Clinical Supervisor

Activities, Skills and Knowledge

Clinical Supervisors of addictions workers must have:

  • Strong supervision skills
  • Deep experience in their discipline (such as social work, psychology, marriage and family therapy)
  • Experience in addictions work, including evidence based practices
  • Consistent, culturally-responsive practice as a clinician and as a supervisor

They also need to be able to:

  • Balance clinical focus with administrative focus
  • Pay close attention to the quality of services delivered
  • Attend to the professional development of the workers they supervise

The following Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) publications are available for free:

  • TAP 21A Competencies for Substance Abuse Clinical Supervisors
  • TIP 52 Clinical Supervision and Professional Development of the Substance Abuse Counselor

Supervisors should seek training consistent with the work of supervisees. For example:

  • If a Clinical Supervisor is newly working with Peer Support or Recovery workers, he or she needs to become familiar with those jobs and the systems with which they work.
  • If a supervisee has taken training in a technique or practice, the supervisor should become familiar with that practice or ideally take the same training.

Educational Requirements

A Master's degree in a clinical field (for example, social work, clinical psychology, marriage and family therapy, medicine, psychiatric nursing, rehabilitation counseling, education-counseling) is usually required.

Licensure/Certification Requirements

Generally, supervisors must be licensed to provide supervision in their field and in addiction.

Opportunities for Advancement

Supervisors can grow to become:

  • Program directors
  • Trainers
  • Consultants