If you have strong administrative skills and like helping students, you may enjoy being a dorm supervisor on a college campus. Ensuring the smooth operations of a dormitory is challenging but rewarding. Educational requirements vary depending on the complexity of your duties, level of responsibility, size of the dormitory and the number of staff supervised. A college degree is not essential, but a survey conducted by O*NET indicates that 48 percent of dorm supervisors, also called resident advisers, hold a bachelor’s degree, and 13 percent have a master’s degree.
The minimum educational requirement for an entry-level job in college housing is completion of some college, but not a degree, according to the Department of Labor. Typical duties include purchasing supplies, submitting repair orders, explaining rules, resolving roommate conflicts, planning activities, updating records and coordinating room assignments. College courses in English, business management, communication, psychology and crisis intervention would help you develop the skills needed to supervise a dorm. Classes in emergency response training and first aid would be useful in handling student illness or injury.
Undergraduate students living on campus are eligible to apply for resident assistant positions. If selected to be an R.A., you may receive free room and board -- or at least a heavy discount on the cost of housing -- in exchange for leading floor meetings, documenting rule violations and planning floor activities. If you are in graduate school, you can apply to be a graduate assistant. Responsibilities of a G.A. include planning programs, supervising activities and mentoring students. R.A.s and G.A.s receive initial and ongoing training from professional housing staff.
A bachelor's degree is helpful in landing a job as a dorm supervisor. Students from all majors may be considered if they have course-work or experience that has prepared them to supervise staff, support students, address parent concerns and manage facilities. Prior experience living or working in a dormitory is a definite asset. School administrators will also be impressed with leadership positions you held in college since you will be a role model to students living on campus.
Dorm supervisors are classified as student service administrators by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The preferred educational requirement for a student service administrator is a master’s degree, according to the BLS. The job entails budgeting, assessing programs, supervising staff, disciplining students and working with upper administration. A master's degree in student affairs would offer you specialized training to fulfill these high-level duties. For example, graduate students in the student affairs administration program at Texas A&M complete supervised fieldwork and courses in business, assessment, counseling and college student development.
Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of students whose job includes student conduct, leading the behavioral consultation team, crisis response, retention and the working with the veterans resource center. She enjoys helping parents and students solve problems through advising, teaching and writing online articles that appear on many sites. Dr. Dowd also contributes to scholarly books and journal articles.