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Become A Special Education Aide

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Working As A Special Education Aide

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $24,900

    Average Salary

What Does A Special Education Aide 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 Special Education Aide

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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Special Education Aide Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Special Educator 3.2 years
Para Educator 2.9 years
Para Professional 2.6 years
Instructional Aide 2.4 years
Kindergarten Aide 1.9 years
Classroom Aide 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Teacher 9.2%
Internship 6.9%
Cashier 6.4%
Volunteer 4.4%
Aide 3.6%
Tutor 3.1%
Teller 3.0%
Secretary 3.0%
Top Employers After
Teacher 13.3%
Internship 5.9%
Aide 4.3%
Volunteer 4.2%
Tutor 4.1%
Cashier 3.5%
Manager 2.2%
Assistant 2.2%

Do you work as a Special Education Aide?

Special Education Aide Demographics

Gender

Female

79.8%

Male

18.9%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

79.7%

Hispanic or Latino

12.2%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

1.2%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.3%

French

6.9%

Italian

4.6%

German

4.0%

Russian

2.9%

Portuguese

2.9%

Mandarin

2.3%

Greek

2.3%

Chinese

2.3%

Tagalog

1.7%

Hebrew

1.7%

Braille

1.1%

Japanese

1.1%

Swedish

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Gujarati

0.6%

Cheyenne

0.6%

Dutch

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Bosnian

0.6%
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Special Education Aide Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.4%

Grand Canyon University

9.8%

Ashford University

7.8%

Radford University

5.2%

Arizona State University

4.9%

Walden University

4.6%

Utah State University

4.6%

Liberty University

4.3%

National University

4.0%

California State University - Fresno

4.0%

Northern Illinois University

4.0%

Kaplan University

4.0%

Capella University

3.7%

Northern Arizona University

3.4%

Illinois State University

3.4%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.4%

Western Illinois University

3.4%

Ball State University

3.2%

Troy University

2.9%

Stephen F Austin State University

2.9%
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Majors

Psychology

11.8%

Elementary Education

10.7%

Special Education

10.0%

Business

9.7%

Education

8.5%

Early Childhood Education

5.5%

Liberal Arts

4.5%

Social Work

4.3%

Human Development

4.1%

Criminal Justice

3.6%

English

3.4%

Communication

3.1%

Nursing

2.9%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

General Studies

2.7%

Medical Assisting Services

2.7%

Counseling Psychology

2.6%

Sociology

2.5%

Human Services

2.4%

School Counseling

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.6%

Other

22.0%

Masters

20.4%

Associate

10.5%

Certificate

4.8%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.5%
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Part Time
Internship
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Special Education Aide?

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Top Skills for A Special Education Aide

ClassroomTeacherSpecialEducationTeachersSpecialNeedsChildrenBehavioralIssuesIEPSmallGroupsLessonPlansMathematicsLanguageAppropriateSocialSkillsSuperviseLifeSkillsClassroomActivitiesPositiveLearningEnvironmentDownSyndromeKindergartenLearningDisabilitiesEducationPlanBehaviorModificationBehaviorManagement

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  1. Classroom Teacher
  2. Special Education Teachers
  3. Special Needs Children
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Discussed assigned teaching area with classroom teacher to coordinate instructional efforts.
  • Collaborated with special education teachers to promote classroom consistency and provide comprehensive engagement to students.
  • Schedule and conduct home calls for various families all of whom have special needs children.
  • Work with the Guidance Counselor on a daily basis to communicate any behavioral issues with the students in the classroom.
  • Prepare documentation for each student according to individual needs.Provide behavior intervention plans by following the students IEP's or BIP.

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Top Special Education Aide Employers

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Special Education Aide Videos

Special Education Aide

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

A Day in the Life of a Kindergarten Teacher