Resident Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Resident Assistant, or Resident Care Partner, is responsible for helping residents complete daily tasks. Their duties include overseeing fun activities for residents, assisting residents in eating, bath or do chores and maintaining care records for their facility.

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Resident Assistant duties and responsibilities

Resident Assistants are responsible for keeping students safe, engaged and comfortable. Their typical duties and responsibilities can include:

  • Listening to any concerns or issues students may have and communicating these to leadership or administration
  • Preparing for and participating in students’ first week on campus, including creating activities to engage students, checking them into the dorms and conducting an orientation for the residence halls
  • Helping students stay informed about campus activities and clubs to encourage student engagement on campus
  • Addressing any concerns students may have with other residents and acting as a moderator to solve any problems
  • Staying up to date with college and dorm guidelines to ensure students are following them at all times
  • Holding regular meetings with the students they oversee and planning fun, engaging activities to help students connect
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What does a Resident Assistant do?

Resident Assistants typically work for assisted living facilities or retirement communities to provide support to residents and their quality of life. They coordinate with other staff members to ensure that residents receive the medical support and nutrition they need. Their job is to make residents feel valued by engaging in positive interactions with them and making an effort to provide them with fun activities and group programs. They may also be responsible for contacting a resident’s relatives to notify them of changes in their loved one’s health or behavior.

Resident Assistant skills and qualifications

Since this position involves regularly interacting with students and boosting morale, a Resident Assistant needs many skills to successfully do their job. Some of these skills and qualifications can include:

  • Ability to act professionally at all times and as a strong role model for residents
  • Personable, friendly and outgoing personality
  • Effective communication and listening skills to interact with students
  • Ability to maintain a calming presence in case of emergency events in order to direct and assist residents safely
  • Good organization and planning skills
  • Great time management

Resident Assistant salary expectations

Resident Assistants make an average of $12.08 per hour. In addition to hourly pay, some Resident Assistants may receive free or discounted housing since they are often required to stay in the dorms with residents. Pay rate may depend on geographical location and institution. 

Resident Assistant education and training requirements

Since Resident Assistants are already enrolled in college courses, they don’t often require previous education besides a high school diploma. However, the university may require them to meet a specific GPA requirement when serving as an RA. Many RA candidates will attend a training course that involves engaging with residents and keeping them safe. This training may include earning a CPR certification and learning how to perform first aid.

Resident Assistant experience requirements

The experience requirements for Resident Assistants vary due to this being an entry-level position. Some employers may prefer applicants who have previously lived in the dorms so that they can apply this experience and knowledge when advising residents. It can also be beneficial for RAs to have experience working with others, so they may prefer candidates who participate in on-campus activities or clubs. Applicants who served in leadership roles such as a president of a club may also be strong candidates.

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Frequently asked questions about Resident Assistants


What is the difference between a Resident Assistant and a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Both Resident Assistants and Certified Nursing Assistants work with elderly and disabled individuals in assisted living facilities to administer care. However, their qualifications and job duties differ. For example, Resident Assistants typically need a high school diploma or GED to qualify for a position. They may also have an associate’s degree in a specialty like human services. In contrast, Certified Nursing Assistants need to earn a high school diploma before completing a training course to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Because Certified Nursing Assistants have more medical based training, they may perform more tasks relating to medical care like changing bandages or checking vital signs. In contrast, Resident Assistants may have various tasks ranging from helping patients bathe in organizing group activities.


What are the daily duties of a Resident Assistant?

On a typical day, a Resident Assistant starts by reviewing their shift assignments. They organize medications, sort food trays and deliver meals to their assigned residents. Throughout the day, they help residents complete a range of tasks, including eating, drinking, taking medications and bathing. They also clean rooms by changing bedding, vacuuming floors and sanitizing surfaces. Resident Assistants also accompany residents on excursions or walks and spend time with them doing activities they enjoy.


What qualities make a good Resident Assistant?

A good Resident Assistant is someone who has a passion for helping others. This quality motivates them to assist patients in eating, walking and maintaining good hygiene. They have an optimistic personality that helps improve residents’ moods and overall quality of life. Further, a good Resident Assistant has a creative mindset that allows them to develop ideas for fun group activities or outings and oversee them to completion. 

A good Resident Assistant also enjoys working as part of a team. This quality enables them to support other Resident Assistants to serve meals, complete cleaning tasks and maintain an upbeat work environment.


Who does a Resident Assistant report to?

Resident Assistants typically report to the Resident Manager at an assisted living or care home facility. The Resident Manager acts as a point of communication for Resident Assistants to ask questions and voice their concerns about a resident’s health. They also create work schedules and help Resident Assistants who have schedule conflicts.

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