How Do I Become a Residence Hall Director?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2019
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A residence hall director manages an institution's dorms. The criteria for becoming a residence hall director depends on the institution that hires you, but in most cases, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree for this job. You will usually need experience as well, such as in a resident assistant position or in another job that uses your interpersonal and leadership skills. Additionally, you will likely need many skills for this job, ranging from administrative skills to the ability to counsel students.

Generally, you will need a college degree to become a residence hall director. In most cases, a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, but some institutions may give preference to applicants who hold graduate degrees. You usually can land this job with a degree in any major if your other qualifications show you are the right person. A bachelor's degree in a business, human resources, or management-related major may make you a more attractive job candidate, however. A psychology degree may prove an appropriate choice for this job as well.

If you choose to earn a master's degree in an effort to become a residence hall director, you may find employers who consider degrees in such fields as student personnel and management the most desirable. Counseling degrees are often considered appropriate for this career as well. Additionally, degree programs in higher education administration may prove a good choice for this position.


Often, experience is required when you want to become a residence hall director. Many individuals land this position after gaining experience as resident assistants, a position that involves living in a residence hall and providing a range of support to residence hall occupants. Non-residence-hall experience that demonstrates your ability to thrive in an organizational or management capacity may also help you obtain this job. Experience with counseling others may prove helpful as well.

You will typically need a range of related skills in order to become a residence hall director. For example, you will need good interpersonal skills as well as the ability to organize, delegate tasks, prioritize, and work independently — the ability to motivate yourself and others is important as well. Employers may also expect you to have skills in training and advising others as well as the ability to locate resources and provide referrals. You might also need computer, business application, and administrative task skills. Additionally, you may need to know how to create and implement policies and programs once you become a residence hall director.


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