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Become A Special Education Instructional Assistant

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Working As A Special Education Instructional Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $30,107

    Average Salary

What Does A Special Education Instructional Assistant 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 Instructional Assistant

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 Instructional Assistant Videos

A Day in the Life - Special Education Teacher

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

A Day in the Life of a Kindergarten Teacher

Special Education Instructional Assistant Jobs

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Special Education Instructional Assistant Career Paths

Special Education Instructional Assistant
Long Term Substitute Teacher Special Education Teacher
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Tutor Kindergarten Teacher School Director
Children's Ministries Director
6 Yearsyrs
Facilitator Adjunct Instructor Chairperson
Dean
5 Yearsyrs
Facilitator Educator Instructor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Education Paraprofessional Program Coordinator Adjunct Professor
Director Of Instruction
7 Yearsyrs
Coach Long Term Substitute Teacher Preschool Teacher
Director Of Preschool
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Specialist Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Long Term Substitute Teacher Substitute Teacher Special Education Teacher
Director Of Special Education
11 Yearsyrs
Behavioral Therapist Adjunct Professor Director Of Special Education
Director Of Special Services
9 Yearsyrs
ABA Therapist Instructor Lead Teacher
Early Childhood Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Recruiter Instructor
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Behavioral Therapist Program Supervisor Health Educator
Education Program Manager
7 Yearsyrs
ABA Therapist Behavioral Specialist Education Consultant
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Education Paraprofessional Instructor Lead Teacher
Lead Pre-K Teacher
5 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Coach Delivery Driver Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Adjunct Instructor Instructor
Vocational Training Instructor
6 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Special Educator 3.2 years
Para Educator 2.9 years
Para Professional 2.6 years
Instructional Aide 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Special Education Instructional Assistant
Internship 7.5%
Teacher 6.4%
Cashier 4.9%
Volunteer 4.0%
Tutor 3.0%
Teller 2.5%
Supervisor 2.2%
Top Careers After Special Education Instructional Assistant
Teacher 9.8%
Internship 5.4%
Tutor 4.9%
Volunteer 3.9%
Coach 2.3%

Do you work as a Special Education Instructional Assistant?

Special Education Instructional Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

80.6%

Male

18.1%

Unknown

1.3%
Ethnicity

White

57.3%

Hispanic or Latino

22.3%

Black or African American

10.2%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.2%

French

7.7%

Arabic

3.8%

Italian

3.8%

Braille

1.9%

Greek

1.9%

Tagalog

1.9%

Hmong

1.9%

Danish

1.0%

Cornish

1.0%

Hawaiian

1.0%

Portuguese

1.0%

Ilocano

1.0%

Carrier

1.0%

Russian

1.0%

Polish

1.0%
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Special Education Instructional Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

11.7%

Liberty University

10.4%

Grand Canyon University

7.2%

National University

5.4%

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

5.0%

Arizona State University

5.0%

George Mason University

5.0%

California State University - Los Angeles

5.0%

Ball State University

5.0%

California State University - Fullerton

4.5%

San Francisco State University

4.1%

University of Maryland - University College

4.1%

California State University - Dominguez Hills

4.1%

California State University - San Bernardino

4.1%

Radford University

3.6%

Indiana Wesleyan University

3.6%

University of California - Irvine

3.2%

Western Governors University

3.2%

Brandman University

3.2%

Sacred Heart University

3.2%
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Majors

Psychology

13.7%

Special Education

12.1%

Elementary Education

9.8%

Education

7.7%

Business

7.5%

Liberal Arts

5.7%

Social Work

5.0%

Criminal Justice

4.0%

Human Development

3.8%

Early Childhood Education

3.7%

Sociology

3.7%

Counseling Psychology

3.6%

Human Services

3.3%

School Counseling

2.7%

Nursing

2.6%

English

2.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.4%

Communication

2.1%

Health Care Administration

2.1%

General Studies

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.9%

Masters

25.1%

Other

18.2%

Associate

8.9%

Certificate

5.3%

Doctorate

0.7%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.3%
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Special Education Instructional Assistant Videos

A Day in the Life - Special Education Teacher

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

A Day in the Life of a Kindergarten Teacher

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Top Skills for A Special Education Instructional Assistant

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Behavioral Issues
  3. Special Education Teachers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Follow district guidelines in maintaining classroom management, discipline and confidentiality.
  • Worked with students who were medically fragile to severe behavioral issues as well as job coaching
  • Communicated between special education teachers and classroom teachers to help student obtain best learning opportunities.
  • Assisted with individual and small group instruction for children ages 5 to 9 years old.
  • Work one on one with special needs students in their day to day activities to achieve their IEP goals.

How Would You Rate Working As a Special Education Instructional Assistant?

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Top Special Education Instructional Assistant Employers

Jobs From Top Special Education Instructional Assistant Employers

Special Education Instructional Assistant Videos

A Day in the Life - Special Education Teacher

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

A Day in the Life of a Kindergarten Teacher

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