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Residential Advisors
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Description: what do they do?
Coordinate activities in residential facilities in secondary 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.
Also known as:
Residential Life Director, Hall Coordinator, Residence Life Coordinator, Unit Coordinator, Resident Director, Residence Hall Director, Resident Assistant, Residence Director, Resident Advisor, Residence Life Director

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: At dormitories across the country, anxious first-year students and residents find a friendly face in their residential advisor, as well as problem solving, advice, and, if necessary, disciplinary measures. Residential advisors, or RAs, help run dormitories in private schools, colleges, group homes, and other live-in establishments. They are responsible for many aspects of the home-away-from-home living conditions of their wards, many of whom have never lived away from family before. While rowdy college students may think of their RA as someone who enforces rules, resident advisors provide a wide variety of services from coordinating activities, to mediating conflicts between residents, to helping residents solve unfamiliar life problems. They also request repairs and order supplies. RAs in colleges may be students, but many are adult employees of a college’s housing and residence life department. Residential advisors often live in the dormitories they oversee and tend to work more than 40 hours a week. The job can be stressful as RAs may have 24/7 responsibility for facilities and residents, and seek to ensure that all residents have a positive experience. Many residential advisors have a bachelor’s degree, but completing college is not necessarily required.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
California
7,000
2016 Employment
7,800
2026 Employment
11%
Percent change
1,300
Annual projected job openings
United States
118,800
2016 Employment
134,100
2026 Employment
13%
Percent change
22,500
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Residential Advisors in California
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationCaliforniaUnited States
10%$24,010$19,470
25%$26,670$22,800
Median$31,150$27,860
75%$39,710$34,930
90%$50,360$44,100


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • Less than 1 month on-the-job training

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Enforce rules or regulations.
  • Administer first aid.
  • Mediate disputes.
  • Monitor environment to ensure safety.
  • Monitor patron activities to identify problems or potential problems.
  • Communicate with management or other staff to resolve problems.
  • Supervise service workers.
  • Evaluate employee performance.
  • Train service staff.
  • Provide counsel, comfort, or encouragement to individuals or families.
  • Develop plans for programs or services.
  • Teach daily living skills or behaviors.
  • Develop educational or training programs.
  • Manage budgets for personal services operations.
  • Maintain client information or service records.
  • Prepare administrative documents.
  • Accompany individuals or groups to activities.
  • Perform administrative or clerical tasks.
  • Provide escort or transportation.
  • Order materials, supplies, or equipment.
  • Inspect facilities.
  • Assign resources or facilities to patrons or employees.
  • Organize recreational activities or events.
  • Deliver items.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • 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.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Negotiation - Bringing people together to solve differences.
  • Persuasion - Talking people into changing their minds or their behavior.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Enforce rules and regulations to ensure the smooth and orderly operation of dormitory programs.
  • Provide emergency first aid and summon medical assistance when necessary.
  • Mediate interpersonal problems between residents.
  • Make regular rounds to ensure that residents and areas are safe and secure.
  • Observe students to detect and report unusual behavior.
  • Communicate with other staff to resolve problems with individual students.
  • Supervise, train, and evaluate residence hall staff, including resident assistants, participants in work-study programs, and other student workers.
  • Counsel students in the handling of issues such as family, financial, and educational problems.
  • Collaborate with counselors to develop counseling programs that address the needs of individual students.
  • Develop and coordinate educational programs for residents.
  • Develop program plans for individuals or assist in plan development.
  • Oversee departmental budget.
  • Supervise the activities of housekeeping personnel.
  • Supervise students' housekeeping work to ensure that it is done properly.
  • Compile information such as residents' daily activities and the quantities of supplies used to prepare required reports.
  • Process contract cancellations for students who are unable to follow residence hall policies and procedures.
  • Chaperone group-sponsored trips and social functions.
  • Answer telephones, and route calls or deliver messages.
  • Provide transportation or escort for expeditions, such as shopping trips or visits to doctors or dentists.
  • Order supplies for facilities.
  • Determine the need for facility maintenance and repair, and notify appropriate personnel.
  • Assign rooms to students.
  • Direct and participate in on- and off-campus recreational activities for residents of institutions, boarding schools, fraternities or sororities, children's homes, or similar establishments.
  • Accompany and supervise students during meals.
  • Sort and distribute mail.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.