Resident Advisor Jobs
What do Hillary Clinton, Mike Ditka, Adam Sandler, and Wesley Snipes all have in common? They were all once employed as college resident advisors.
Resident advisors, or resident assistants, (commonly shortened to RA) are peer advisors and leaders who supervise residence halls, dormitories, apartments, or other group housing facilities. These role models live with other residents where they help to build communities and lead by example. RAs play a major role in resident life at educational institutions across the country. The vast majority work for colleges and universities, but there are sometimes jobs with other residential care facilities too.
RAs are often the first person a college student meets when they move into the residence hall. These peer leaders are there to help advise and guide students during the school year by sharing their wealth of knowledge about college life. RAs are always available to answer questions, share resources, and point people in the right direction.
RAs live, work, play, and eat in the same residence halls as the students that they supervise. It’s the RA’s job to help build a community where students are active and make friends. This may include scheduling events, writing newsletters, organizing games, or engaging residents. The ultimate goal is to promote an healthy, safe, and secure environment for all residents.
Being a RA isn’t all fun and games though. RAs are held to higher standards than other residents. They may have to break up a fight, offer impromptu counseling services, resolve conflicts, promote diversity, or enforce rules and regulations. Every residence has its own rules, but almost all of them have specific rules regarding quiet hours or drug and alcohol policies. When someone breaks the rules, the RA has to step in. They have to keep records, write reports, and deal with the offending person.
A successful RA has the ability to delicately balance the roles of enforcer and friend. It’s a job where you want everyone to behave and have a good time, but that isn’t always the case. Instead, you have to deal with difficult decision making that can result in consequences for your “friends.” Being an RA is not always a popular job, but it is a necessary one.
The requirements to become a college RA vary for every college or university. Typically you need to be a responsible and active student at the institution who has previously lived in the residence halls. Usually a resident advisor will not be a first year student, but a more mature 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student.
When you apply for the job, you will go through a long and intense training program. During training you will learn how to handle conflicts, enforce rules and regulations, understand psychology, deal with emergency procedures, and learn other important things that will help you be a respected leader amongst your peers in the residence halls.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are approximately 95,750 resident advisors working in the US. On average, a college RA makes about $12 per hour, but it depends on the employer. Usually an RA will have their own room in the residence halls that they can move into early and out of late. They will typically receive free room and board too. This is a huge financial benefit for a student – not to mention the resume building and leadership experience that comes with the job.
Every college and university need RAs to supervise the residence halls. That’s a lot of job opportunities. If you’re a responsible college student, become a RA. You’re college or university needs you.
Quick Facts About College Resident Advisor Jobs
Job Title: Resident Advisor aka Resident Assistant aka RA aka Peer Leader
Office: Residence Halls
Description: Supervise students living in residence halls
Certifications/Education: Current, active student at institution
Necessary Skills: Responsible, Friendly, Organized, Personable
Potential Employers: Colleges and Universities
Pay: $12 per hour, Room and Board