Resident Assistant

Get free room and board in exchange for keeping an eye on college freshmen.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $39,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Resident Assistants do?

As a Resident Assistant, you work a bit like a Tour Guide, a bit like a Beat Cop, and a bit like a friend. You live with the population you serve, helping them adjust to their surroundings and making sure the rules of the facility are followed to the letter.

Resident Assistants work in a variety of settings, including substance abuse treatment centers, mental health facilities, and college dormitories. You may receive free room and board in exchange for your work, and you may also have a flexible schedule. Since you’re on-site at all times, you are likely expected to be always available to assist the residents. This experience can keep you from having much of a private life, and prepare you for parenting toddlers later in life.

Your typical duties as a Resident Assistant include performing inspections, handing out keys, stepping in when residents have conflicts with one another, and checking the residence hall at night to make sure everyone’s accounted for and no unwanted visitors are present. You also help residents move into the facility, get to classes or therapy sessions, and connect with one another by holding formal gatherings. Part of your work will be informal, however. Residents will likely think of you as a close friend or parental figure, and they’ll come to you when they’re overwhelmed and need help.

You provide a face for your organization, so your conduct must be impeccable at all times. You must also be an excellent listener, prepared to attentively and patiently help everyone out with their concerns and assist with resolving issues whenever you can.


Should I be a Resident Assistant?

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

  • Also known as: Assistant Dean of Students, Assistant Director of Student Activities and Housing, Associate Dean of Students See More

    How to become a Resident Assistant

    Most Resident Assistants have a Master's degree or a Bachelor's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:ipa9pa&chl=no+college+%2827%25%29|certificate+%2812%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2849%25%29|master%27s+%2812%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,27,49
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