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Residential Counselor Careers

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.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a residential counselor. For example, did you know that they make an average of $14.44 an hour? That's $30,026 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 13% and produce 52,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Residential Counselor Do

There are certain skills that many residential counselors 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 communication skills, compassion and organizational skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a residential counselor, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.7% of residential counselors included mental health, while 9.4% of resumes included intellectual disabilities, and 8.8% of resumes included medication administration. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the residential counselor job title. But what industry to start with? Most residential counselors actually find jobs in the non profits and health care industries.

How To Become a Residential Counselor

If you're interested in becoming a residential counselor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 43.8% of residential counselors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 19.7% of residential counselors have master's degrees. Even though most residential counselors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a residential counselor. When we researched the most common majors for a residential counselor, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on residential counselor resumes include high school diploma degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a residential counselor. In fact, many residential counselor jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many residential counselors also have previous career experience in roles such as cashier or sales associate.

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Average Salary
$30,026
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
13%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
42,424
Job Openings

Residential Counselor Career Paths

Top Careers Before Residential Counselor

Cashier
10.5 %

Top Careers After Residential Counselor

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Residential Counselor

Residential Counselors in America make an average salary of $30,026 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $36,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $24,000 per year.
Average Salary
$30,026

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Olympia, WA
Salary Range31k - 45k$38k$38,089
Redding, CA
Salary Range28k - 41k$35k$34,679
Andover, MA
Salary Range26k - 38k$32k$32,115
Beaverton, OR
Salary Range26k - 38k$32k$32,039
Concord, NH
Salary Range25k - 36k$30k$30,431
Denver, CO
Salary Range25k - 36k$30k$30,267
$19k
$45k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Residential Counselor-Relief
Residential Counselor-Relief
Bay State Community Services
Bay State Community Services
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$31,30501/31/2021
$31,305
Residential Counselor II-Strtp
Residential Counselor II-Strtp
Victor
Victor
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$35,47901/29/2021
$35,479
Residential Counselor-Evening
Residential Counselor-Evening
DESC
DESC
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$35,68801/29/2021
$35,688
Residential Life Counselor
Residential Life Counselor
Washington State
Washington State
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$33,13201/28/2021
$33,132
Youth Residential Counselor-Overnights-Omegon
Youth Residential Counselor-Overnights-Omegon
Volunteers of America-Minnesota & Wisconsin
Volunteers of America-Minnesota & Wisconsin
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$35,47901/27/2021
$35,479
See More Recent Salaries

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Residential Counselor Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Residential Counselor. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Residential Counselor Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Residential Counselor resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Residential Counselor Demographics

Gender

female

61.4 %

male

33.8 %

unknown

4.8 %

Ethnicity

White

71.1 %

Black or African American

13.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

10.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.9 %

French

13.1 %

Portuguese

5.3 %
See More Demographics

Residential Counselor Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

43.8 %

Masters

19.7 %

High School Diploma

12.8 %

Top Colleges for Residential Counselors

1. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

3. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,796
Enrollment
27,125

4. Coppin State University

Baltimore, MD • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,873
Enrollment
2,326

5. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

6. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Public

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

7. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

8. Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL • Public

In-State Tuition
$5,656
Enrollment
32,072

9. California State University - Dominguez Hills

Carson, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,942
Enrollment
13,871

10. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Residential Counselor

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, 12.7% of residential counselors listed mental health on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and compassion are important as well.

Best States For a Residential Counselor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a residential counselor. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Vermont, Maine, and Alaska. Residential counselors make the most in Washington with an average salary of $37,742. Whereas in Vermont and Maine, they would average $35,794 and $35,693, respectively. While residential counselors would only make an average of $35,327 in Alaska, 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. Maine

Total Residential Counselor Jobs:
173
Highest 10% Earn:
$49,000
Location Quotient:
1.33
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Washington

Total Residential Counselor Jobs:
811
Highest 10% Earn:
$52,000
Location Quotient:
1.13
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Rhode Island

Total Residential Counselor Jobs:
121
Highest 10% Earn:
$49,000
Location Quotient:
1.02
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Residential Counselor Employers

1. Vinfen
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$29,584
Residential Counselors Hired: 
441+
2. Catholic Charities USA
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$42,011
Residential Counselors Hired: 
338+
3. Devereux Foundation
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$28,266
Residential Counselors Hired: 
220+
4. Center for Disability Services
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$28,347
Residential Counselors Hired: 
185+
5. Justice Resource Institute
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$29,630
Residential Counselors Hired: 
159+
6. John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$29,626
Residential Counselors Hired: 
135+

Residential Counselor Videos

Updated October 2, 2020