Life skills instructors are employed by various institutions. They might work for schools, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, and many more. They work with clients in groups or one-on-one and provide counseling to children and adults of any age.

As a life skills instructor, you will be responsible for teaching your clients how to be responsible and functional members of society. You will guide them towards leading an independent life and dealing successfully with various challenges they have to face. You will show them the best ways to sustainably deal with everyday chores, keep good hygiene, tend to relationships, and lead a satisfying social life.

You are generally required to have a degree in psychology, social work, or a related field when applying for this position. Employers will value experience in working with certain groups of people, but specific requirements largely differ based on the institution you want to work for.

What Does a Life Skills Instructor Do

There are certain skills that many life skills instructors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed customer-service skills, communication skills and listening skills.

Learn more about what a Life Skills Instructor does

How To Become a Life Skills Instructor

If you're interested in becoming a life skills instructor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 52.9% of life skills instructors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.4% of life skills instructors have master's degrees. Even though most life skills instructors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Life Skills Instructor

Life Skills Instructor Career Paths

Average Salary for a Life Skills Instructor

Life Skills Instructors in America make an average salary of $30,844 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $44,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $21,000 per year.
Average Life Skills Instructor Salary
$30,844 Yearly
$14.83 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Life Skills Instructor

The role of a life skills instructor includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general life skills instructor responsibilities:

  • Coordinates class schedules with organizational development conducts aha bls
  • Communicates with clients, their families, doctors, dentists, employers, pharmacists
  • Responsibilitiesfacilitate the life skills coursecreate and maintain an engaging learning environmentcommunicate with students/coworkers/custody staff in a clear, effective & respectful mannerresearch

There are several types of life skills instructor, including:



Instructors are knowledgable about a topic and work to pass that knowledge off to their students. Whether you work in a gym or a school, instructors are super important to the students' success.

There are lots of possibilities for you as an instructor. You could work at a health club or a gym or you could work for a school and instruct math. There are so many different instructors out there, basically any topic you can think of probably needs an instructor.

Your hours will vary depending on what industry you decide to go with. You may find some jobs require you to work nights and weekends, like if you were to become a fitness instructor, while school instructors only work during school hours. Your schedule really depends on what you're passionate and knowledgable about and when people want to learn it.

  • Average Salary: $53,426
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Direct Support Professional


A direct support professional is a trained professional responsible for providing support to people with learning and other developmental disabilities with the goal of achieving more stability and independence as well as creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for them to do so. Their duties mainly center around the residents of the facility they work in and thus include administering medication and other forms of therapy and treatment, assisting with everyday tasks and processes, including basic personal hygiene, and monitoring and documenting patient developments and status.

  • Average Salary: $32,077
  • Degree: High School Diploma

Residential Counselor


Residential counselors work in social care facilities such as homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers, retirement homes, and the like. Their main responsibility is to maintain the structure of the environment or program and oversee the residents' daily activities.

Residential counselors are typically expected to have a degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. They keep an eye on the mental and emotional state of the people under their care and make sure everyone lives by the rules of the facility. They give a hand with transportation and come up with fun and engaging activities for the residents to do while spending quality time together.

As a residential counselor, your responsibilities do not revolve around generating profit, and this is reflected in the median annual salary of the position, which is $29,592. This is a bit less than half of what the average yearly living expenses amount to across the U.S. Caring for each other apparently is not the most lucrative business. It is, however, very rewarding on a personal level.

  • Average Salary: $34,117
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Life Skills Instructor Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active life skills instructor jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where life skills instructors earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Life Skills Instructor Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
2New York1,410$32,774
7New Jersey963$32,025
11North Carolina748$25,941
19South Carolina399$23,577
36West Virginia136$26,638
38New Mexico117$19,740
39Rhode Island112$32,124
46New Hampshire84$33,745
47North Dakota81$28,727
48South Dakota53$21,337

Life Skills Instructor Education

Life Skills Instructor Majors

10.1 %
9.9 %

Life Skills Instructor Degrees


52.9 %


14.9 %

High School Diploma

12.5 %

Top Colleges for Life Skills Instructors

1. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition




2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




6. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition




9. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




10. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Life Skills Instructor

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 9.8% of life skills instructors listed developmental disabilities on their resume, but soft skills such as customer-service skills and communication skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Life Skills Instructor Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Life Skills Instructor templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Life Skills Instructor resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Life Skills Instructor diversity

Life Skills Instructor Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among life skills instructors, 66.1% of them are women, while 33.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among life skills instructors is White, which makes up 71.3% of all life skills instructors.

  • The most common foreign language among life skills instructors is Spanish at 61.7%.

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Best States For a Life Skills Instructor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a life skills instructor. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. Life skills instructors make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $35,774. Whereas in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, they would average $34,018 and $33,745, respectively. While life skills instructors would only make an average of $32,774 in New York, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Massachusetts

Total Life Skills Instructor Jobs: 1,349
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. New Jersey

Total Life Skills Instructor Jobs: 963
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. New York

Total Life Skills Instructor Jobs: 1,410
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Life Skills Instructors

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Top Life Skills Instructor Employers

Most Common Employers For Life Skills Instructor

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Arrowhead West$36,109$17.3614
2Lawrence Hall$33,252$15.9924
3Community LIFE$32,692$15.7210
4UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago$32,552$15.6522
5Development Workshop$31,873$15.329
6Little City$30,646$14.7342
7New Vista Ranch$30,468$14.6513
8The Arc of San Diego$30,267$14.5514
9Ability Beyond$30,166$14.50437
10Charles Lea Center$30,043$14.4414

Life Skills Instructor Videos