportunities and employment levels in California, while South Dakota features the highest concentration of jobs for the occupation. The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is the highest paying industry for RNs, while the general and surgical-medical hospital industries offer the highest employment levels and concentration of jobs.

Highest Salary Locations for Nurse Case Managers
National Median $71,372
New York, New York $90,483
Los Angeles, California $84,750
Houston, Texas $80,280
Chicago, Illinois $76,619
Atlanta, Georgia $76,915

Source: PayScale

Median Salary for Nurse Case Managers by Career Experience

  • Entry Level: $65,062
  • Early Career: $66,972
  • Mid Career: $70,790
  • Experienced: $73,614
  • Late Career: $75,470
  • Source: PayScale

    Related Job Salaries
    Registered Nurse Medical Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse, Emergency Room Registered Nurse, Critical Care
    $63,263 $32,848 $43,491 $66,292 $72,541

    Source: PayScale

    Nurse Case Manager Resources

    • American Association of Managed Care Nurses Functioning as a national managed care professional and nurse association for students and professionals in the field, AAMCN provides opportunities for education and networking to nurses in the managed care industry. This nonprofit active membership association provides many useful resources for members.
    • American Board of Managed Care Nursing ABMCN is a nonprofit organization that offers certification programs for nurses. The certification features an exam that was created and reviewed by nurses with practical experience working in managed care. The board aims to ensure quality in these programs to promote the highest standard of managed care nursing.
    • American Nurses Credentialing Center Providing credentials for individuals and organizations who want to pursue advanced practice nursing, ANCC features a certification program that allows nurses to demonstrate their expertise within certain nursing specialties, displaying their competencies and skills to employers and patients. The center also highlights conferences for members to network with other nurses in the country.
    • Job Search features a job search function that allows users to search for job opportunities by specific job title or specialty of nursing. Nurses can also search by location, selecting distance parameters to ensure they only see job opportunities within a certain distance.
    • American Nurses’ Association As the leading professional organization for nurses in the U.S., ANA provides the highest quality of healthcare for everyone. The organization welcomes members in all 50 states and strives to meet the highest standards for nursing practice. ANA advocates for healthcare issues that affect the public and nurses.
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