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Become A Residence Counselor

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Working As A Residence Counselor

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $41,880

    Average Salary

What Does A Residence Counselor Do

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with their family and other relationships. They listen to clients and ask questions to help the clients understand their problems and develop strategies to improve their lives.

Duties

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists typically do the following:

  • Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Encourage clients to discuss their emotions and experiences
  • Help clients process their reactions and adjust to difficult changes in their life, such as divorce and layoffs
  • Guide clients through the process of making decisions about their future
  • Help clients develop strategies and skills to change their behavior and to cope with difficult situations
  • Refer clients to other resources or services in the community, such as support groups or inpatient treatment facilities

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists use a variety of techniques and tools to help their clients. Many apply cognitive behavioral therapy, a goal-oriented approach that helps clients understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and teaches how to replace them with positive, life-enhancing ones. Furthermore, mental health counselors use cognitive behavioral therapy to teach clients to eliminate unwanted and damaging behaviors and to replace them with more productive ones.

Although some disorders can be overcome, others need to be managed. With the latter, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help the client develop strategies and skills to minimize the effects of their disorders or illnesses.

Many mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists work in private practice. They must spend time marketing their practice to prospective clients and working with insurance companies and clients to get payment for their services.

Mental health counselors provide treatment to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Some work with specific populations, such as the elderly, college students, or children. Mental health counselors deal with a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal impulses. They also help with mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems. 

Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples, and families. Unlike other types of mental health professionals, they bring a family-centered perspective to treatment, even when treating individuals. They evaluate family roles and development, to understand how clients’ families affect their mental health. They treat the clients’ relationships, not just the clients themselves. They address issues, such as low self-esteem, stress, addiction, and substance abuse.

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists coordinate patient treatment with other professionals, such as psychiatrists and social workers.

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How To Become A Residence Counselor

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice.

Education

To become a mental health counselor or a marriage and family therapist, applicants typically need a master’s degree in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field. A bachelor’s degree in most fields is acceptable to enter a master’s program.

Counseling programs prepare students to recognize symptoms of mental and emotional disorders and to use effective counseling strategies. Marriage and family therapy programs teach students about how marriages, families, and relationships function and how these relationships can affect mental and emotional disorders.

Many employers prefer to hire counselors who have graduated from programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.

Training

Candidates gain hands-on experience through postdegree supervised clinical work, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In training, they learn to provide family therapy, group therapy, psychotherapy, and other therapeutic interventions, under the supervision of a licensed counselor.

Licenses

All states require mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to be licensed in the state in which they practice. Licensure requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of postdegree supervised clinical experience, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In addition, counselors and therapists must pass a state-recognized exam and complete annual continuing education classes.

Contact information for state boards regulating mental health counselors is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Contact and licensing information for marriage and family therapists is available through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Counselors and therapists often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different types of people is essential for counselors and therapists. They spend most of their time working directly with clients and other professionals and must be able to encourage good relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, both of whom need to give their full attention to their clients to understand their problems, values, and goals.

Organizational skills. Good organizational skills are especially important for counselors and therapists in private practice, who must keep track of payments and work with insurance companies.

Speaking skills. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists need to be able to communicate with clients effectively. They must express ideas and information in a way that clients can understand easily.

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Residence Counselor jobs

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Residence Counselor Career Paths

Residence Counselor
Resident Manager Program Manager Clinical Director
Administrative Director, Behavioral Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Counselor Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Program Director Educator
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Direct Support Professional Licensed Practical Nurse Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Counselor Therapist
Clinical Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Program Director
Director Of Residential Services
7 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Social Worker
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Residential Counselor Case Manager Social Worker
Director Of Social Work
7 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse Nurse Manager
Emergency Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Registered Nurse Career Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Security Officer Direct Support Professional
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Specialist Case Manager
Housing Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Residential Counselor Licensed Practical Nurse Physician
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Sales Consultant Leasing Consultant
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Home Health Aid Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Clinical Coordinator Program Supervisor
Residential Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Direct Support Professional Program Coordinator Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Social Worker
Social Services Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Developmental Aide 3.9 years
Juvenile Counselor 2.8 years
Mental Health Aide 2.8 years
Teacher Counselor 2.5 years
Resource Counselor 2.2 years
Support Staff 2.2 years
House Parent 2.2 years
Residential Worker 2.1 years
Group Counselor 2.1 years
Residential Aide 2.0 years
Counselor 2.0 years
Head Counselor 2.0 years
Program Counselor 1.9 years
Youth Counselor 1.8 years
Unit Counselor 1.8 years
Relief Counselor 1.8 years
Trained Counselor 1.4 years
Junior Counselor 1.1 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 16.1%
Cashier 8.3%
Counselor 5.2%
Volunteer 5.0%
Teacher 3.4%
Server 2.9%
Top Employers After
Case Manager 13.0%
Internship 8.9%
Counselor 6.8%
Teacher 4.5%
Volunteer 3.2%
Cashier 3.1%

