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Become A Special Education Associate

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Working As A Special Education Associate

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $37,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Special Education Associate 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 Associate

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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Average Length of Employment
Para Educator 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Special Education Associate
Associate 10.2%
Teacher 9.9%
Cashier 9.2%
Internship 7.8%
Secretary 3.1%
Volunteer 2.7%
Supervisor 2.4%
Counselor 2.4%
Top Careers After Special Education Associate
Associate 9.5%
Teacher 8.5%
Cashier 5.3%
Volunteer 4.2%
Internship 4.2%
Server 3.2%
Assistant 3.2%

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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Special Education Associate?

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Top Skills for A Special Education Associate

  1. Special Needs
  2. Behavioral Issues
  3. IEP
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide one-on-one instruction to mainstreaming special needs students.
  • Work with High School special needs students, including students with behavioral issues.
  • Developed modifications for classroom assignments and assessments according to Individual Education Program (IEP)s.
  • Worked with individuals or small groups to develop motor skills and conduct instructional exercises assigned by teacher.
  • Generated various and daily reports and was responsible for inventory shrinkage customer service.

Special Education Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

62.4%

Male

27.1%

Unknown

10.5%
Ethnicity

White

69.6%

Hispanic or Latino

13.2%

Asian

7.2%

Black or African American

6.9%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

76.9%

Russian

7.7%

Hindi

7.7%

French

7.7%
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Special Education Associate Education

Schools

University of Iowa

12.8%

Des Moines Area Community College

11.5%

Iowa State University

8.3%

New Castle School of Trades

7.7%

University of Northern Iowa

7.7%

Upper Iowa University

5.1%

University of Phoenix

5.1%

Kirkwood Community College

4.5%

Indian Hills Community College

4.5%

Buena Vista University

3.8%

Kaplan University

3.8%

Drake University

3.8%

National Louis University

3.2%

Grand View University

3.2%

Ashford University

3.2%

Simpson College

2.6%

Capella University

2.6%

San Jose State University

2.6%

William Penn University

1.9%

Texas State University

1.9%
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Majors

Business

15.1%

Elementary Education

11.7%

Psychology

9.4%

Education

9.1%

Liberal Arts

5.7%

Human Services

5.3%

Law

4.5%

Social Work

4.2%

Special Education

4.2%

Early Childhood Education

3.8%

Health Care Administration

3.8%

English

3.4%

Criminal Justice

3.4%

School Counseling

2.6%

Human Resources Management

2.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.3%

Biology

2.3%

Counseling Psychology

2.3%

Kinesiology

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.4%

Masters

23.1%

Other

19.9%

Associate

11.0%

Doctorate

4.3%

Certificate

3.4%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.2%
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