Residential youth counselor positions involve working with children and adolescents; in some settings, counselors deal with a wide range of ages, while others focus on a specific age group and/or demographic (such as teenage girls). They help provide a positive, therapeutic environment to the youth under their supervision, who may have experienced traumatic and unstable environments. Residential youth counselors must serve as a positive role model, working with youth in individual and group settings to provide guidance and support. They must coordinate with staff members such as nurses and mental health professionals to provide the best possible care.
Potential employers for residential youth counselors include work a wide variety of settings. For example, counselors may work in long-term or transitional institutions, secular or religious institutions, and dormitory or group home settings. Most residential youth counselors work during regular business hours, but their hours may vary depending on the needs of the facility (with some evening and overnight positions available).
Education qualifications for these positions may vary greatly depending on the employer's needs and state licensing requirements Typically, at least an associate's degree is required, although some employers will accept a high school diploma or equivalent; some facilities require a bachelor's degree in a field such as social work, human services, or psychology. Previous experience working with youth is generally required as well.
Residential Youth Counselor Tasks
Observe patients and report outcome to treatment professionals.
Teach residents behavior modification techniques and problem solving and life skills.
Supervise residents and group activities to promote a safe environment.