A residential counselor is responsible for guiding and providing the residents with their basic needs and other resources to support them in their daily living. Residential counselors' duties include maintaining the safety of the community by enforcing safety guidelines and procedures for the residents' compliance, organizing productive and engaging community activities, updating the residents of any changes and policies in the community, and resolving conflicts by counseling and understanding each resident's differences. A residential counselor must have excellent communication and decision-making skills to ensure the development of residents in a living facility.

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Residential Counselor Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real residential counselor resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Lead recreational activities for adolescents with ADHD and other behavior disorders.
  • Engage, educate and empower participants to access community base resources in order to achieve greater self-determination, rehabilitation and recovery.
  • Train in AMAP, SCIP, and first aid procedures.
  • Assist residents with ADL, occasionally accompany to medical appointments, administer medications.
  • Refine an understanding of HIPAA and DMH programs.
  • Assist special needs students to reach their IEP and treatment plan goals in 1:1 and group settings.
  • Construct weekly, monthly and, yearly lesson plans, progress reports, IEP goals and objectives.
  • Show compassion to the clients by engaging them in numerous community activities so they do not feel marginalize in the society.
  • Train in CPR and medication management
  • Prepare and implement ISP and behavioral modification exercises
  • Complete assessments semi-annually and reevaluat ISP goals and objectives yearly.
  • Arrange and supervise medical trips; administer authorized SCIP techniques when appropriate.
  • Conduct ADL meetings and accompany residents to medical, educational, and vocational appointments.
  • Complete all CPR, medication and sensitivity training necessary to work with the mentally/physically disable.
  • Supervise and monitor the facility to ensure cleanliness, security and safety practices are enacted and effective.

Residential Counselor Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, residential counselor jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 13%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a residential counselor?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of residential counselor opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 52,200.

On average, the residential counselor annual salary is $34,117 per year, which translates to $16.4 an hour. Generally speaking, residential counselors earn anywhere from $27,000 to $42,000 a year, which means that the top-earning residential counselors make $13,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

It's hard work to become a residential counselor, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a counselor internship, child care counselor, day camp counselor, and direct care counselor.

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Residential Counselor Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 9% of Residential Counselors are proficient in Direct Care, Medication Administration, and Mental Health. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Compassion, and Organizational skills.

We break down the percentage of Residential Counselors that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Direct Care, 9%

    Provide clinical direct care to emotionally/behaviorally/developmentally-disabled adolescents in a residential treatment center.

  • Medication Administration, 9%

    Monitored and supervised medication administration.

  • Mental Health, 8%

    Participated in consultation with other disciplines; reviewed medical and mental health diagnosis, disabilities and treatment procedures.

  • Social Work, 7%

    Developed and maintained close working relationships with social workers, therapists and family members in creating individualized behavioral modification plans.

  • Developmental Disabilities, 6%

    Mentored and Counseled individuals with Developmental Disabilities

  • Mental Illness, 6%

    Sustained a safe environment for widely diverse population including those with pervasive serious mental illness and recuperating veterans of several wars.

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Some of the skills we found on residential counselor resumes included "direct care," "medication administration," and "mental health." We have detailed the most important residential counselor responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for a residential counselor to have in this position are communication skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a residential counselor resume, you'll understand why: "social and human service assistants talk with clients about the challenges in their lives and assist them in getting help" According to resumes we found, communication skills can be used by a residential counselor in order to "maintain communication logs, behavioral data forms, medication administration records and other mandatory paperwork. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling residential counselor duties is compassion. According to a residential counselor resume, "social and human service assistants often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations." Here's an example of how residential counselors are able to utilize compassion: "handle emotional situations with compassion and maturity. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among residential counselors is organizational skills. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a residential counselor resume: "social and human service assistants must often complete lots of paperwork and work with many different clients" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "utilized organizational and writing skills to complete shift notes maintained cleanliness of facility ensured persons served were safe. "
  • A residential counselor responsibilities sometimes require "problem-solving skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "social and human service assistants help clients find solutions to their problems" This resume example shows how this skill is used by residential counselors: "handled conflict resolution, medication administration, budgeting and appointment setting. "
  • Yet another important skill that a residential counselor must demonstrate is "time-management skills." Social and human service assistants often work with many clients This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a residential counselor who stated: "assure residents are on time to appointments and for medication administration. "
  • Lastly, this career requires you to be skillful in "interpersonal skills." According to residential counselor resumes, "social and human service assistants must make their clients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues." This resume example highlights how residential counselor responsibilities rely on this skill: "served as a positive role model in areas of interpersonal relations, social behavior, and appropriate dress. "
  • See the full list of residential counselor skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a residential counselor. We found that 59.0% of residential counselors have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 8.9% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most residential counselors have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every seven residential counselors were not college graduates.

    Those residential counselors who do attend college, typically earn either psychology degrees or criminal justice degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for residential counselors include social work degrees or sociology degrees.

    Once you're ready to become a residential counselor, you should explore the companies that typically hire residential counselors. According to residential counselor resumes that we searched through, residential counselors are hired the most by Vinfen, Riverside Community Care, and Open Sky Community Services. Currently, Vinfen has 373 residential counselor job openings, while there are 182 at Riverside Community Care and 146 at Open Sky Community Services.

