Community Living Specialist

Help residents with disabilities learn skills and handle day-to-day living.
picture of Community Living Specialist

Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
$16,000 – $26,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Community Living Specialists do?

Living alone means cooking, cleaning, balancing a checkbook, and shopping. While these tasks may not be thrilling, most people perform them easily. Those with physical or mental disabilities, however, may find them difficult to accomplish, prompting them to move to communal facilities to get assistance.

A Community Living Specialist maintains order in these facilities, and helps the residents develop the skills they lack. The work that Community Living Specialists do helps residents regain their independence.

Each resident has a specified list of tasks to master, developed by their Doctors and Therapists. As a Community Living Specialist, you review those task lists and think of ways to incorporate the tasks into your work. If residents need to learn to wash clothing, for example, you help them gather up their clothes and keep red socks out of white loads. If they need to learn to cook, you watch them closely as they prepare meals, giving gentle correction before they start fires or ruin decent steak dinners.

Some residents need assistance with walking, standing, or sitting. Throughout the day, you help them move about, but you also think of ways to encourage them to do more by themselves. You ask them to hold the handrail as they walk, for example, and you whisper words of encouragement when they’re able to stay upright for long periods.

As residents improve, they must practice their skills in the real world, and you supervise those expeditions. You load them into a car, carefully drive to the store, park, mall, or some other public spot, and coach them to behave appropriately.

Should I be a Community Living Specialist?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Habilitation Training Specialist

    How to Become a
    Community Living Specialist

    Most Community Living Specialists have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9zaaaa&chl=no+college+%2870%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29|associate%27s+%281%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,70,70
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