This article gives a comparison of the most popular certifications available for case managers. It also gives you a look at the eligibility requirements and cost of the exam.
A popular question in our Case Managers Community Facebook Group is “Which Case Management Certification should I choose?” While we can’t answer that question for you we can give you the information you need to decide for yourself.
Things to consider are where you are now and where you see yourself in the future. You will also want to take into consideration your professional background and where you work.
This article gives a comparison of 3 of the most popular certifications available for case managers to help you decide which one is best for you.
CCM (Certified Case Manager)
Considered the gold standard of case management certification this certification will help you stand out as an experienced expert in your field. With over 50,000 CCMs this is by far the most popular and prestigious case manager certification. The exam and credentials are offered by the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC), the first organization to certify case managers.
This certification is the only cross-setting, cross-discipline case manager credential for healthcare and related fields that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). It is inclusive of all case managers no matter the work setting or credentials as long as they have a license that allows them to conduct an independent assessment of the client. This makes it very popular with case managers today who are interested in career advancement and know the importance of making themselves more marketable.
To be eligible to sit for this exam candidates must meet the qualifications in three areas;
- license, degree, or certification,
- employment, and
Licensure, Degree, or Certification Requirements
Applicants must meet one of the following license, degree, or certification requirements:
(1) a current, active, and unrestricted licensure or certification in a health or human services discipline such as RN, LCSW, CRC, Rx, PT, OT, ST, RT, and CDMS among others.
(2) a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a health or human services discipline from an accredited institution in which they have completed supervised field experience in case management, health, or behavioral health.
Applicants must meet one of the employment requirements below:
- 24 months as a full-time case manager
- 12 months as a full-time case manager, supervised by a CCM
- 12 months as a full-time case manager supervising individuals who provide case management services
Part-time work will be calculated by CCMC to meet the equivalent full-time requirement. You should contact CCMC for more information if you are not working full-time and want to pursue CCM Certification.
Be of good moral character, consistent with the CCMC Code of Professional Conduct. (CCM® ELIGIBILITY at a GLANCE | Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC), 2024)
About the Exam
Candidates have 3 hours to complete the 180-question multiple-choice exam. Of the 180 questions, only 150 are scored questions, the other 30 are pretest questions which are not scored. According to CCMC, “The CCM exam is practice-based, meaning all questions are based on knowledge that an experienced case manager should know and understand.”
The examination content focuses on the following five domains:
- Care Delivery & Reimbursement Methods
- Psychosocial Concepts & Support Systems
- Quality & Outcomes Evaluation and Measurement
- Rehabilitation Concepts & Strategies
- Ethical, Legal & Practice Standards
Those who pass this exam are entitled to use the credential CCM (Certified Case Manager).
The exam is administered 3 times each year, during April, August, and December. The test can be scheduled for any available day during the testing month at a Testing Center. Online testing is also available. (Exam Application and Window Timeline | Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC), 2024)
Applications to test must be submitted during the application window for that test month. See the table below for more information
|Application window open
|Application window close
|By February 28
|By June 30
|By October 31
Cost of CCM Certification
The total cost of the exam is $420. This includes an application fee of $225 which is non-refundable and an exam fee of $195 which is refundable if the applicant is ineligible to sit for the exam. (Testing Information | Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC), 2024)
Because the test questions are weighted there is no way to determine the percentage or magic number of questions you must correctly answer to pass. You also need to pass each of the five domains to pass the exam.
CCMC does provide the number and percentage of test takers who pass during each exam cycle. The pass rate varies for each administration of the exam and between first-time and repeat test takers. The 2023 pass rates are in the chart below. Please note that the percentage represents the percentage of candidates that passed NOT the score.
Study Resources for CCM
CCM Certification Made Easy: Your Guide to Passing the Certified Case Manager Exam is the number one resource used by those passing the CCM exam. The suggested retail price is $69.97 but can be purchased for $59.45 here plus you will receive additional free bonuses.
This resource is a must for anyone studying for the CCM Exam and is only available on Amazon and through the publisher. You can click here to learn more.
For those who prefer to learn by taking a course, Case Management Institute has the best online course available taught by respected case management expert Anne Llewelyn.
You can get more information on how to study for the CCM Exam HERE
Who: Medical Professionals who are permitted to conduct an independent client assessment
Work Setting: Any
Work Experience: 1 – 2 years depending on your employment
Renewal: 5 years
Study Resources: CaseManagementStudyGuide.com
Total Cost: $479.45
Application and testing fee of $420 plus study guide of $59.45.