Residence Counselor Demographics

Gender

Female

66.5%

Male

31.2%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

82.2%

Hispanic or Latino

8.9%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

1.7%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

49.7%

French

17.2%

Italian

4.6%

Portuguese

4.6%

Korean

3.3%

Hindi

2.6%

Russian

2.6%

German

2.6%

Arabic

2.0%

Indonesian

1.3%

Braille

1.3%

Greek

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%

Dakota

1.3%

Dutch

0.7%

Hmong

0.7%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Cayuga

0.7%

Bengali

0.7%

Armenian

0.7%
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Residence Counselor Education

Schools

Mohawk Valley Community College

20.0%

University of Phoenix

6.3%

Liberty University

6.0%

State University of New York Buffalo

5.6%

Rockland Community College

5.0%

Capella University

5.0%

Hudson Valley Community College

4.6%

Walden University

4.6%

State University of New York Albany

4.6%

University of Northern Iowa

4.2%

State University of New York Empire State College

4.2%

New York University

4.0%

Utica College

4.0%

University of Louisville

3.8%

Monroe Community College

3.5%

Syracuse University

3.3%

Ashford University

3.1%

University of Wisconsin - Stout

2.9%

Schenectady County Community College

2.7%

State University of New York Polytechnic Institute

2.7%
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Majors

Psychology

16.9%

Social Work

12.7%

Human Services

8.6%

Criminal Justice

8.5%

Business

8.1%

Nursing

5.3%

Mental Health Counseling

5.0%

School Counseling

4.8%

Education

4.0%

Liberal Arts

3.7%

Sociology

3.4%

Counseling Psychology

3.0%

Human Development

2.6%

Health Care Administration

2.4%

Special Education

2.1%

Medical Assisting Services

2.0%

English

1.9%

Elementary Education

1.9%

Communication

1.8%

General Studies

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.4%

Masters

25.1%

Other

18.8%

Associate

11.1%

Certificate

3.4%

Doctorate

2.4%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.8%
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Internship
Temporary

Real Residence Counselor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Residence Counselor St. Stanislaus College MS Aug 01, 2011 $59,480
Residence Evening Counselor YAI-National Institute for People With Disabilitie New York, NY Aug 01, 2009 $40,363
Residence Counselor Delaware State University Dover, DE Mar 15, 2011 $39,600 -
$65,000
Residence Counselor Delaware State University Dover, DE Mar 15, 2011 $37,600 -
$50,000
Residence Counselor Bethel University McKenzie, TN Aug 03, 2010 $36,689
Residence Evening Counselor YAI-National Institute for People With Disabilitie New York, NY Aug 01, 2009 $35,437
Resident Minister/Counselor Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA Aug 27, 2010 $32,620
Resident Minister/Counselor Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA Aug 28, 2010 $32,620

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Top Skills for A Residence Counselor

DailyLivingSkillsEnsureSafetyCrisisInterventionTreatmentPlansResidentCounselorIndividualServicePlansDevelopmentalDisabilitiesMentalHealthSuperviseLifeSkillsDailyLivingActivitiesDirectPatientCareIndependentLivingSkillsPersonalCareSubstanceAbuseRecreationalActivitiesCPRMentalIllnessPersonalHygieneMedicalAppointments

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Top Residence Counselor Skills

  1. Daily Living Skills
  2. Ensure Safety
  3. Crisis Intervention
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked with individuals with developmental disabilities, towards achieving daily living skills goals.
  • Do daily inspections on the unit to ensure safety for all residents.
  • Employed therapeutic crisis intervention as needed.
  • Assessed and wrote treatment plans and weekly progress notes for each client assigned to caseload.
  • Created and maintained a supportive work environment for approximately 20 adult resident counselor staff members.

Top Residence Counselor Employers

Residence Counselor Videos

A Day in the Life - Drug/Alcohol Counselor

A Day in the Life of a Youth Villages Counselor

Residential Counselors

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