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Resident Advisor: Job Description and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a resident advisor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about the job outlook, salary prospects and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

Resident advisors ensure that their building and its inhabitants are safe and follow all the regulations and procedures. They keep their residents informed of any policies or news and also meet with housing officials on any issues. Requirements for this position vary depending on where a RA is working.

Essential Information

Resident advisors, also known as RAs, support new or returning residents in facilities, such as college dormitories or group homes. In order to be proficient at their jobs, advisors should have a variety of skills and personal attributes, such as leadership, approachability, and responsibility.

Required Education Varies widely - RAs in college dorms are often college students; some RAs have bachelor's degrees while others only have high school diplomas
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 14%*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $24,990*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Resident advisors enforce the rules of an institution and offer personal and professional guidance to its residents. Advisors are usually expected to lead by example in terms of their character, integrity, and level of maturity. RAs could be required to check in with their residents periodically to ensure that their classes are going well and address any concerns they may have. In an academic setting, an RA will arrive before the school semester begins so that they can decorate doors and meet with each student as they check in. Since dormitories usually have students from various backgrounds, RAs should be open-minded and welcoming of individuals of different races, cultures, sexual orientations, religions, and economic backgrounds.

Job Duties

One responsibility of an RA is to offer residents advice on safety procedures, security precautions, and community adjustment. They usually meet with their residents privately and therefore know all of their names and what floor they live on. It's not uncommon for RAs to inspect rooms and furniture to ensure that they comply with regulations and rules. It could be helpful for individuals to have basic first aid knowledge in the event of a medical emergency.

In order to qualify to become an RA, applicants may be asked to be students and have satisfactory grades. Some schools request that applicants not have any other employment that isn't approved while working as a resident advisor. Additionally, RAs typically have frequent meetings with senior housing staff to address any issues, submit maintenance requests, and review housing standards.

Salary Information

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that residential advisors made a median salary of $24,990 nationally. RAs working in schools and instruction earned the most. The BLS found that the states paying the most as of 2015 were Alaska, Minnesota, New York, California and Arizona. The BLS also reported that the employment of residential advisors was expected to grow by 14% between 2014 and 2024.

RAs usually work in dormitory or group living situations. They should be friendly and outgoing since they have to interact on a personal level with any resident under their supervision. Many RAs have bachelor's degrees or, in the case of university RAs, they should be students with dormitory experience.


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