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Career Practitioner Supervision Training: For Your Current or Prospective Role

by Cheri Butler

The Career Practitioner Supervision curriculum was developed by the National Career Development Association (NCDA) with Sandy Manoogian as the lead author and Judy Hoppin serving as consulting editor at the request of the Japan Career Development Association (JCDA). The intent of this professional supervision training, to be released in the fall of 2011, is to introduce the practice of clinical supervision to career practitioners.

The target audience of this supervisor curriculum is career practitioners with advanced skills, experience and readiness to develop their understanding of clinical supervision strategies in relation to their current and prospective roles as supervisors and directors of career services. The work settings of these career practitioners and professional supervisors include but are not limited to educational institutions, human resource organizations, public/government institutions and private independent businesses/practices.

The Impact of Supervision

Professional career practitioner supervision is important for several reasons:

  • increases the level of expertise of career services provided to clients;
  • not only improves the quality of services but reduces practitioner burnout and turnover;
  • promotes self-monitoring for competence and ethical practice through a life-long learning opportunity;
  • advances the professional identity of career practitioners and the professional image of career services organizations; and
  • provides a learning experience and a professional development opportunity to obtain advanced skills in supervision.

Administrative Supervision is provided by middle managers that oversee the work of practitioners and other employees. The primary focus is on the service provider as she/he adheres to the policies and procedures of the organization. The primary goal is to focus on tasks that relate to the operations of the service organization.

Clinical Supervision is different from Administrative Supervision.  In Clinical Supervision the supervisor concentrates on training and evaluating the practitioner (supervisee) and the quality of services provided to individual clients.  The essential elements are:

  • Relationship – between the supervisor and supervisee;
  • Evaluation – supervisees receive feedback about their performance;
  • Extends Over Time – a learning process that occurs over time;
  • Enhancing Professional Functioning – helping the supervisee become better and more effective in the practice of his/her profession;
  • Monitoring Quality of Professional Service – supervisors make sure that the clients receive appropriate services; and
  • Serving as Gatekeeper – supervisors ensure that only competent and ethical practitioners enter into the profession.

In some work settings, supervisors have dual roles as both an Administrative and Clinical Supervisor. There may be times when the supervisor needs to negotiate conflicts which emerge from the overlap of these dual roles as they are sometimes connected in the day-to-day practice of supervision.

Career Practitioner Supervision Curriculum

The curriculum comprises of 15 chapters that include a definition of supervision and why it is important, a history of clinical supervision, and a variety of clinical supervision models using case studies and activities. Also included are outlines of supervisory meeting preparation, supervision planning, relationship dynamics, supervisory style awareness, and a module on ethics. Many role-playing activities are lead by the instructors.

NCDA recognized the lack of a formal curriculum for those who supervise career practitioners and funded the creation of this training program.  If you would like more information regarding the roll out of the training this fall, you can contact NCDA headquarters in the US at 1-866-367-6232 or look for details on our website at

Cheri Butler, MA, LPC, is the President of the National Career Development Association.

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