Are you eligible to take the CCM exam? Know before you apply

Are you eligible for the CCM?CCM Exam Eligibility

Knowledge of case management terminology and current practice are among the essential elements you’ll need to pass the Certified Case Manager® (CCM®) exam. But earning the CCM is about more than book knowledge—after all, it’s an exam based on what case managers do in daily practice.

Becoming a board-certified case manager requires you to have both the core education (which may be represented by licensure) and experience to practice case management before you even apply to take the test.

Why require education and experience to apply? Because the CCM is a professional certification, validating you have what it takes to grasp the big picture as well as the boots-on-the-ground know-how needed to practice case management.

The Commission expanded CCM exam eligibility requirements in March 2013. With a growing demand for case managers, we recognized the need to increase the ranks. We also acknowledged that case managers with education from across the allied health spectrum can demonstrate they have what it takes to become board certified.

Educational Requirements

The Commission’s Certification Guide goes into detail about eligibility, but we’ll cover the basics here. Let’s tackle the education requirement first. Applicants must have one (not both, just one) of the following two options to apply:

  • License/certification option: A current, active and unrestricted licensure or certification in a health and human services discipline that allows you to conduct a client assessment independently. Some examples of licenses and certifications that meet this eligibility requirement are: RN, LCSW, LMSW, LPC, CRC and CDMS.
    • The LPN and LVN licenses do not meet the independent assessment criteria, so those licenses don’t qualify candidates to apply for the CCM.
    • If you aren’t sure that your license or certification allows you to practice independently, contact your state governing board to find out.
    • If your license doesn’t qualify you to take the CCM, think about using your degree to apply instead.
    • Just remember, your license needs to be active and current at the time you would take the exam.
  • Higher education option: A bachelor’s or graduate degree in social work, nursing, or another health or human services field that promotes the physical, psychosocial, and/or vocational well-being of those being served.
    • Your degree must be from an accredited institution.
    • The degree, as part of the curriculum, must include supervised field experience in case management, health, or behavioral health. A great example of this is a bachelor’s degree in social work.
    • Do you have a bachelor’s degree, but you’re unsure whether it’s among the many we accept for eligibility? Just call us at 856-380-6836 to find out.

If you have a qualified license AND a qualified degree, choose the option that will support your renewal in the future.

Experience Requirement

Second, comes the experience requirement. For all the options below, the Commission holds that only experience within the past five years should be considered, because health care changes so rapidly (and so does case management practice). Internships, preceptorships, practicum and volunteer experience are not accepted as employment experience.

Experience must be complete at the time you apply (not when you sit for the exam). The criteria are specific about the experience itself to ensure you’re doing comprehensive case management.

For all three options, your experience must include work in at least four of the five core components of case management. These align with the Knowledge Domains on the CCM exam:

  1. Care Delivery and Reimbursement Methods
  2. Psychosocial Concepts and Support Systems
  3. Quality and Outcomes Evaluation and Measurements
  4. Rehabilitation Concepts and Strategies
  5. Ethical, Legal, and Practice Standards.

Within each component, case managers must perform all eight essential activities with direct client contact (assess, plan, implement, coordinate, monitor, evaluate, outcomes, general tasks). Your experience must include providing services across the care continuum and interacting with others in the care system.

The Commission will ask you to provide the name and contact information for a supervisor in order to confirm your work experience. A current email—personal or professional—is required. This is simply the person that you report to (or have reported to) as a case manager, in contrast to the “supervision” required for some licenses, such as social work or licensed professional counselor.

How much qualified experience do you need? The Commission offers three ways for you to meet the requirement:

  • 12 months of acceptable full-time case management employment, supervised by a board-certified case manager (CCM). Your Supervisor must be certified for at least one year at the time of your application.
  • 24 months of acceptable full-time case management employment experience (no supervision by a CCM required under this option).
  • 12 months of acceptable full-time case management employment experience as a supervisor of individuals who provide case management services. This must also fall in the last five years.

What if you work a part-time schedule? The Commission has a formula for that: We’ll pro-rate your experience based on a 37-hour work week (this is automatically calculated when you apply). Check the Certification Guide for details.

If it seems that eligibility criteria are a bit complicated, it’s because we try to ensure there are as many avenues open to qualified case managers as possible to apply for certification, while still ensuring the certification represents case manager excellence. Our goal is to certify and professionally support a qualified, ready workforce. And remember, we want to help, so don’t hesitate to call us at 856-380-6836.

Debby Formica COO, Commission for Case Manager CertificationDebby Formica has been with the Commission since 2010. She served previously as director of administration and operations, assistant vice president, and director of business development. In her new role as COO, Formica is responsible for oversight of certification services, management of volunteers, and implementation of the strategic direction provided by the Board of Commissioners. Formica has extensive experience in financial analysis, project management, and certification services. She began her career by spending eight years in healthcare financial consulting with CBIZ KA Consulting Services before moving to Johnson & Johnson as a manager in contract management and analysis. She holds a bachelor of science in accounting from Lehigh University and is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, the American Society of Association Executives and the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives. Formica is also president and founder of Helpful Gifts from the Heart, a non-profit that benefits families dealing with pediatric cancer.

