A case manager is often considered the ‘captain of the ship’ because their job is designed to provide both leadership and management to their patients’ care plans. People who earn the CCM Certification are highly-respected amongst their peers as it shows their confidence and capability within your field.
What is CCM Certification?
Case management refers to a model of care delivery focused on the management of components related to the care of patients within or across the continuum of care. The goal is to achieve quality care outcomes and financial appropriateness.
A certified case manager is a healthcare professional responsible for integrating the theory and practice applications of case management into the clinical role.
A case manager overlooks the care delivery procedures to patients, working collaboratively with the health care team by providing leadership and committing to an organization’s goals for professional case management services.
In addition to this, case managers coordinate patient care delivery on top of being patient advocates and experts on the quality and costs of the health care team. Other significant roles and examples may include:
- Participation in inpatient discharge plans
- Patient teaching for clients and their families according to need
- Collaboration regarding the movement of patients from one care continuum to another
- Participation in research about patient outcomes along with studies supporting evidence-based practices in health care
- Helping to cut down unnecessary costs and utilization
- Working within or with managed care organizations
- Ensuring that ethical and legal problems involving patient care delivery are addressed and resolved, providing care appropriately
- Contribution to the evolving role as the external health care environment changes and transforms
After noting that, what exactly is the CCM certification? Case management certification is a certification that allows you to stand out as an experienced expert in your field, and everyone considers it as the benchmark for CCM certification.
The most sought after and respected case manager certification, the exam, and credentials are managed by the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC)- the first organization to authorize case managers.
The National Commission accredits CCM certification for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for healthcare and related fields. It includes all kinds of case managers irrespective of their credentials as long as they have a license to examine patients independently.
It is a very popular certification for case managers who aim to advance further in their careers and understand the significance of appearing more marketable.
What are the Requirements to Get CCM Certification?
If you are considering getting a CCM certification, you probably have the looming question in your head: “How to get CCM certification?”
To attain this certification, potential candidates have to meet certain educational and experiential requirements, including specific educational and employment experience.
- Educational background requires one of the following prerequisites:
- Have a license or certification in a health or human services discipline, e.g., RN, LPC, LCSW, LMSW, CDMS, or CRC)
- An undergraduate or graduate degree in social work, nursing, or other human serving related field with the program having included experience in case management, health, or behavioral health under a supervisor
Employment background requires one of the following prerequisites:
- 12 months of full-time case management job, in at most the past five years under the supervision of a CCM
- 24 months of full-time case management job, in at most the past five years if did not work under the supervision of a CCM
- 12 months of full-time work experience in at most the past five years supervising case managers
- Possess good moral character in line with the CCMC Code of Professional Conduct
Several post-secondary institutions offer programs that grant specialized certificates in case management. Since they last about eight weeks, these programs are structured to prepare healthcare professionals for the CCM credentials exam or the ANCC exam.
To top it off, the credits earned through these programs are applicable toward the continuing education requirements.
If you meet all the eligibility conditions, you can fill out the application and submit it, including your employer and current license information along with the set fee. Upon the approval of your application, you will be informed and given an ID number.
Once your application is accepted, you are eligible to take the CCM exam consisting of 180 multiple-choice questions. You should be able to complete the test in three hours.
For the CCM certification to remain valid, CCMs must obtain a minimum of eighty hours of continuing education credits every five years offered at colleges and universities.
Alternatively, nurses wishing to become certified case managers can get certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), which is an extension of the American Nurses Association (ANA).
Passing the ANCC exam allows the RN-BC credential in case management to be earned. It has the following requirements:
- Nurses must have a current RN license in America or the international counterpart
- Two years of full-time experience as an RN
- 2000 hours within the last three years of clinical practice in nursing case management
- Completion of 30 hours of continuing credits in nursing case management in the previous three years
How Much Does CCM Certification Cost?
The application fee for the CCM certification is $210, which is non-refundable, while the exam fee is $185. You can refund this fee if the candidate cannot take the exam, making the total to be around $395.