    Since salary is important to some residential counselors, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at The Evergreens, Telecare, and Lifespan. If you were to take a closer look at The Evergreens, you'd find that the average residential counselor salary is $40,544. Then at Telecare, residential counselors receive an average salary of $40,352, while the salary at Lifespan is $40,230.

    View more details on residential counselor salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a residential counselor include Vinfen, Wediko Children's Services, and Four Oaks. These three companies were found to hire the most residential counselors from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    In general, residential counselors fulfill roles in the non profits and health care industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the residential counselor annual salary is the highest in the education industry with $35,120 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the non profits and professional industries pay $35,056 and $34,874 respectively. This means that residential counselors who are employed in the education industry make 3.3% more than residential counselors who work in the health care Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious residential counselors are:

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    What Counselor Internships Do

    When it comes to Counselor Internship, among the primary responsibilities is to assist in dealing with various activities such as preparing and verifying necessary documentation, observing consultations and outreach programs, guide clients and help develop multiple helpful strategies, and provide assessments. Furthermore, one can conduct counseling and consultation only under supervision. It is also essential to track the information gathered and coordinate with assigned personnel to adhere to the company's regulations and policies.

    In this section, we compare the average residential counselor annual salary with that of a counselor internship. Typically, counselor interns earn a $11,383 higher salary than residential counselors earn annually.

    Even though residential counselors and counselor interns have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require mental illness, crisis intervention, and behavioral issues in the day-to-day roles.

    As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a residential counselor responsibility requires skills such as "direct care," "medication administration," "mental health," and "social work." Whereas a counselor internship is skilled in "intake assessments," "substance abuse issues," "mental health issues," and "group therapy sessions." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

    Counselor interns really shine in the finance industry with an average salary of $51,629. Whereas residential counselors tend to make the most money in the education industry with an average salary of $35,120.

    Counselor interns tend to reach higher levels of education than residential counselors. In fact, counselor interns are 10.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.7% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Child Care Counselor?

    Child care counselors monitor the progress of children who have behavioral, physical, and mental issues in between counseling appointments. These counselors create daily schedules for children that include field trips, play dates, and learning plans to ensure that children get the most out of their days. They use their critical thinking skills, organizational skills, and interpersonal skills to deal with children diagnosed with psychological issues and to coordinate with their patients' families. Most of the cases they handle are the abuse, bullying, and past traumas of children.

    The next role we're going to look at is the child care counselor profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $2,726 higher salary than residential counselors per year.

    A similarity between the two careers of residential counselors and child care counselors are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "direct care," "medication administration," and "mental health. "

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real residential counselor resumes. While residential counselor responsibilities can utilize skills like "social work," "developmental disabilities," "mental illness," and "autism," some child care counselors use skills like "child care," "crisis intervention techniques," "stars," and "group therapy sessions."

    Child care counselors may earn a higher salary than residential counselors, but child care counselors earn the most pay in the finance industry with an average salary of $41,472. On the other side of things, residential counselors receive higher paychecks in the education industry where they earn an average of $35,120.

    When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, child care counselors tend to reach similar levels of education than residential counselors. In fact, they're 0.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.7% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Day Camp Counselor Compares

    The job of the camp counselors is to develop recreational plans and oversee camp activities in residential camps. Their duties and responsibilities include organizing camping trips, planning and scheduling group activities, and guiding children and teenagers in various outdoor activities such as swimming and hiking. They are expected to lead campers in emergency procedures and fire drills, explain safety rules and procedures, and provide emotional support to campers. Camp counselors are also responsible for assessing and responding to emergencies when they arise.

    The third profession we take a look at is day camp counselor. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than residential counselors. In fact, they make a $4,733 lower salary per year.

    By looking over several residential counselors and day camp counselors resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "direct care," "social work," and "developmental disabilities." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from residential counselor resumes include skills like "medication administration," "mental health," "mental illness," and "autism," whereas a day camp counselor might be skilled in "kids," "pet," "leadership," and "emergency procedures. "

    Additionally, day camp counselors earn a higher salary in the education industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $34,530. Additionally, residential counselors earn an average salary of $35,120 in the education industry.

    When it comes to education, day camp counselors tend to earn similar education levels than residential counselors. In fact, they're 0.6% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Direct Care Counselor

    A direct care counselor provides direct counseling and assistance to the elderly or individuals with disabilities and mental issues. They usually work at rehabilitation centers or care facilities and work together with nurses or caregivers to administer different treatment plans, monitor and support the patients' progress, and help the patients carry out daily activities such as performing hygienic or routine living tasks. Moreover, a direct care counselor may also develop and implement various healthcare programs and recreational activities while adhering to the facility's policies and regulations.

    Now, we'll look at direct care counselors, who generally average a lower pay when compared to residential counselors annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $695 per year.

    According to resumes from both residential counselors and direct care counselors, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "direct care," "mental health," and "developmental disabilities. "

    Each job requires different skills like "medication administration," "social work," "cleanliness," and "money management," which might show up on a residential counselor resume. Whereas direct care counselor might include skills like "data collection," "scip," "amap," and "provide emotional support."

    In general, direct care counselors reach similar levels of education when compared to residential counselors resumes. Direct care counselors are 0.5% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.2% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.