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Become A Residence Life Director

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Working As A Residence Life Director

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $85,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Residence Life Director Do

Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their job duties vary depending on the area of the college they manage, such as admissions, the office of the registrar, or student affairs.

Duties

Postsecondary education administrators who work in admissions decide if potential students should be admitted to the school. They typically do the following:

  • Determine how many students to admit to the school
  • Meet with prospective students and encourage them to apply
  • Review applications to determine if each potential student should be admitted
  • Analyze data about applicants and admitted students
  • Prepare promotional materials about the school

Many admissions counselors are assigned a region of the country and travel to that region to speak to high school counselors and students.

Admissions officers often work with the financial aid department, which helps students determine if they are able to afford tuition and creates packages of federal and institutional financial aid, if necessary.

Postsecondary education administrators who work in the registrar’s office, sometimes called registrars, maintain student and course records. They typically do the following:

  • Schedule and register students for classes
  • Schedule space and times for classes
  • Ensure that students meet graduation requirements
  • Plan commencement ceremonies
  • Prepare transcripts and diplomas for students
  • Produce data about students and classes
  • Maintain the academic records of the institution

Registrars have different duties throughout the school year. Before students register for classes, registrars must prepare schedules and course offerings. During registration and for the beginning of the semester, they help students sign up for, drop, and add courses. Toward the end of the semester, they plan graduation and ensure that students meet the requirements to graduate. Registrars need computer skills to create and maintain databases.

Postsecondary education administrators who work in student affairs are responsible for a variety of cocurricular school functions, such as student athletics and activities. They typically do the following:

  • Advise students on topics such as housing issues, personal problems, or academics
  • Communicate with parents or guardians
  • Create, support, and assess nonacademic programs for students
  • Schedule programs and services, such as athletic events or recreational activities

Postsecondary education administrators in student affairs can specialize in student activities, housing and residential life, or multicultural affairs. In student activities, they plan events and advise student clubs and organizations. In housing and residential life, they assign students rooms and roommates, ensure that residential facilities are well maintained, and train student workers, such as residential advisers. Education administrators who specialize in multicultural affairs plan events to celebrate different cultures and diverse backgrounds. Sometimes, they manage multicultural centers on campus.

Postsecondary education administrators can be provosts or academic deans. Provosts, also called chief academic officers, help college presidents develop academic policies, participate in making faculty appointments and tenure decisions, and manage budgets. Academic deans direct and coordinate the activities of the individual colleges or schools. For example, in a large university, a dean may oversee the law school.

Education administrators’ duties depend on the size of their college or university. Small schools often have smaller staffs who take on many different responsibilities, but larger schools may have different offices for each of these functions. For example, at a small college, the Office of Student Life may oversee student athletics and other activities, whereas a large university may have an Athletics Department.

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How To Become A Residence Life Director

Although a bachelor’s degree may be acceptable for some entry-level positions, a master’s or higher degree is often required. Employers often want candidates who have experience working in the field, particularly for occupations such as registrars and academic deans. 

Education

Educational requirements vary for different positions. A bachelor’s degree may be sufficient, but a master’s degree or Ph.D. is generally required. Degrees can be in a variety of disciplines, such as social work, accounting, or marketing.

Provosts and deans often must have a Ph.D. Some provosts and deans begin their career as professors and later move into administration. These administrators have doctorates in the field in which they taught. Other provosts and deans have a Ph.D. in higher education or a related field.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Employers typically prefer to hire candidates who have several years of experience in a college administrative setting. Some postsecondary education administrators work in the registrar’s office or as a resident assistant while in college to gain the necessary experience. For other positions, such as those in admissions and student affairs, experience may or may not be necessary.

Important Qualities

Computer skills. Postsecondary education administrators often need to be adept at working with computers so they can create and maintain databases and use computer programs to manage student and school records.

Interpersonal skills. Postsecondary education administrators need to build good relationships with colleagues, students, and parents. Those in admissions and student affairs need to be outgoing so they can encourage prospective students to apply to the school and existing students to participate in cocurricular activities.

Organizational skills. Administrators need to be organized so they can manage records, prioritize tasks, and coordinate the activities with their staff.

Problem-solving skills. Administrators often need to respond to difficult situations, develop creative solutions to problems, and react calmly when problems arise.

Advancement

Education administrators with advanced degrees can be promoted to higher level positions within their department or the college. Some become college presidents, an occupation which is discussed in the profile on top executives.

