Career Development

What Does a Program Supervisor Do?

Find out what a program supervisor does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a program supervisor.

Program supervisors are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a program or department. They commonly work with teams of employees to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and objectives, and they may also be responsible for managing performance issues or resolving disputes between team members.

Program supervisors often have a great deal of influence over the culture of their organization. They help define standards of behavior and values by setting an example through their own actions and by creating an environment where all team members feel valued and respected.

Program Supervisor Job Duties

A program supervisor typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Developing and monitoring project timelines and budgets to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget constraints
  • Ensuring that all safety protocols are followed at all times during construction projects
  • Managing a team of project managers who oversee their own projects within the larger framework of the organization’s goals
  • Ensuring that all regulatory requirements are followed during construction projects, including environmental regulations, occupational safety standards, and permit requirements
  • Establishing relationships with subcontractors to ensure that they meet project deadlines and requirements
  • Monitoring the progress of projects, including meeting with contractors to discuss any problems or issues that may arise
  • Coordinating with architects, engineers, and construction crews to ensure that all work is proceeding as planned
  • Managing budgets for projects and overseeing expenditures to ensure that costs stay within limits
  • Assigning tasks to staff members, prioritizing projects, and overseeing the progress of work on site

Program Supervisor Salary & Outlook

Program supervisors’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and location of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)

The employment of program supervisors is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the continued demand for services provided by social workers, such as counseling and therapy. In addition, the aging population is expected to increase demand for social workers who can help older people and their families navigate complex healthcare systems.

Program Supervisor Job Requirements

A program supervisor typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most program supervisors have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree. A program supervisor’s degree can be in a variety of disciplines, including business, education or a related field.

Training & Experience: Most program supervisors learn the specific skills and knowledge they need for their role while on the job. Training for this role may include shadowing a current program supervisor for a few weeks or months, or it may include a period of on-the-job training that lasts a few weeks. Training often includes learning about the organization’s mission, values and goals, as well as the specific software and computer programs they use.

Certifications & Licenses: Program supervisors are not required to obtain a certification or license. However, employers may prefer candidates who have one, as it demonstrates a commitment to excellence.

Program Supervisor Skills

Program supervisors need the following skills in order to be successful:

Leadership: Program supervisors often have leadership skills that they use to motivate their team and encourage them to complete their work on time. You may also use your leadership skills to help your team members resolve conflicts and encourage them to continue learning. Leadership skills can also help you motivate your team to work together to overcome challenges.

Communication: Program supervisors need excellent communication skills to convey information to their team and to the public. You may be responsible for creating training materials, developing lesson plans and creating presentations. You may also be responsible for communicating with other staff members to ensure that your program is running smoothly.

Time management: Time management is another skill that program supervisors need to have. Program supervisors often have many responsibilities and tasks to complete each day. They may have to meet with staff, conduct training sessions, observe program activities and complete paperwork. Having good time management skills can help program supervisors stay on task and complete their duties in a timely manner.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills are necessary for program supervisors to have. They may need to find solutions to challenges that arise during the planning or implementation of a program. For example, if a program requires a certain piece of technology that the organization doesn’t have, a program supervisor may need to find a way to get the technology or find a way to make the program work without it.

Decision-making: Program supervisors make many decisions throughout the day, including how to handle a situation, what activities to plan for their group and how to handle a problem. Making good decisions can help you maintain a positive environment for your group and keep everyone safe. You may need to make decisions quickly, so it’s important to be decisive and confident in your choices.

Program Supervisor Work Environment

Program supervisors work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, social service organizations, and private businesses. They may work in an office setting, although they may also travel to various sites to observe programs in action and meet with clients or program participants. Most program supervisors work full time, although some may work part time or on a contract basis. They may also be required to work evenings or weekends to attend meetings or events related to their work. Program supervisors may experience a high level of stress due to the nature of their work, which often involves dealing with difficult people or situations.

Program Supervisor Trends

Here are three trends influencing how program supervisors work. Program supervisors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

As businesses become more technical, the need for program supervisors with technical skills will increase. This is because businesses are looking for people who can not only manage projects, but also understand the technology behind them.

Program supervisors who are able to adapt and learn new technologies will be in high demand, as they will be able to manage projects that require a deep understanding of the technology involved.

The Importance of Project Management

Project management is becoming increasingly important in today’s business world. This is because it allows companies to better manage their resources and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

As project management becomes more important, program supervisors will need to develop the skills necessary to effectively manage projects. This includes things like setting timelines, managing budgets, and ensuring that all team members are working towards the same goal.

More Attention to Employee Engagement

Employee engagement has become an increasingly important topic in recent years, as employers have realized the impact that it can have on their bottom line.

As a result, program supervisors are now being asked to play a larger role in employee engagement efforts. This means that they need to be familiar with the latest methods for keeping employees happy and productive, such as providing opportunities for feedback, offering rewards for good performance, and creating a positive work environment.

How to Become a Program Supervisor

A program supervisor career can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the HR field. As a program supervisor, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a variety of people and departments within an organization. You’ll also gain experience in project management, which is essential for any successful HR career.

To become a program supervisor, it’s important to have a strong understanding of human resources policies and procedures. You should also be able to effectively communicate with employees at all levels of the organization.

Advancement Prospects

Program supervisors may advance to become managers or directors of their programs. Some may move into executive-level positions in human resources, such as vice president of human resources or chief human resources officer. Others may become consultants, working for themselves or for firms that specialize in organizational development or employee training. Some may return to teaching after gaining significant experience in the field.

Program Supervisor Job Description Example

The Program Supervisor is responsible for the direct supervision of a caseload of clients in our outpatient mental health program. The Program Supervisor provides individual and group supervision to program staff, ensures that clinical documentation is completed in a timely and accurate manner, and provides direct client care as needed. The Program Supervisor also provides input on staff performance evaluations, and assists with the development and implementation of program policies and procedures. The Program Supervisor reports to the Program Director.

The ideal candidate for this position will have a Master’s degree in social work, counseling, or a related field, and at least two years of experience working in a mental health setting. The candidate must also have experience providing individual and group supervision, and be able to work independently with minimal supervision.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Directly supervise a team of program coordinators and support staff, providing guidance, mentorship, and coaching as needed
  • Ensure that programs are running smoothly and efficiently, meeting or exceeding all quality standards and client expectations
  • Work with the Program Director to develop long-term goals and objectives for each program, and create annual plans for implementation and evaluation
  • Monitor individual program budgets, ensuring that expenditures remain within approved limits and that all invoices are submitted in a timely manner
  • Review program data and metrics on a regular basis, identifying areas of improvement and developing strategies for addressing any issues
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for clients, vendors, and other external partners, maintaining positive relationships and resolving any problems or concerns
  • Attend all relevant meetings, including those of the Board of Directors, and provide updates on program progress and challenges
  • Represent the organization at community events and functions, promoting the mission and values of the company
  • Write grants and other funding proposals as needed, in collaboration with the Development Department
  • Develop and implement training materials and programs for new staff members
  • Perform annual performance evaluations for direct reports, providing feedback and recommendations for improvement
  • Participate in the interviewing and hiring process for new program staff, as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, or related field
  • 5+ years experience working with at-risk youth in a supervisory capacity
  • Proven track record of program development and implementation
  • Strong leadership and team-building skills
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills
  • Commitment to social justice and advocacy

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in social work, psychology, or related field
  • 7+ years experience working with at-risk youth in a supervisory capacity
  • Experience developing and administering budgets
  • Fluency in more than one language
  • Cultural competency and sensitivity


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