Residential Advisors

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Also known as:
Dormitory Counselor, House Parent, Residence Director, Residence Life Coordinator, Residential Advisor, Residential Director, Residential Life Director, Sorority Mother

Video transcript

All people need someone to be there for them now and again. And "being there" is a good way to describe the role filled by residential counselors. The residence may be a psychiatric hospital, a half-way house, a group home, or a housing project. It may even be a prison or youth correctional facility. In some cases the counselor may be required to live at the residence.

The people or clients who turn to residential counselors may have extreme infirmities or mental disorders, or may lack even the most basic social and life skills. They may even resent the fact that they need a counselor's help.

The job can sometimes be emotionally draining, but if you love people and sincerely want to help those in need, being a residential counselor can be very rewarding. Few professions offer the level of personal satisfaction that comes with knowing that you've helped someone deal with his or her problems and begin to lead a happier life.

Some post-high school training in social work, psychology, or the behavioral sciences is a minimum requirement. However, patience, compassion, and a genuine desire to help people are the essential requirements of a residential counselor.

Coordinate activities in resident facilities in secondary school and college dormitories, group homes, or similar establishments. Order supplies and determine need for maintenance, repairs, and furnishings. May maintain household records and assign rooms. May assist residents with problem solving or refer them to counseling resources.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Confer with medical personnel to better understand the backgrounds and needs of individual residents.

Collaborate with counselors to develop counseling programs that address the needs of individual students.

Chaperone group-sponsored trips and social functions.

Provide emergency first aid and summon medical assistance when necessary.

Administer, coordinate, or recommend disciplinary and corrective actions.

Hold regular meetings with each assigned unit.

Develop and coordinate educational programs for residents.

Determine the need for facility maintenance and repair, and notify appropriate personnel.

Answer telephones, and route calls or deliver messages.

Compile information such as residents' daily activities and the quantities of supplies used to prepare required reports.

Order supplies for facilities.

Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Personnel and Human Resources Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Negotiation Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.