Job Description for a Residential Counselor


Residential counselors work at group homes teaching residents basic living skills. Residential counselors are employed at places like group homes for delinquent children, abused children, individuals with emotional problems or adults with schizophrenia. They assist with cooking, helping residents remember appointments, and helping with other living skills like doing laundry and creating life goals. Some residential counselors live in the home on a regular basis, while some spend the night a few times a week.


  • Residents of a group home have unstable lives and should be supervised at all times. Residential counselors provide supervision for residents in order to guard their safety and well-being. They also supervise group activities and trips when the residents are taken on outings.


  • Most residential counselors teach residents problem solving, conflict resolution and life skills. Since group homes house people with emotional problems, residents are taught how to properly resolve disagreements. Counselors may also assist students with homework in homes where the residents are of school age.


  • Residential patients must observe the residents of the home. This is not only to ensure their safety but to make sure they are not exhibiting harmful behavior. A daily record of the residents' activities is kept track of. All reports are given to the proper treatment professionals according to the residents' statuses. For example, an alcoholic's report would be given to his substance abuse counselor, while a delinquent's report would be available for the parents.


  • Residential counselors are required to have at least a high school diploma or GED. Sometimes a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university is preferred. This is not always required if the prospect has some experience in a group care setting.


  • The starting salary for residential counselors is typically minimum wage. This averages out to no more than $20,000 per year. Residential counselors can earn up to $33,000 per year.

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