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Average Yearly Salary
$85,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$41,000
Min 10%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$178,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
HP
Highest Paying City
Grand Island, NE
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Residence Life Director make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Residence Life Director in the United States is $85,904 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $41,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $178,000.

Real Residence Life Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Director, PSS Life Cycle Mktg. (DIR., Consumer Accessories) Hp Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 01, 2015 $220,251
Director, PSS Life Cycle Marketing Hp Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 23, 2016 $220,251 -
$249,214
Director for Hindu Life (Hindu Chaplain) Georgetown University Washington, DC Jan 08, 2016 $70,000
Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA Oct 08, 2010 $64,890
Director of Residence Life Monroe College Ltd. New Rochelle, NY Jan 05, 2011 $57,330
Director of Residence Life Monroe College Ltd. New Rochelle, NY Jan 06, 2011 $57,330
Director of Residence Life Sarah Lawrence College Bronxville, NY Feb 18, 2015 $53,610
Director Residence Life California Maritime Academy Vallejo, CA Jun 20, 2011 $53,000
Director Residence Life California Maritime Academy Vallejo, CA Jul 20, 2011 $53,000
Director of Intercultural Life Monmouth College Monmouth, IL Jul 01, 2013 $48,380
Director of Intercultural Life Monmouth College Monmouth, IL Jul 11, 2010 $42,019
Director of Residence Life and Learning Communitie Wells College Aurora, NY Jul 01, 2011 $33,000
Director of Residence Life and Learning Communitie Wells College Aurora, NY Jul 01, 2012 $33,000

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Top Skills for A Residence Life Director

  1. Residential Life
  2. Desk Assistants
  3. Resident Assistants
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Served the Trustee-led Commission on Residential Life, which ultimately instituted elimination of the fraternity tradition.
  • Assisted in the training of Desk Assistants - increasing the policy and knowledge of being a Desk Assistant.
  • Maintained interactive relationships with Resident Assistants and Campus Security to enforce campus regulations and ensure the safety of all students.
  • Selected, managed and tracked performance for five staff members including call center representatives and communication specialists.
  • Developed training sessions for students and other university constituents on emergency response protocol.

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Top 10 Best States for Residence Life Directors

  1. North Dakota
  2. Nebraska
  3. Connecticut
  4. Oregon
  5. Minnesota
  6. Alaska
  7. Arizona
  8. New York
  9. Massachusetts
  10. North Carolina
  • (4 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (44 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)

Residence Life Director Demographics

Gender

Female

49.8%

Male

38.8%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

65.6%

Black or African American

12.4%

Hispanic or Latino

12.0%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.4%

French

10.5%

Russian

7.0%

Mandarin

5.3%

Ukrainian

3.5%

Italian

3.5%

Chinese

3.5%

German

3.5%

Dakota

3.5%

Swahili

1.8%

Vietnamese

1.8%

Hmong

1.8%

Hindi

1.8%

Korean

1.8%

Malay

1.8%

Thai

1.8%

Braille

1.8%

Greek

1.8%

Tagalog

1.8%

Portuguese

1.8%
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Residence Life Director Education

Schools

Liberty University

25.6%

University of Phoenix

5.8%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

5.1%

New York University

4.5%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.5%

Northern Illinois University

4.5%

State University of New York College at Oswego

4.5%

Mississippi State University

4.5%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.8%

University of Akron

3.8%

University of Kansas

3.8%

Ball State University

3.8%

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

3.2%

University of South Florida

3.2%

Bowling Green State University

3.2%

Temple University

3.2%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.2%

University of Southern Mississippi

3.2%

Harvard University

3.2%

Purdue University

3.2%
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Majors

Business

16.6%

School Counseling

10.5%

Educational Leadership

10.3%

Psychology

8.4%

Education

7.5%

Communication

4.8%

Criminal Justice

4.8%

Social Work

4.5%

Political Science

3.6%

Sociology

3.3%

Human Resources Management

3.1%

Kinesiology

3.0%

English

3.0%

Elementary Education

2.8%

Management

2.5%

Theology

2.5%

Public Administration

2.4%

Counseling Psychology

2.2%

History

2.1%

Biology

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.1%

Masters

37.7%

Other

11.6%

Doctorate

4.9%

Associate

3.3%

Certificate

2.3%

Diploma

0.2%
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