Q&A: Pay scale for certifications

CDI Strategies - Volume 15, Issue 1

Q: My organizations is considering implementing a pay scale for CDI specialists based on whether they hold the CCDS certification or not, but are not sure how much of an increase to implement. What are some possible examples of how to do it or what the increase should be?

A: Different organizations have expressed varying means by how they compensate for a CCDS certification.

Some organizations do not offer any additional pay for a CDI-specific certification or offer a very limited raise such as a 50-cent hourly increase for each certification with a limit of two certifications while others compensate at higher rates such as a 2% general salary increase.

Still other organizations require staff to sit for the  CCDS exam once they hit the two-year experience prerequisite. If (when) they pass, they then qualify for a raise, such as 5% salary increase.

When looking into compensation for CDI specialists with and without CDI-related certification, research similar compensation amounts geographically. For example, in California a specialist with a CCDS-only might average in the range of $38-$43 per hour and someone with more than one credential might earn $45-$50.

In general, it is beneficial for both the organization and the CDI team to offer additional compensation for acquired certifications. If staff are not encouraged to better themselves in their careers and love what they do, their work can become routine and they might lose the drive to grow professionally.

If CDI specialists have their talents raised and are encouraged to grow through education and certifications, they can become CDI leaders, lead educational sessions at medical staff meetings, work with case management staff on CDI-related projects, etc. Offering an increased compensation for additional certifications encourages CDI specialists to continue learning and pushing themselves in their jobs.

Editor’s note: This question and answer were adapted from a thread on the ACDIS Forum. To learn more about participating on the Forum, click here.

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