One of the key elements in determining a career path is salary. After all, we all need money to survive and the human services field is no different. According to Glassdoor.com, the average national salary is just over $37,000. Indeed.com comes up with an average salary of $51,000 annually. Salary.com estimate case manager salaries at around $72,000. Case manager salaries can vary significantly depending on a number of factors. In some situations, experience and education also play a role in how much a case manager can make.
The size of the company also makes a difference. Large government agencies have the ability to pay more and provide very good benefits. Established private companies can also offer competitive salaries and benefits. Smaller non-profit organizations tend to offer lower salaries. There are many large private hospitals and health organizations that offer excellent pay and benefits.
Case Management Type
There are case manager jobs that can cover just about every human service need. Case managers work with the mentally ill, intellectually disabled, and the medically fragile. Case managers can also work in other areas such as housing and vocational services. RN/LPN case managers tend to earn more followed by case managers in the mental health/intellectual disability fields.
Location also plays a major role in salary. Areas with a high cost of living tend to offer higher salaries. Larger cities also tend to pay more especially government agencies. Larger cities can take in more revenue and therefore pay its employees higher salaries than smaller cities and counties. It’s no surprise that salaries in California and New York are significantly higher than the national average.
Education and experience also has an influence on salary. This really depends on the organization. Some organizations place more value on education and some may compensate more for experience. Private companies may be more willing to negotiate a salary. Case managers with a Master’s degree (MA, MS, M. Ed, MSW) or RN license have the potential to earn the most money and to advance to higher positions. Most case managers have degrees in psychology, human services, counseling, and nursing. Some schools now offer degrees in case management and certification in case management. In most cases, certification is not required but it never hurts to have extra credentials. LCSW and LPC credentials also increase earning potential.
Experience is also important when considering salary. Case managers usually tend to start their careers in direct care positions. Government agencies often favor experience. They also place emphasis on military experience. There are so many areas of case management that there is bound to be an area that you can advance from direct service positions. Residential counselors and in-home counselors often advance to service coordinators after gaining experience. Direct care professionals often gain experience from sitting in on service planning meetings with case managers and other service providers. Some in-home counselors also write quarterly reports and develop treatment plans. This makes the transition to case manager or service coordinator pretty seamless.
The Bottom Line
Case managers can expect to earn anywhere from about $37,000 to $72,000 annually. However, I have known case managers and other human service professionals that earn even more with advanced education and experience. There are many factors that determine salary potential. It’s important to get the education and experience to put yourself in the best position to command a higher salary. The bottom line: case management won’t make you rich but you can make a good living and help people along the way.