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Career profile Residential Advisor

Also known as Hall Coordinator, Residence Director, Residence Hall Director, Residence Life Coordinator, Residence Life Director, Resident Advisor, Resident Assistant, Resident Director, Residential Coordinator, Residential Life Director

Residential Advisor

Also known as Hall Coordinator, Residence Director, Residence Hall Director

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$21,550 - $49,180 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administration and Management
  • Public Safety and Security
Core tasks
  • Communicate with other staff to resolve problems with individual students.
  • Observe students to detect and report unusual behavior.
  • Supervise, train, and evaluate residence hall staff, including resident assistants, participants in work-study programs, and other student workers.
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What does a Residential Advisor do?

Residential Advisors coordinate activities in resident facilities in secondary school and college dormitories, group homes, or similar establishments.

In addition, Residential Advisors

  • order supplies and determine need for maintenance, repairs, and furnishings,
  • may maintain household records and assign rooms,
  • may assist residents with problem solving or refer them to counseling resources.

What kind of tasks does a Residential Advisor perform regularly?

Residential Advisors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Communicate with other staff to resolve problems with individual students.
  • Observe students to detect and report unusual behavior.
  • Supervise, train, and evaluate residence hall staff, including resident assistants, participants in work-study programs, and other student workers.
  • Provide emergency first aid and summon medical assistance when necessary.
  • Make regular rounds to ensure that residents and areas are safe and secure.
  • Mediate interpersonal problems between residents.
  • Enforce rules and regulations to ensure the smooth and orderly operation of dormitory programs.
  • Determine the need for facility maintenance and repair, and notify appropriate personnel.
  • Collaborate with counselors to develop counseling programs that address the needs of individual students.
  • Develop and coordinate educational programs for residents.
  • Develop program plans for individuals or assist in plan development.
  • Provide requested information on students' progress and the development of case plans.
  • Answer telephones, and route calls or deliver messages.
  • Confer with medical personnel to better understand the backgrounds and needs of individual residents.
  • Administer, coordinate, or recommend disciplinary and corrective actions.
  • Counsel students in the handling of issues such as family, financial, and educational problems.
  • Hold regular meetings with each assigned unit.
  • Compile information such as residents' daily activities and the quantities of supplies used to prepare required reports.
  • Chaperone group-sponsored trips and social functions.
  • Order supplies for facilities.

The above responsibilities are specific to Residential Advisors. More generally, Residential Advisors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is a Residential Advisor salary?

The median salary for a Residential Advisor is $31,190, and the average salary is $33,430. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Residential Advisor salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Residential Advisors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Residential Advisors earn less than $21,550 per year, 25% earn less than $26,010, 75% earn less than $39,100, and 90% earn less than $49,180.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Residential Advisors is expected to change by 12.4%, and there should be roughly 17,500 open positions for Residential Advisors every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$21,550 - $49,180
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Residential Advisors?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Residential Advisor are usually higher in their Social, Enterprising, and Conventional interests.

Residential Advisors typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Residential Advisors typically have strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Lastly, Residential Advisors typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Residential Advisor tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Residential Advisors very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Residential Advisors moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Residential Advisors moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Residential Advisors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as concern for others, adaptability/flexibility, and self-control.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Residential Advisors, ranked by importance:

Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Residential Advisors need?

Residential Advisors often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Residential Advisors usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Residential Advisors

  • 3.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 14.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 29.2% completed some college coursework
  • 13.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 28.4% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 9.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Residential Advisors

Residential Advisors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, administration and management, or public safety and security knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Residential Advisors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Sociology and Anthropology
Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.

Important Abilities needed by Residential Advisors

Residential Advisors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Residential Advisors need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Residential Advisors, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

Critical Skills needed by Residential Advisors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Residential Advisors frequently use skills like social perceptiveness, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Residential Advisors, ranked by their relative importance.

Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.