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Career and Education Opportunities for Residential Life Directors in Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for residential life directors. There are currently 220 working residential life directors in Maine; this should grow 12% to 250 working residential life directors in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for residential life directors, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.1% over the next eight years. In general, residential life directors coordinate activities for residents of boarding schools, college fraternities or sororities, college dormitories, or similar establishments.

The income of a residential life director is about $11 per hour or $23,930 annually on average in Maine. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $11 hourly or $23,410 yearly on average. Earnings for residential life directors are better than earnings in the general category of Child Care in Maine and better than general Child Care category earnings nationally.

There are twenty-three schools of higher education in the Portland area, including one within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree to start your career as a residential life director. 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 Portland include:

  • 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

Southern Maine Community College - South Portland, ME

Southern Maine Community College, 2 Fort Road, South Portland, ME 04106-1698. Southern Maine Community College is a medium sized college located in South Portland, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 5,654 students and an admission rate of 68%. Southern Maine Community College has an associate's degree program in Hotel/Motel Administration/Management which graduated nine students in 2008.


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.


Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.