Residential counselor jobs can differ both in context as well as the particular skills required to perform the job. In many cases, these counselors work in facilities that provide care to those who are mentally ill, struggle with substance addiction, or who have special needs. The work of a residential counselor will generally depend on his or her education, training, and work experience, as well as the needs of the facility where he or she is employed. In many cases, the counselor may actually live at the facility where he or she works, at least part time. In other cases, he or she may commute to work.
Some of the most common types of residential counselor jobs are those in substance abuse facilities. Many people who struggle with substance abuse issues find that they can get more effective treatment if they actually live in the facility for a period of time. A counselor who works in such a facility typically will have some type of training or certification in substance abuse counseling. Some substance abuse residential counselor jobs require the counselor to have advanced training or licensure in a mental health profession, such as clinical social work or mental health counseling.
Youth residential counselor jobs can vary considerably, as there are several different types of residential facilities for young people. In addition to mental health facilities and substance abuse centers that specialize in treating young people, there are also several different types of residential programs that treat behavioral disorders in teenagers. In these facilities, residential counselors may be responsible for supervising and caring for groups of patients. The qualifications required to hold these types of residential counselor jobs will depend on the type of work that the counselor is expected to perform.
Other residential counselor jobs may be in facilities designed to assist people who are undergoing a transition. One example of this type of facility is a residential home for unmarried pregnant women or women who are parenting children on their own. Counselors may be expected to provide support for these women and help them develop good parenting skills.
Another common example of a transition facility is a halfway house for individuals who are in the criminal justice system. After someone is released from prison, he or she may be able to spend time in a residential setting that provides supervision as well as assistance in re-entering society. Residential counselor jobs in these settings may require that the counselor have training and expertise in criminal justice as well as substance abuse or mental health counseling.