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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 $15.46 an hour? That's $32,158 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.

Learn more about what a Residential Counselor does

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 59.0% of residential counselors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 8.9% 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 associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on residential counselor resumes include high school diploma degrees or master's 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.

Residential Counselor Career Paths

Average Salary for a Residential Counselor

Residential Counselors in America make an average salary of $32,158 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $39,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
Average Residential Counselor Salary
$32,158 Yearly
$15.46 hourly
$26,000
10 %
$32,000
Median
$39,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Residential Counselor Education

Residential Counselor Majors

Residential Counselor Degrees

Bachelors

59.0 %

Associate

15.2 %

High School Diploma

10.2 %

Top Colleges for Residential Counselors

1. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

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

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

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

3. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA • Private

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

4. Coppin State University

Baltimore, MD • Private

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

5. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

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

6. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

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

7. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

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

8. Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL • Private

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

9. California State University - Dominguez Hills

Carson, CA • Private

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

10. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

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.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Residential Counselor Resume templates

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

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Residential Counselor Demographics

Residential Counselor Gender Distribution

Female
Female
67%
Male
Male
33%

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

  • Among residential counselors, 67.0% of them are women, while 33.0% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among residential counselors is White, which makes up 71.2% of all residential counselors.

  • The most common foreign language among residential counselors is Spanish at 62.9%.

Online Courses For Residential Counselor That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Essentials of Palliative Care
coursera

This course starts you on your journey of integrating primary palliative care into your daily lives. You will learn what palliative care is, how to communicate with patients, show empathy, and practice difficult conversations. You will learn how to screen for distress and provide psychosocial support. You will learn about goals of care and advance care planning and how to improve your success with having these conversations with patients. Finally, you will explore important cultural consideratio...

Applying Health Coaching in Patient Care
edX (Global)

For health practitioners, having knowledge of treatment protocols is not enough. They must be able to inspire behavior change in their patients. In order for the treatment to be effective patients must be empowered to implement therapeutic approaches in their lives. In this course, you will learn about health coaching, which is an effective method for helping patients change their behaviors. Health coaching uses a blend of evidence-based strategies, interventions and communication to actively...

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): Mindfulness
udemy
4.8
(251)

Learn Skills to Live One Mindfully and Begin your DBT Journey...

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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 Utah, Washington, California, and Vermont. Residential counselors make the most in Utah with an average salary of $39,111. Whereas in Washington and California, they would average $38,563 and $37,977, respectively. While residential counselors would only make an average of $37,409 in Vermont, 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. Washington

Total Residential Counselor Jobs:
811
Highest 10% Earn:
$45,000
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

2. Rhode Island

Total Residential Counselor Jobs:
121
Highest 10% Earn:
$41,000
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

3. North Dakota

Total Residential Counselor Jobs:
75
Highest 10% Earn:
$42,000
Location Quotient:
0.82 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
Full List Of Best States For Residential Counselors

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Top Residential Counselor Employers

Most Common Employers For Residential Counselor

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1AHRC New York City Foundation$32,158$15.46145
2Victor$32,158$15.46145
3Emerge$32,158$15.46128
4Community Resources for Justice$32,158$15.46114
5The Children's Home$32,158$15.46111
6DESC$32,158$15.46107
7Youth Homes$32,158$15.46101
8Springbrook Software$31,222$15.01143
9Arrow Child And Family Ministries$30,713$14.77104
10Vinfen$30,488$14.66474

Residential Counselor Videos

Becoming a Residential Counselor FAQs

How long does it take to become a Residential Counselor?

It takes 3 years of professional experience to become a residential counselor. That is the time it takes to learn specific residential counselor skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 6 to 8 years years to become a residential counselor.

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