For more information contact CCMC directly at: CCMCertification.org
ACM (Accredited Case Manager)
The America Case Manager Association (ACMA) created and administers the Accredited Case Manager (ACM) exam and credentials. This certification is only available to RNs and Social Workers. The ACM is designed for health delivery systems and transitions of care (ToC) case managers working in the hospital setting. (ACMA: ACM Certification, 2024)
Licensure or Education Requirements
The ACM Certification examination is open to:
(1) Registered nurses with a current valid nursing license in good standing,
(2) Social workers with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in social work or valid social work license in good standing.
Work Experience Requirements
All applicants must have 1 year (2,080 hours) of full-time, supervised paid work experience in a healthcare delivery system as a case manager or a role that falls within the Scope of Services and Standards of Practice of a case manager. Internship, whether paid or unpaid does not count toward this requirement.
Having less than two years of experience adds the additional requirement of providing supervisor contact information and an attestation that they have at least one year of supervised case management experience.
About the Exam
There are two components to this exam. The first part consists of questions that test the core case management knowledge, skills, and abilities of case managers working in a hospital/health system. The second part of the exam involves discipline-specific clinical simulations. Candidates must pass both the core and discipline-specific portions to be entitled to use the ACM credential.
The examination content focuses on hospital case management and transitions of care (ToC) in the following four domains:
- screening and assessment,
- care coordination, intervention, and transition management,
Candidates for the ACM have two test scheduling options, quarterly or expedited.
With quarterly scheduling, candidates apply at any time and test within the regularly scheduled deadlines and timeframes listed below.
Candidates who do not want to wait for the next exam period can opt for the Apply Now Schedule Now option. This expedited scheduling allows the candidate to take the exam sooner (in the next three months). There is an increased cost for expedited scheduling.
Cost of ACM Exam
The exam application fee is $359 for the quarterly testing and $405 for the expedited Apply Now Schedule Now. Candidates deemed ineligible to sit for the exam will receive a refund, less a $75 processing fee.
Pass Rate/Additional Information
The ACM certification exam is pass/fail and was created to measure minimum competence in case management practice. A separate pass/fail score will be given for the core (multiple choice) and simulation portion of the exam. You will need to pass both portions of the exam to pass and earn the ACM credentials.
ACMA provides the number and percentage of test takers who pass. The pass rate varies for each administration of the exam as well as between RN and SW test takers. The 2020 through 2022 pass rates are in the chart below. Please note that the number and percentage represent the number and percentage of candidates that passed NOT the score.
Study Resources for ACM
ACMA sells the ACMA Certification Study Guide, an interactive e-book to prepare for the exam. The cost is $159 but ACMA members can receive it for the discounted price of $129. This book is only available in e-book format.
Who: RN’s and SW
Work Setting: Hospital
Credential: ACM (Accredited Case Manager) ACM-RN or ACM-SW
Work Experience: Minimum of 1-year
Renewal: 4 Years
Total Cost: $488 – $564
Application and testing fees of $359 or $405 plus study materials of $129 or $159.
For more information contact ACMA directly at: acmaweb.org
ANCC (Case Management – Board Certified)
Administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the Nursing Case Management board certification exam is specifically focused on nursing case management.
After meeting the eligibility requirements to sit for the exam and successful completion you are awarded the credential Case Management Nurse – Board Certified (CMGT-BC™). (Nursing Case Management Certification (CMGT-BCTM) | ANCC, 1980)
To qualify to sit for the ANCC Case Management Certification exam, applicants must meet the following licensure, work experience, and education qualifications.
Applicants must hold a current, active RN license within a state or territory of the United States or the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country. International applicants also have additional requirements which are outlined on ANCC’s website.
Applicants must have worked as an RN for the equivalent of 2 years of full-time employment. In addition, they must have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in nursing case management in the last 3 years.
To be eligible to sit for this exam you must have completed 30 hours of continuing education in nursing case management within the last 3 years. (Need help with this? The Case Management Institute can help.)
About the Exam
The ANCC exam is competency-based, assessing the entry-level clinical knowledge and skills of RNs working in the specialty area of case management. The exam content focuses on four domains; professional foundation, care coordination, quality management, and health promotion.
The exam contains 150 questions and must be completed in 3 hours or less. Only 125 of the questions are actual test questions, the remaining 25 are not scored as they are pretest questions.
You can apply at any time. Once the application is submitted an eligibility decision will be made within 4 – 6 weeks. If the applicant is deemed eligible an authorization to test number will be given. The applicant then has a 120-day window in which to schedule and take the exam.
