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Become A Para Educator

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Working As A Para Educator

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $29,014

    Average Salary

What Does A Para Educator 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 A Para Educator

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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Para Educator Jobs

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Para Educator Career Paths

Para Educator
Youth Counselor Case Manager Assistant Director
Acting Director
8 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Project Manager President
Advisory Board Member
6 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Program Manager General Manager
Area Director
8 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Educator Instructor Chairperson
Board Member
5 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Facilitator Site Coordinator Youth Director
Children's Ministries Director
6 Yearsyrs
Youth Counselor Home Health Aid Instructor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Coach Long Term Substitute Teacher Preschool Teacher
Director Of Preschool
7 Yearsyrs
Special Educator Special Education Teacher
Director Of Special Education
11 Yearsyrs
Facilitator Instructional Assistant Lead Teacher
Director Of Teacher Education
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Case Manager Program Director
Division Director
10 Yearsyrs
Coach Social Studies Teacher Lead Teacher
Early Childhood Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Instructional Assistant Instructor
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Security Officer Direct Support Professional
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Instructional Assistant Lead Teacher
Lead Pre-K Teacher
5 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Home Health Aid Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Educator Program Coordinator Operations Manager
Service Director
10 Yearsyrs
Special Educator Educator Instructor
Vocational Training Instructor
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Para Educator?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Educator 3.4 years
Special Educator 3.2 years
Para Educator 3.0 years
Para Professional 2.6 years
Instructional Aide 2.4 years
Educational Aid 2.2 years
Classroom Aide 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 9.2%
Teacher 7.0%
Internship 5.3%
Volunteer 4.5%
Teller 3.8%
Secretary 2.7%
Manager 2.7%
Supervisor 2.6%
Tutor 2.5%
Top Employers After
Teacher 9.7%
Cashier 7.1%
Internship 5.0%
Teller 3.4%
Volunteer 3.2%
Tutor 2.8%

Do you work as a Para Educator?

Para Educator Demographics

Gender

Female

79.2%

Male

19.4%

Unknown

1.4%
Ethnicity

White

67.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.7%

Black or African American

6.7%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.9%

French

9.8%

German

4.3%

Russian

3.9%

Portuguese

2.4%

Hmong

1.6%

Korean

1.6%

Arabic

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Ukrainian

1.2%

Dutch

0.8%

Armenian

0.8%

Thai

0.8%

Braille

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Italian

0.8%

Chinese

0.8%

Swedish

0.4%

Icelandic

0.4%

Cherokee

0.4%
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Para Educator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.4%

Wichita State University

9.4%

Grand Canyon University

7.6%

Kansas State University

5.3%

Ashford University

5.3%

Johnson State College

4.9%

Central Washington University

4.5%

University of Iowa

4.4%

Washington State University

4.2%

Liberty University

4.2%

Community College of Vermont

4.1%

Buena Vista University

4.1%

Kaplan University

4.1%

Fort Hays State University

3.6%

University of Northern Iowa

3.3%

Utah Valley University

3.3%

Eastern Washington University

3.2%

University of Vermont

3.2%

Kirkwood Community College

3.0%

University of Kansas

2.7%
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Majors

Business

12.3%

Psychology

10.4%

Education

9.1%

Elementary Education

8.2%

Special Education

6.4%

Criminal Justice

5.9%

Early Childhood Education

5.0%

Human Services

5.0%

General Studies

4.3%

Social Work

4.3%

Liberal Arts

4.1%

Health Care Administration

3.3%

Human Development

3.3%

Nursing

3.2%

English

2.7%

Accounting

2.6%

Sociology

2.6%

Medical Assisting Services

2.5%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.4%

Communication

2.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.3%

Other

25.1%

Masters

14.9%

Associate

13.2%

Certificate

4.9%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.5%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Para Educator?

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Top Skills for A Para Educator

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  1. Classroom Management
  2. Behavioral Issues
  3. Special Needs
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Attended professional development workshops to strengthen content area knowledge and classroom management.
  • Help students with emotional behavioral issues to maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and/or adults.5.
  • Participated in one-on-one educational sessions with special needs children * Worked towards achieving goals implemented in students' Individualized
  • Assisted in developing individualized programs and curriculum based IEP recommendations for each student.
  • Assured academics as teacher in high school mathematics and elementary/middle school general education curriculum for more than 200 students.

How Would You Rate Working As a Para Educator?

Are you working as a Para Educator? Help us rate Para Educator as a Career.

Top Para Educator Employers

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Jobs From Top Para Educator Employers

Para Educator Videos

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

Cynthia Eborall - Paraeducator

KSD Minute l Paraeducator Carol Chandler

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