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Career and Education Opportunities for Residential Life Directors in Chicago, Illinois

Residential life director career and educational opportunities abound in Chicago, Illinois. Currently, 1,810 people work as residential life directors in Illinois. This is expected to grow 21% to about 2,180 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for residential life directors are expected to grow by about 9.1%. Residential life directors generally coordinate activities for residents of boarding schools, college fraternities or sororities, college dormitories, or similar establishments.

Income for residential life directors is about $13 hourly or $27,750 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally, their income is about $11 hourly or $23,410 annually. Earnings for residential life directors are better than earnings in the general category of Child Care in Illinois and better than general Child Care category earnings nationally.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a residential life director, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Given that the most common education level for residential life directors is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a residential life director if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Residential Life Director

Residential Life Director video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, residential life directors coordinate activities for residents of boarding schools, college fraternities or sororities, college dormitories, or similar establishments. They also order supplies and determine need for maintenance, repairs, and furnishings.

Residential life directors mediate interpersonal problems between residents. They also communicate with other staff to deal with problems with individual students. Equally important, residential life directors have to decide on the need for facility maintenance and repair, and notify appropriate personnel. They are often called upon to enforce rules and regulations to insure the smooth and orderly operation of dormitory programs. They are expected to make regular rounds to insure that residents and areas are safe and secure. Finally, residential life directors hold regular meetings with their assigned units.

Every day, residential life directors are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for residential life directors to direct and participate in on- and off-campus recreational activities for residents of institutions, boarding schools, fraternities or sororities, children's homes, or similar establishments. They are often called upon to furnish emergency first aid and summon medical assistance when needed. They also design program plans for individuals or help in plan development. They are sometimes expected to collaborate with counselors to evolve counseling programs that address the needs of individual students. Somewhat less frequently, residential life directors are also expected to enforce rules and regulations to insure the smooth and orderly operation of dormitory programs.

They also have to be able to answer telephones, and route calls or deliver messages and hold regular meetings with their assigned units. And finally, they sometimes have to chaperone group-sponsored trips and social functions.

Like many other jobs, residential life directors must have a strong concern for others and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Child Care Worker. Attend to children at schools, businesses, and child care institutions. Perform a variety of tasks, such as dressing, feeding, and overseeing play.
  • Personal Home Care Aide. Assist elderly or disabled adults with daily living activities at the person's home or in a daytime non-residential facility. Duties performed at a place of residence may include keeping house (making beds, doing laundry, washing dishes) and preparing meals. May provide meals and supervised activities at non-residential care facilities. May advise families, the elderly, and disabled on such things as nutrition, cleanliness, and household utilities.
  • Recreation Coordinator. Conduct recreation activities with groups in public, private, or volunteer agencies or recreation facilities. Organize and promote activities, such as arts and crafts, sports, and hobbies, taking into account the needs and interests of individual members.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Residential Life Director Training

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has an associate's degree program in Hotel/Motel Administration/Management which graduated one student in 2008.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Hotel/Motel Administration/Management which graduated three, one, and seven students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year program in Hotel/Motel Administration/Management which graduated four students in 2008.

Purdue University-Calumet Campus - Hammond, IN

Purdue University-Calumet Campus, 2200 169th St, Hammond, IN 46323-2094. Purdue University-Calumet Campus is a medium sized university located in Hammond, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 9,325 students and an admission rate of 74%. Purdue University-Calumet Campus has a less than one year and a bachelor's degree program in Hotel/Motel Administration/Management which graduated one and twenty-four students respectively in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Hotel/Motel Administration/Management which graduated one and six students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Residential Child and Youth Care Professional: A certified staff provides evidence of the value you place on the role of the direct care worker in service delivery.

For more information, see the National Resource Center for Youth Services website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.