Cost of ANCC Exam
ANCC charges $395 to apply for the exam but American Nurses Association Members pay a discounted rate of $295. Both prices include a $140 non-refundable administrative fee.
Pass Rate/Additional Information
The pass rate varies for each administration of the exam and between first-time and repeat test takers. In 2022 184 RNs tested of whom 119 passed for a pass rate of 65%. Please note the pass rate is the percentage of test takers who passed the exam, not the score needed to pass. (2022 ANCC Certification Data, n.d.)
Study Resources for CMGT-BC
ANCC recommends and sells the Nursing Case Management Review and Resource Manual. In addition, they recommend a review course (How to Prepare for Your ANCC Certification Exam, n.d.).
The Case Management Institute has a review course created by Anne Llewellyn and Elaine Miller, co-author of Nursing Case Management Review and Resource Manual. Along with preparing you for the exam, this course will also give you 10 CE hours towards the 30 required to apply for the exam.
ANCC also has a list of the resources used to create the test. This list includes various Standards of Practice as well as The Ethical Case Manager and A Practical Guide to Acute Care Case Management both available from Blue Bayou Press. You can view the complete list on the Nursing World website here.
Work Setting: Any
Work Experience: 2 years full-time as a registered nurse, and 2,000+ hours of clinical practice in nursing case management within the last 3 years.
Renewal: 5 Years
Popularity: < 2,000
Total Cost: $765.60 – $884
Application Fee of $295 or $395 plus study guide $73.60 or $92 and course $397.
Learn More: NursingWorld.org
Whichever certification you choose I encourage you to get certified. Obtaining your certification is a great career step. It shows that you are a lifelong learner who is serious about your profession, something employers and potential employers look for when promoting and hiring, making it well worth the investment. And what better investment of your time and money is there than investing in yourself!
While we have only listed the most popular, there are numerous other certifications available. To see a full list of available certifications, download the free eBook by Anne Llewellyn, Stepping Up to Certification, HERE.
2022 ANCC Certification Data. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2024, from https://www.nursingworld.org/~49045d/globalassets/docs/ancc/ancc-cert-data-website.pdf
ACMA : ACM Certification. (2024). Acmaweb.org. https://www.acmaweb.org/acm/default.aspx?nav=info
ACMA: ACM Certification Frequently Asked Questions. (2024). Acmaweb.org. https://www.acmaweb.org/acm/default.aspx?nav=faq#anchortext21
CCM® ELIGIBILITY AT A GLANCE | Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). (2024). Ccmcertification.org. https://ccmcertification.org/get-certified/certification/ccmr-eligibility-glance
Certification FAQs | Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). (2024). Ccmcertification.org. https://ccmcertification.org/get-certified/certification/certification-faqs
Exam Application and Window Timeline | Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). (2024). Ccmcertification.org. https://ccmcertification.org/get-certified/certification/exam-application-and-window-timeline
How to Prepare for Your ANCC Certification Exam. (n.d.). https://www.nursingworld.org/~498d51/globalassets/certification/ancc-1788_certification-seven-tips_fnl.pdf
Nursing Case Management Certification (CMGT-BCTM) | ANCC. (1980). ANA. https://www.nursingworld.org/our-certifications/nursing-case-management/
Testing Information | Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). (2024). Ccmcertification.org. https://ccmcertification.org/get-certified/certification/testing-information
Deanna Cooper Gillingham, RN, CCM is a leader in case management with over a quarter-century experience in healthcare as a Registered Nurse and Case Manager. She is CEO and co-founder of the Case Management Institute, and leader and co-founder of the Case Managers Community, a group of over 10,000 committed case managers. From there she hosts the popular Case Managers Community Saturday morning FB Lives.
In addition to her own books, CCM Certification Made Easy: Your Guide to Passing the Certified Case Managers Exam and Foundations of Case Management (Available 2020), she has contributed to other works including Second Acts, Stepping Up to Certification, and Case Management Salary and Trends Survey.
Deanna educates and inspires through both live and online presentations. Her live speaking has included hosting the Case Managers Cruise for 3 years and co-presenting NNBA Pre-Conference Case Management and Patient Advocacy: Career Paths for Nurses Who Want to Move Beyond the Bedside. Her online presentations include Successful Study Strategies for the CCM Exam, Test Taking Strategies for the CCM Exam, and Everything You Need to Know About Case Management As a Career Option for Nurses.