Clinical supervisors are important to the nation’s mental health care system. In addition to making sure that a therapy practice or mental health treatment center is providing the highest-possible levels of ethical, client-centered treatment, they’re responsible for assessing and reviewing treatment plans to determine whether patients’ long- and short-term goals are being met.
Clinical supervisors also provide services to clinic staff. Working with individuals with challenging behavior can be taxing for therapists, often leaving them feeling burned out. Effective clinical supervisors are able to help treatment center staff identify and cope with workplace stressors that, if left unchecked, may lead to quitting.
Clinical Supervisor Job Description
Professionals who are interested in working as clinical supervisors will learn that the job responsibilities are numerous. In addition to providing support services to therapists, clinical supervisors provide developmental performance feedback aimed at helping therapists improve their expertise. They provide internal customer service—responding to inquiries from other departments, keeping staff apprised of schedules and patients’ appointments—as well as external customer service to clients and their family members and treatment referral sources.
Clinical supervisors also evaluate staff workload to determine whether adequate staffing levels are being maintained, while also working to ensure that clinical files are being maintained according to company policy and state and federal regulations.
Professionals who have chosen this career path work in state, local, and private hospitals; mental health treatment centers; nursing and residential care facilities; government facilities; and outpatient care centers. Most work full time in offices, although those who work in health care facilities that are open 24 hours may need to work evenings and weekends.
Key Clinical Supervisor Competencies
Clinical supervision skills need to be developed and maintained. In addition to obtaining relevant education, such as completing an online Master of Science (MS) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from Regis College, clinical supervisors need hands-on supervisory training in the field. Those who are interested in pursuing state certification need a master’s degree, relevant experience, and a current behavior analytic practitioner license, which may vary by state. Clinical supervisor job descriptions suggest that those interested in this career path also need to develop skills that will help them manage and train other behavior analysts. The following key competencies help to ensure quality of care and success of the facilities where they work:
- Organization. Clinical supervisors need to maintain high standards of record keeping during supervision sessions with therapists and clinical staff. The ability to stay organized will also help them manage budgets, manage staff schedules, conduct performance reviews, and oversee a facility’s day-to-day operations.
- Communication. Clinical supervisors may hold supervision sessions individually or, in some cases, in small groups. Clinical supervisors need to be able to articulate performance expectations, schedule behavioral skills training, deliver performance feedback, and provide ongoing evaluation. They also need to understand how to engage in active listening, which includes maintaining eye contact, and to be able to summarize the feedback they’re receiving to ensure that they understand what’s being relayed to them.
- Relationship building. Clinical supervisors need to be adept in skills that will help them build positive relationships with staff. This includes using positive body language, such as relaxed posture, and providing timely feedback to questions and inquiries.
Salaries and Future Growth of a Clinical Supervisor
PayScale’s salary statistics show that the average annual salary for clinical supervisors is $57,408, although the annual salary for those at the 90th percentile exceeds $78,000.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of medical and health services managers, which includes clinical supervisors, will grow by 20% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than what the bureau projects for all other occupations. As such, job prospects for those interested in this profession are likely to be favorable.
Professionals who are interested in becoming clinical supervisors will need to attain a master’s degree. The Regis College MS in ABA program combines research and hands-on experience for students from a wide variety of health science backgrounds. Graduates are likely to find that they’re well positioned to advance in their careers. Discover how this program can help you toward your goal of becoming a clinical supervisor.