However, there is a possibility to take the exam for a lesser amount. There is a ‘promo code’ option in the Education and License section of the application where you can write down the name of the CCM who referred it to you.
Once the application window is closed, a lucky candidate and the CCM who provided the referral are chosen, and each wins a $345 American Express Gift Card. Overall, the CCM certification cost is not too high.
How Long Does It Take to Get CCM Certified?
The CCM exam is held three times in April, August, and December. If you pass the three-hour exam, you become a certified case manager. The passing grade is 70%.
If you cannot take the exam in the first available testing window or want more time to prepare after your application has been approved, you can defer to the next exam window.
You can schedule to take the exam on any day during the testing month at a Prometric Testing Center. You should submit the applications for the test during the application time for the respective test month.
Of the 180 multiple choice questions, only about 150 are scored, while the remaining 30 are unscored pretest questions. Your score consists of the total number of the 150 multiple-choice questions answered correctly.
The score is scaled based, depending on the difficulty level of the questions answered correctly.
Once you have taken the exam, the organization will inform you about your test results receiving a certificate and letter of certification in the mail if you have passed.
Exam Structure and How to Prepare for the Exam
The exam consists of two components. The first part contains questions that test the applicant’s core case management knowledge, skills, and abilities. For the second part of the exam, there are discipline-specific clinical simulations.
To qualify as a candidate, you are required to pass both the components they take.
The content for the examination focuses on the following four disciples related to hospital case management and transitions of care:
- Trial and assessment
- Care collaboration, intervention, and transition management
If you consider taking the CCM exam, you will prepare accordingly. There are many CCM certification study guides that you can incorporate into your preparation.
You can use the CCM Certification Made Easy Guide, a comprehensive, to-the-point study guide designed according to the blueprint of the CCM exam.
It is a book written specifically to help candidates pass the CCM exam. On the other hand, if you want to take CCM certification classes, a few are available online such as the Online CCM Certification Review Course or the Online Live CCM Prep Course.
These are also in tandem with the CCM exam blueprint, designed to help you better understand a case manager’s role in the current modern and complex healthcare system, providing information important for prepping and passing the case management exam.
Is CCM Certification Worth It?
For a Case Manager based in the United States, the average hourly wage was $38 in February 2020, but it usually ranges from $35 to $42.
The average yearly salary for Certified Case Managers is between $75,000 to $80,000, which is above what an average RN or Social Worker Salary. Statistically, almost half (45%) earn more than 80,000$ per year.
The CCM is the largest, oldest, and most valuable credential for case managers. Recognized by credible organizations as a representation of workforce readiness, its value has further increased due to health care development in incorporating a more patient-centric, collaborative model of care.
As health care needs skilled, knowledgeable case managers in the ever-evolving health care system, the standard of the CCM industry and the salaries for CCMs keep increasing.
A majority of the CCM workforce’s salaries increase every 12 months, indicating a robust upward salary trend. About 50% of CCM executives earn more than $100,000 annually, and more than 35% of CCMs in management positions.
CCM certification identifies case manager excellence across all health care and health management systems. It is an exclusively endorsed credential by the National Association of Social Workers and the Case Management Society of America.
It benefits from being the only cross-setting, cross-discipline case manager credential accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies in all health care and related fields.
Furthermore, it has been approved through a thorough job analysis conducted and analyzed independently by experts as the only cross-setting case manager certification.
Many employers consider the CCM certification to hold great value, financially supporting its consistent professional development.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Get CCM Certification
The role of CCMs is expansive in health care delivery, forgoing one standard role model of case management practice instead of focusing on the mission of individual, respective organizations regarding the model care management.
The CCM certification is by the NCCA, the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, i.e., ICE. The NCCA is known for accrediting programs with the highest quality professional certification standards.
This ensures that programs can meet the evolving standards of practice in the certification industry. Case managers can practice in various settings such as home care, acute care, hospital care, etc. In today’s health care delivery systems, there is nowhere that a case manager cannot practice.