Also known as mental health case managers, psychology case managers specialize in assisting individuals with the care they need to deal with mental health issues. They may work in hospitals, mental health facilities and residential substance abuse treatment centers. Launching a career as a psychology case manager may start with enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology program.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of mental health and substance abuse social workers, including case managers, is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations in coming years. Job growth will occur through an expanding population and increased demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Job seekers with advanced education or specialized training should enjoy the best career opportunities.
Typically, psychology case managers visit with children, adults or families, interviewing them and taking notes to use in assessments. They evaluate treatment options and create a plan to help clients overcome issues and modify behavior. Providing intervention services to help clients avoid future problems is also a key job function for this occupation.
Psychology case managers may work with a team of professionals to bring a full range of health services to individuals. Evaluation and follow-up are important aspects of this position. Some psychology case managers specialize in a particular area, such as working with children or the elderly. They must document their work and file insurance and other mandated forms, so record keeping and report writing are common job duties.
A psychology case manager’s career is typically spent in an office, hospital, clinic, government agency or private practice. While these professionals often work a 40-hour week, evening or weekend hours may be required and travel is sometimes necessary.
The BLS reports that as of May 2009, case managers and other mental health and substance abuse social workers earned a median salary of $38,200. National salary data on PayScale.com indicated case managers typically earned between $29,473 and $47,303 as of August 2010. Recent bachelor’s graduates will generally start out toward the lower end of the range, but can increase their earnings with experience and further education.
Entry-level psychology case manager jobs generally require a bachelor’s degree. Some employers prefer candidates with previous experience, which can be obtained through summer jobs or internship programs while pursuing a degree in applied psychology.
The first step to a career in psychology case management can be a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology. Coursework typically includes abnormal psychology, professional and ethical issues, multicultural issues, and law and psychology.
Employers can be confident that graduates of an applied psychology program are able to:
Many employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use tuition assistance program to pay for a master’s degree.
Some important traits for psychology case managers include the ability to assess client needs and advocate for them, plus strong communication, writing and interpersonal skills. Empathy and sensitivity are also essential attributes. If you have these qualities, you might be a very good candidate for psychology case manager career.