Residential Counselor 

(Female, Age 28) from Beaverton, OR

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 28 who works as a Residential Counselor in Beaverton, OR. We have removed all names and personal information in order to protect privacy. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete one of our job profile surveys so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job Title Residential Counselor
Salary $32,240
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week 40
Company Size (not answered)
Location Beaverton, OR
Years Experience 3 months

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career 0
Education (not answered)
Income Rating 0 / 10
Interest Rating 0 / 10
Work-Life Rating 0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating 0 / 10

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
I work at a nonprofit organization that is a drug and alcohol treatment center. I specifically work in the youth branch in in-patient, but the organization also provides youth outpatient, adult in-patient and adult out-patient treatment. The organization employs approximately 150 workers and emphasizes on treating both addiction and mental health.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
Provide addiction and mental health services through individual therapy sessions for clients. Provide case management for clients as needed. Develop treatment plan based on assessment of addiction and mental health diagnoses according to the DSM-IV-R. Lead mental health groups.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
Health insurance (Medical & Dental) with option of dependent coverage, Flexible Spending Plan, Life Insurance, Long Term Disabililty, 9 Paid Holidays/yr, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, credit union membership, Employee Assistance Plan, 401k (after six months), Paid Time off (22 days year), & Extended Illness Benefit

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
As far as this career field goes, I am being adequately paid. In general, I believe the field of mental health therapy is severely under compensated.

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
Yes. This is something I love about my job. In working with clients, obviously one has daily interactions with people. But beyond clients, I am also working with parents, court systems, school systems, other mental health and addiction workers, probation officers and social service agencies. Further, I have great interactions daily with my co-workers.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
I work within a team atmosphere. Our treatment team is constantly consulting to be sure we are providing our clients with the best treatment and interventions. Working with others in this profession is important in order to feel motivated and energized to help people with traumatic, sad stories.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 7
Benefits: 8
Hours: 6
Co-Workers: 4
Supervisors: 3
Job Title: 1
Level of Responsibility: 5
The Actual Work: 2

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8am Drive through rush hour traffic to get to work. Arrive around 8am.
8am to 9am Check e-mails and read shift report about clients from the previous night. Check voicemails. Go to morning meeting to discuss prior day’s highlights and possible obstacles for the following day.
9am to 10am Still in morning meeting, discussing clients and what will be the best therapeutic interventions. Two clients have signed up to present for next level of treatment.
10am to 11am After presentations, discuss with staff about whether or not clients are ready to progress in treatment to the next level. Vote that both clients are ready. Return to office and return phone calls. Get client from dorm and meet for one hour for a individual therapy session.
11am to 12pm After session is over (approximately 11:45am) return client to dorm and hang out in dorm with all clients until lunch.
12pm to 1pm Go on my lunch.
1pm to 2pm Go to school in same facility and talk with all clients to see how their day is going. At approximately 1:30pm retrieve a client for an individual therapy session.
2pm to 3pm Meet with client for half an hour more and return client to school. Walk with all clients back to the dorm. Talk with different clients and be social.
3pm to 4pm Take client back to office and do another individual therapy session for one hour. Return client at the end of hour to the dorm.
4pm to 5pm Make last phone calls for day to probation officer and a client’s mother. Do notes for each client I did an individual session with today.
5pm to 6pm
6pm to 7pm
7pm to 8pm
8pm to 9pm
9pm to 10pm
10pm to 11pm
11pm to 12am

Table of Contents

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
I was referred by a current employee with whom I had attended graduate school.

What was the application process?
I submitted a resume.

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Yes, I had one interview with both the clinical director and the clinical lead present.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
I was asked questions about my interests and experiences working with the specific population of adolescence. I was given an honest explanation of what kind of clientele I would be working with in this facility and was asked about my comfort in working with such a population.

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. I did much shadowing to be able to get an understanding of how the program worked before I was given any clients. Further, the clinical director and clinical lead were constantly checking in with me to see if I was overwhelmed or had questions.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. I would not be able to do this work without being trained in treatment planning and assessment using the DSM-IV. Further the counseling skills and counseling theories I learned are knowledge required for such work.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
Yes. My internship experience was doing the same work, just in a different environment.

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
Some places to search for jobs in counseling include newspapers employment ads, internet employment sites, and craigslist. Another way would be to contact a local graduate department in social work or psychology to find out about non-profit agencies in the area. Graduate programs work closely with these agencies in doing practicums and internships.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Someone in counseling needs to have good social skills, organizational skills, leadership skills, communication skills, and some computer skills.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
Yes, I don’t believe someone who does not have an Master’s Degree would be successful since this is such a specialized area.

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
An important part of this type of work is to have a good plan for self-care whether it be working out, taking vacations, reading, etc. This work can be really stressful and if you don’t take care of yourself you will get burned out quickly. Also, know ahead of time that the monetary rewards of this career do not come close to the amount of work you will put in; the reward of this career is the satisfaction you get from knowing you’ve helped someone even though you may never see the results.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Yes. My career plan is to continue with this work until I can get licensed as “licensed practioner counselor”.

What are your current career goals?
I would like to get to the point where I am able to be the director of a program that is needed in the community. At this point I would need to have much experience and knowledge, so it is quite far down the line in my career.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?
There are so many different opportunities in this career that if you are not happy at an agency, than work at another until you find one that fits your ideas and personality.

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

Title Length Salary Description
Prior Job 1 Mental Health Therapist 13 months 32000 Assessment mental health diagnoses for clients using DSM-IV-R. Create treatment plans based on diagnoses. Case management with family, schools, law enforcement agencies, and social agencies. Conduct individual therapy sessions. Lead group therapy. Complete mental health assessments.
Prior Job 2 Mental Health Therapist-Intern 9 months None Assessment mental health diagnoses for clients using DSM-IV-R. Create treatment plans based on diagnoses. Case management with family, schools, law enforcement agencies, and social agencies. Conduct individual therapy sessions. Lead group therapy. Complete mental health assessments.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:3.7

GPA School Degree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
3.3 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Psychology B.A., Sociology B.A.
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)
3.8 Lewis & Clark College Counseling Psychology, M.A.

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