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What is a case manager?

By Fi Darby

If you’re already working in the community care sector but fancy a career change, the role of case manager could be just what you’re looking for. This is also a great role to aim for if you want to move into an industry that will make the most of your empathetic, organisational and team working skills. Case managers work with individuals and families to evaluate, assess and coordinate their care needs. In other words, a case manager brings together the care services so vital to the wellness and autonomy of many people in Australia’s communities.

Australia’s community care sector

Case manager jobs are available across Australia and in a range of care sectors. These include but are not exclusive to:
  • Children’s services
  • Residential care
  • Mental health care
  • Aged care
  • Youth work
  • Social work
The community care sector in Australia is thriving. In fact, it is the largest employing industry in Australia, with a workforce of 24,400 in 2016. Looking in more detail, our aging population has led to continued and projected growth in employment levels well beyond 2020 in the aged care sector. Childcare services have also seen significant increases in employment.

The role of case manager

case manager asking questions to older woman

This job role requires dedication and commitment as well as a high level of knowledge and people skills. As a case manager, you’ll work closely with your clients to establish their needs and allocate help and resources. Daily tasks will be varied and require high levels of communication and planning skills. A typical working day might include:
  • Meeting with individuals or families to understand and assess needs
  • Discussing cases with a range of professionals
  • Developing detailed plans to support clients in a range of situations
  • Communicating with external agencies 
  • Coordinating services to provide the necessary level of care
  • Reviewing the effectiveness of care programmes
  • Understanding care budgets and working within these
  • Keeping accurate and comprehensive case records
To be a great case manager, you’ll need to demonstrate a wide range of personal skills. If you already know you shine in the areas below, you could be on to a winner with this career choice.
  • Taking responsibility
  • Communicating with a wide range of people
  • Working independently
  • Empathising and understanding
  • Managing your own time
  • Delegating tasks as necessary
  • Training and encouraging others
  • Seeing jobs through to their conclusion
Case manager roles can be flexible and part time opportunities are available. Across the community services sector around 61% of people work full-time. 

Case manager salaries

With a high level of responsibility, community service case managers earn more than many people in their industry. Their current average annual salary is $87,129. The average salary in Australia is currently experiencing fluctuation due to the coronavirus pandemic but in May 2020 it was $89,122. Healthcare and social services jobs are showing signs of being particularly stable post-coronavirus.

Case manager work experience

family paper cut out

If you think case management sounds like the career for you, you will need to undertake some relevant training. However, training can often be done on the job. There is also a range of work and/or voluntary experiences that can prepare you for this role and make your resume look attractive to prospective employers. These include: 
  • Work in a social support setting
  • Experience in an adult care facility
  • Familiarity with work in a home care setting
  • Expertise in a specific discipline, for example, psychology or counselling
Employment where communication, organisation or policy interpretations have been important will also be relevant to the role of case manager. Previous work with people from diverse backgrounds will similarly help prepare you for this role.

Case manager training

Many caseworkers are educated to Bachelor Degree level but a diploma course can be a great stepping-stone towards this. Upskilled’s CHC52015 - Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) is a 12-month online course with a case management specialisation. If you’re looking for a community services qualification and are interested in management and supervisory level job roles, this is a great option for you.

Designed to fit easily alongside 100 hours of practical placement, this course includes units on managing legal and ethical compliance, coordinating complex case requirements and recognising and responding to crisis situations. As well as being appropriate if you want to be a case manager, this course would also help you progress to a centre manager position.

If you’re looking to move into an industry with a steady future and great career prospects, the role of case manager could be what you're looking for. For an opportunity to flex your management muscle at the same time as giving your caring side room to grow, this career couldn’t be better. Upskilled offers a range of online community services courses from Certificate II to Advanced Diploma level. Designed by industry experts and flexible enough to fit into any busy schedule, these courses can help make your career dreams come true.
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