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Become An Education Paraprofessional

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Working As An Education Paraprofessional

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $55,810

    Average Salary

What Does An Education Paraprofessional Do

Teacher assistants work under a teacher’s supervision to give students additional attention and instruction.

Duties

Teacher assistants typically do the following:

  • Reinforce lessons presented by teachers by reviewing material with students one-on-one or in small groups
  • Enforce school and class rules to help teach students proper behavior
  • Help teachers with recordkeeping, such as tracking attendance and calculating grades
  • Help teachers prepare for lessons by getting materials ready or setting up equipment, such as computers
  • Supervise students in class, between classes, during lunch and recess, and on field trips

Teacher assistants also are called teacher aides, instructional aides, paraprofessionals, education assistants, and paraeducators.

Teacher assistants work with or under the guidance of a licensed teacher. Generally, teachers introduce new material to students while teacher assistants help reinforce the lessons by working with individual students or small groups of students. For example, after the teacher presents a lesson, a teacher assistant may help a small group of students as they try to master the material.

Teachers may seek feedback from assistants to monitor students’ progress. Some teachers and teacher assistants meet regularly to discuss lesson plans and student development. Teacher assistants sometimes help teachers by grading tests and checking homework.

Some teacher assistants work only with special education students. Some of these students attend regular classes, and teacher assistants help them understand the material and adapt the information to their learning style. Teacher assistants may work with students who have more severe disabilities in separate classrooms. They help these students with basic needs, such as eating or personal hygiene. With young adults, they may help students with disabilities learn skills necessary for them to find a job or live independently after graduation.

Some teacher assistants work in specific locations in the school. For example, some work in computer laboratories, teaching students how to use computers and helping them use software. Others work as recess or lunchroom attendants, supervising students during these times of the day.

Although most teacher assistants work in elementary, middle, and high schools, others work in preschools and childcare centers. Often, one or two assistants work with a lead teacher to provide the individual attention that young children need. They help with educational activities. They also supervise the children at play and help with feeding and other basic care.

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How To Become An Education Paraprofessional

Teacher assistants typically need to have completed at least 2 years of college coursework.

Education

Most school districts require applicants to have completed at least 2 years of college coursework or have earned an associate’s degree. Teacher assistants in schools that have a Title 1 program (a federal program for schools with a large proportion of students from low-income households) must have at least a 2-year degree, 2 years of college, or pass a state or local assessment.

Associate’s degree programs for teacher assistants prepare the participants to develop educational materials, observe students, and understand the role of teachers and teaching assistants in the classroom.

Most states require instructional aides who work with special-needs students to pass a skills-based test.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teacher assistants need to discuss students’ progress with teachers and parents, so they need to be able to communicate well.

Interpersonal skills. Teacher assistants interact with a variety of people, including teachers, students, parents, and administrators. They need to develop good working relationships with the people they work with.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Teacher assistants must be patient with students who struggle with material.

Resourcefulness. To reinforce lessons, teacher assistants must explain information to students in a way that meets each student’s learning style. 

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Education Paraprofessional jobs

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Education Paraprofessional Career Paths

Education Paraprofessional
ABA Therapist Instructor ESL Instructor
Academic Director
8 Yearsyrs
Special Educator Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Program Director Coach
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Elementary School Teacher Site Coordinator Youth Director
Children's Ministries Director
5 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Technician Therapist Adjunct Professor
Curriculum Director
9 Yearsyrs
Instructional Assistant Adjunct Instructor Associate Dean
Dean
5 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Program Director Adjunct Instructor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Adjunct Instructor Instructor
Director Of Instruction
6 Yearsyrs
Instructor Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Director Of Special Education
12 Yearsyrs
Behavioral Specialist Long Term Substitute Teacher Special Educator
Director Of Special Services
9 Yearsyrs
Special ED Teacher Special Educator Pre-K Teacher
Director Of Teacher Education
5 Yearsyrs
Special Educator Lead Teacher Assistant Director
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
High School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Instructional Assistant Instructor Assistant Director
Owner/Director
7 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Program Manager Education Director
School Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Adjunct Faculty Assistant Principal
Vice Principal
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Special ED Teacher 3.6 years
Special Educator 3.4 years
Para Educator 2.9 years
Para Professional 2.7 years
Instructional Aide 2.4 years
Educational Aid 2.1 years
Top Employers Before
Teacher 8.0%
Internship 6.5%
Cashier 5.7%
Volunteer 3.9%
Tutor 2.7%
Server 2.5%
Top Employers After
Teacher 13.1%
Cashier 3.5%
Internship 3.3%
Tutor 3.0%
Volunteer 2.7%

Education Paraprofessional Demographics

Gender

Female

79.3%

Male

19.1%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

82.5%

Hispanic or Latino

9.7%

Asian

5.9%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.8%

French

6.6%

Portuguese

3.3%

Italian

2.7%

Arabic

2.7%

Mandarin

2.2%

Hmong

1.6%

Braille

1.6%

Turkish

1.1%

Dutch

1.1%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Chinese

1.1%

German

1.1%

Swahili

0.5%

Cherokee

0.5%

Hindi

0.5%

Korean

0.5%

Hungarian

0.5%

Catalan

0.5%

Russian

0.5%
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Education Paraprofessional Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.4%

Grand Canyon University

11.0%

Ashford University

7.6%

Liberty University

7.2%

Walden University

5.2%

Capella University

4.8%

Minnesota State University - Mankato

4.6%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.4%

Kaplan University

4.1%

Ball State University

4.1%

Southern Connecticut State University

4.1%

Kansas State University

3.9%

Saint Cloud State University

3.9%

University of Connecticut

3.1%

Bridgewater State University

3.1%

Grand Valley State University

2.8%

Troy University

2.8%

University of Northern Colorado

2.4%

Fort Hays State University

2.4%

Wichita State University

2.4%
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Majors

Psychology

12.7%

Special Education

11.3%

Elementary Education

9.8%

Business

9.1%

Education

8.8%

Criminal Justice

5.5%

Early Childhood Education

5.2%

Human Services

4.1%

Social Work

4.0%

Human Development

3.6%

Liberal Arts

2.9%

English

2.9%

Sociology

2.9%

Communication

2.8%

Counseling Psychology

2.5%

Kinesiology

2.5%

Nursing

2.4%

School Counseling

2.4%

General Studies

2.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.7%

Masters

20.7%

Other

19.7%

Associate

11.7%

Certificate

4.9%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills for An Education Paraprofessional

ClassroomTeacherSpecialEducationTeachersBehavioralIssuesSpecialNeedsChildrenIEPSmallGroupInstructionMathematicsLessonPlansLanguageSuperviseAppropriateSocialSkillsLifeSkillsReinforceLearningConceptsLearningDisabilitiesClassroomActivitiesCrisisClassroomSettingBehaviorManagementClassroomManagementKindergarten

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Top Education Paraprofessional Skills

  1. Classroom Teacher
  2. Special Education Teachers
  3. Behavioral Issues
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Discussed assigned duties with classroom teachers to coordinate instructional efforts.
  • Assisted Special Education teachers with lesson planning and physical responsibilities for special needs elementary school children.
  • Design and customize student programs to address behavioral issues, and to provide a productive learning environment.
  • Assist with special needs children help with hygiene and daily activities
  • Help him and other students in the classroom successfully achieve their IEP goals.

Top Education Paraprofessional Employers

Education Paraprofessional Videos

Special Education - Differential Reinforcement

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