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CCM Exam Practice Questions

CCM Exam PracticeOne of the most frequently asked questions we get is regarding CCM exam practice questions. We post a practice question each weekday in our FaceBook Group Case Managers Community, with the answer posted the following day. But many people are looking for more than this. So we began researching options.

I would like to first stress the fact that I do not feel practice questions/tests are necessary to successfully prepare for the CCM Exam. Many people, including myself, have passed without taking a practice test. That being said, I do understand that some people like to add practice questions to the tools that they use to study.

I would recommend that anyone who has test anxiety use a practice test that simulates the CCM exam as much as possible. They should use the practice test in conjunction with relaxation techniques and biofeedback to learn how to cope with and overcome their test anxiety.

Practice questions/tests are also useful to gauge where you need to focus your study time. A good practice test will have questions in each of the Domains that CCMC will test you on and break down your results according to those domains so that you know where your strengths and weaknesses are.

I do not recommend practice questions/tests be the only study tools used. You still have to learn the material. “Guessing” at answers and reviewing the rationale to the ones you miss is really not studying, it’s learning to pass the practice test. Remember, mastering the practice test is not the same as mastering the information you need to know to pass the actual test. The actual test will have different questions and answer choices.

So what should you look for in a good practice test?

There are 2 things that are crucial. First, you want to know who wrote it. The person who wrote it should have passed the exam! Be skeptical of any practice questions whether in a book or digital format that do not list the names and credentials of the authors. It is also important that the rational, and when appropriate references, are listed along with the correct answer.

We were able to find a practice test we are proud to recommend: DataChem. DataChem met our minimum criteria stated in the last paragraph and also had additional features we feel are important.

DataChem has a practice test mode that allows you to determine the amount of time, the number of questions and the domains to include in your practice test. You have an unlimited number of times to use the practice test mode and can adjust the time, number of questions, and included domains each time.

In addition to the practice test mode, DataChem also has a study mode where you can read and answer one question at a time. You can also mark questions you are having trouble with and review them again at a later time.

DataChem has a large number of questions in its question pool. This means that you will not get the same questions over and over.

You have unlimited use of DataChem for the amount of time you purchase it for. The minimum is 60 days and the longest is 270. This is great because it gives you enough time to really use it to its fullest and not try to cram in all of your learning. You can use it as one of your study tools at regular intervals through your studies.  

I have created a demo video to walk you through some of the features of The Datachem CCM Practice Test Software. Click the link below to view the video and get additional information.

DataChem Demo Video for CCM Exam Practice Questions

When taking a practice test you will find information that is new to you. Don’t freak out! Use this as an opportunity to use your critical thinking and reasoning skills. You will come across questions on the actual test that you do not know the answer to. You have to know how to use the information provided and your knowledge base to answer these questions.

Please see our Affiliate disclosure at the following link Affiliate Disclosure

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Have You Ever Thought About Opening Your Own Case Management or Patient Advocacy Business?

starting your own case management business

Have you ever thought about starting your own Case Management or Patient Advocacy business?

Do you currently have a business you would like to grow?

Anne Llewellyn and I will be conducting a Pre-Conference Workshop on this subject at this year’s National Nurses in Business Association National Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada October 12-14. This nurse entrepreneurship and careers alternative conference is the #1 business conference for nurses!

In our pre-conference workshop, we will look at the emerging roles of case management and patient advocacy for nurse entrepreneurs. We will teach you how to break into independent practice and develop a business plan for success so that you can establish a profitable business. If this is something that would interest you we would love to see you there. You can get more information by clicking this link…

Case Management and Patient Advocacy: Career Paths for Nurses Who Want to Move Beyond the Bedside

During this pre-conference seminar, you will learn:

  • The similarities and differences between patient advocacy and case management
  • The skills and competencies needed to be successful
  • How to reach and maintain prospective clients

nurse entreprenuershipThe National Nurses In Business Association Conference is designed for nurses who are thinking about starting a business, those already in business, and those looking for career alternatives. Nationally acclaimed speakers and business experts will provide nurses with the information, tools and actionable take-a-ways you need to start your own nursing business—or to make your current business even more successful, as well as exposing you to a wealth of alternative career options. In addition, the seven pre-conference workshops will give you in depth, how–to information, resources, and dozens of tips whether you are a novice or a seasoned pro.

Now, more than ever, there are unlimited opportunities in nursing to achieve autonomy and take the lead in re-framing nurse’s role in the delivery of healthcare services and programs. Thousands of nurses nationwide have already accomplished this by starting their own business and are enjoying independence, professional respect, and increased financial rewards.

We would love to see you there! Click the button for more information…

National Nurses In Business Association Conference 2018


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