A residential supervisor’s job may involve varied activities for a wide range of possible employers. Working with individuals who cannot live on their own or in a family situation, residential supervisors typically oversee the activities, residents and staff of a group home. Preparing for a residential supervisor career may begin with enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology program.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow faster than the average occupation in the coming years. Job growth will occur as the demand for residential mental health and substance abuse services increases. Residential supervisors with advanced education or specialized training will enjoy improved career opportunities.

Job Duties for Residential Supervisors

Specific residential supervisor job duties usually depend on the type of group home and its residents. Their work includes overseeing client routines in areas such as personal care, housekeeping, chores, banking and shopping. Residential supervisors also observe and document clients’ behavior, physical condition and emotional development. Some residential supervisors provide training for group home residents according to each individual’s prescribed plan. They may specialize in working with children, the elderly, persons with disabilities or at-risk youth.

Working day or night shifts can involve different job duties for residential supervisors. At night, ensuring residents’ safety is most important. Day shifts include activities ranging from bathing and dressing residents to cooking their meals. Meeting with clients and their families and referring them to social services are additional job duties of residential supervisors. They also write reports and meet with social workers and other community members to help meet client needs.

Residential supervisors may work in any type of group home, including private and publicly-funded homes in residential neighborhoods. They might work in a halfway house for juvenile offenders or a home for young mothers or developmentally challenged adults. Residential supervisors are often part of a care team of psychologists, social workers and teachers. Due to the nature of this type of work, the residential supervisor’s job can be challenging but very rewarding, as it involves helping others on a daily basis.

Potential Salary Range

Salaries for residential supervisors can vary depending on their place of employment. National salary data on PayScale.com indicated that as of August 2010, residential supervisors earned average incomes in the following ranges:

Residential Supervisors Earned Average Income Ranges
Residential Care/Assisted Living Facility $26,468–$39,528
Human Services $26,146–$39,098
Community Mental Health $24,801–$36,975

Education and Training

Education and training requirements for residential supervisor jobs vary by employer. Managing a group home usually requires a bachelor’s degree plus experience in residential care.

For individuals interested in a residential supervisor career working with children and teens, the first step can be a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology with a concentration in child advocacy. Coursework typically includes introduction to psychology, substance abuse, lifespan development and psychology, learning and motivation, and critical issues in child advocacy.

An applied psychology education prepares graduates to:

  • Understand theories and major concepts in applied psychology.
  • Recognize psychological principles and theories pertaining to children and youth.
  • Apply best practices to deal with delinquency, domestic violence and substance abuse.
  • Work with individuals of differing socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
  • Leverage psychology skills and knowledge into employment as a residential supervisor.

Many agencies offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level job with a bachelor’s degree and use an employer’s tuition assistance program to pay for a master’s degree.

Considering a Career as a Residential Supervisor?

Individuals who are patient, mature and sensitive are ideal candidates for residential supervisor jobs. They must also possess a genuine desire to help people, the flexibility to work both day and overnight shifts, and the ability to deal with a range of human behavior. Advocating for their clients’ needs is another important skill for those pursuing a residential supervisor career.

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