Resident assistant

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Resident Assistant
Occupation
Names Resident Assistant, Resident Advisor, RA, Resident Mentor, Senior Resident
Occupation type
Profession
Activity sectors
Education
Description
Competencies Communication, Organization, Planning
Related jobs
Coach (sport), tutor

A resident assistant (also variously known as a resident advisor, community assistant, resident mentor, peer advisor, community advisor, or senior resident), commonly shortened to RA or CA is a trained peer leader who supervises those living in a residence hall or group housing facility. The majority of RAs work at colleges, universities, or residential mental health and substance abuse facilities.[1]

An RA has many roles and responsibilities, including, but not limited to, building a residential community through programming, acting as a para-counselor for students, being a familiar first resource for students with academic or institutional questions, and enforcing residence policies. Typically, but not exclusively, the RA goes through a rigorous training process. An RA must balance his/her own schedule and priorities with the needs of the students he/she is supporting. Above all, a resident assistant must be an example and uphold professional and personal accountability as outlined by the institution.

Job benefits[edit]

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national mean hourly wage of RAs is $12.17, and the national mean average annual wage is $25,320. An RA at a college or university does not typically receive an hourly wage, but is compensated in other ways. Common compensations are price-adjusted housing, free meals, and/or stipends. Listed below are two tables of RA hourly and annual mean wage, broken down by individual industries.

Industries with the highest levels of employment in this occupation: [1]

Industry Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 9,710 $13.64 $28,380
Residential Mental Retardation, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities 9,630 $11.27 $23,440
Other Residential Care Facilities 5,930 $11.42 $23,750
Individual and Family Services 4,780 $11.33 $23,560
Vocational Rehabilitation Services 4,060 $11.76 $24,460

Top paying industries for this occupation:[1]

Industry Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 740 $15.56 $32,360
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals 580 $15.38 $31,990
Other Schools and Instruction 50 $15.02 $31,250
Educational Support Services 40 $14.27 $29,670
Junior Colleges 810 $13.82 $28,740

Job duties and responsibilities[edit]

An RA has many responsibilities. Each institution has its own duties and requirements for an RA. The following are the more common responsibilities of an RA.

Administrative[edit]

These duties are a direct result of the leadership portion of the RA position. The RA needs to be a great liaison from the floor to the building coordinator. This requires writing detailed reports, keeping accurate records, and maintaining good communication. The RA may also assist with public relations and housing needs.

Institution-specific[edit]

These duties are designated from the values and goals of the institution. This denotes that the RA should be a role model by following the regulations. In addition, the RA could be required to disseminate, explain, and uphold these regulations.

Community[edit]

The residents and the RA compose a community, simply by living together in a similar location. The RA may be required to foster this community by having the residents be tolerant and respectful of the other residents and their property. Community programming may also be a required duty in order to help create a sense of connectedness and union in the living space.

Interpersonal[edit]

These duties deal with directly helping the residents as individuals. This requires the RA to know all the residents and be able to help each resident if they run into any problems. Some problems could pertain to relationships, class-work, or institutional questions. The RA should have the skills to either assist the resident, or know of a resource that the resident can use to solve their problem.[2]

Security[edit]

These duties involve creating a safe and healthy environment for the residents to reside in. Enforcing Community Standards, such as quiet hours and alcohol & drug policy are frequent occurrences. Fines, bonds, and behavioural contracts can be issued at many universities by RAs. Monitoring floor activity and helping with conflict resolution between residents is another important security related duty of the RA.

Diversity[edit]

Resident assistants must promote diversity in their residence halls. They must facilitate the development of both awareness and tolerance among the students who reside in the dormitory or institution.

Integration[edit]

This refers to assisting residents in making a smooth transition into campus life by getting them involved in traditional activities in their institution such as homecoming events, for example.

Intellect[edit]

This refers to academic development and social awareness.

Identity[edit]

This refers to the personal development of residents that enables them to gain a level of self-awareness.

Independence[edit]

Resident assistants must encourage self-awareness and personal accountability amongst the residents.

Programs[edit]

One way these elements can be achieved is through programming. This is a major aspect of the job for a resident assistant. Programming can come in three different forms. This includes planned, passive, and take. A planned program is an event created or co-sponsored by the resident assistant. This event is specifically tailored to fit the needs and/or interests of the residents. A passive program is one that is completed without assembling or direct interaction between the residents and/or the resident assistant. Passive programs are generally used to start a conversation on a particular issue affecting the residents. These programs can range from a bulletin board that can be casually read in passing, or they can be more interactive like taking a survey, for example. Finally, take programs require the resident assistant to accompany residents to an event which can include an on-campus program such as an institution sponsored event, a basketball game or perhaps a movie. All these programs help to develop a community amongst residents and incorporate the core values mentioned above.[3]

International[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

The term "senior wardens", "student wardens" or "senior mentors" is a position in UK universities similar to that of the resident assistant in the USA. Such positions do not generally entail as much focus on improvement of student life as in the USA, and are instead more directed towards pastoral care of residents along with duties covering security, fire and first-aid along with night/weekend duty work. That said, members of wardenial teams are often expected to contribute to the overall social life of their hall of residence. The positions are most often filled by students undertaking a PhD, although mature students studying for a Masters degree have also been known to fill the role. Even undergraduate students from their second year of study onwards can be offered the position, such as what happens at the University of Bradford.

Mexico[edit]

In Mexico, resident assistants are typically called "prefectos". The position has many of the same functions as in the USA, with a few exceptions including taking attendance every night at 11:30pm. The residence halls tend to be mainly of the same sex; therefore attendance is taken every night by a resident assistant to ensure opposite sex guests are no longer in the building.

Notable RAs[edit]

See also[edit]

Residential fellow

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2008: 39-9041 Resident Advisors". Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  2. ^ Blimling, Gregory (2003). The Resident Assistant. USA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. pp. 5–6. ISBN 0-7872-9867-0. 
  3. ^ http://studentaffairs.odu.edu/housing/corevalues.shtml. Core Values. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  4. ^ "Virginia Tech Shooting Victims - Ryan Clark". washingtonpost.com. 2007-04-17. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Radford University - Residential Life: A Resident Assistant". Res-life.asp.radford.edu. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Fordham University - The Office of Residential Life at Rose Hill - Resident Assistant Positions". Fordham.edu. 2003-10-28. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  7. ^ "Famous RAs - Donna Shalala". Residentassistant.com. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 

External links[edit]