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Become A Special Population Paraprofessional

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Working As A Special Population Paraprofessional

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $31,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Special Population 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 A Special Population 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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Average Length of Employment
Instructional Aide 2.5 years
Teacher Associate 2.4 years
Classroom Aide 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Special Population Paraprofessional
Teacher 7.9%
Cashier 7.6%
Internship 5.5%
Assistant 4.1%
Volunteer 3.7%
Nanny 3.3%
Manager 2.8%
Top Careers After Special Population Paraprofessional
Teacher 9.7%
Cashier 4.8%
Internship 4.5%
Volunteer 4.1%
Nanny 4.1%
Manager 3.7%
Server 3.3%
Tutor 3.0%

Do you work as a Special Population Paraprofessional?

Average Yearly Salary
$31,000
Show Salaries
$26,000
Min 10%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$36,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Jefferson Parish Public Schools
Highest Paying City
Brentwood, NY
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.0 years
How much does a Special Population Paraprofessional make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Special Population Paraprofessional in the United States is $31,223 per year or $15 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $26,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $37,000.

Top Skills for A Special Population Paraprofessional

  1. Special Needs
  2. Behavioral Issues
  3. IEP
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted with and managed classroom of high behavior, high needs, special needs children, ages ranging from 5-13.
  • Assist Special Needs students aged 4 to 21 who have a variety of medical, mental and behavioral issues.
  • Conferred and planed with teachers related to IEP objectives and/or modifications, and provided documentation.
  • Tutor and assist children individually or in small groups to help master assignments and to reinforce learning concepts present by teachers.
  • Developed specialized lesson plans & activities for individual students.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Special Population Paraprofessionals

  1. Alaska
  2. Minnesota
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Connecticut
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Nevada
  7. Montana
  8. Delaware
  9. South Dakota
  10. California
  • (6 jobs)
  • (137 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)
  • (126 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (29 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (949 jobs)

Special Population Paraprofessional Demographics

Gender

Female

71.3%

Male

14.6%

Unknown

14.1%
Ethnicity

White

65.4%

Hispanic or Latino

14.8%

Black or African American

10.1%

Asian

5.3%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.0%

Portuguese

3.6%

Khmer

3.6%

German

3.6%

Dutch

3.6%

Mandarin

3.6%

Korean

3.6%

Arabic

3.6%
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Special Population Paraprofessional Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.1%

Ashford University

7.1%

Pima Community College

7.1%

Capella University

7.1%

Michigan State University

5.1%

Metropolitan State University of Denver

5.1%

Cambridge College

5.1%

Kaplan University

5.1%

Grand Canyon University

5.1%

Salem State University

4.0%

Southern Connecticut State University

4.0%

Brigham Young University

4.0%

Arizona State University

4.0%

University of Northern Iowa

4.0%

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

4.0%

Lindenwood University

4.0%

Colorado State University

4.0%

Rock Valley College

3.0%

Webster University

3.0%

College of Our Lady of the Elms

3.0%
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Majors

Business

10.6%

Psychology

9.3%

Education

8.6%

Elementary Education

8.1%

Early Childhood Education

6.6%

Special Education

5.8%

Liberal Arts

5.3%

Sociology

5.3%

Criminal Justice

5.1%

Nursing

4.8%

Social Work

4.5%

General Studies

3.8%

Human Services

3.5%

Communication

3.0%

Human Development

3.0%

Management

2.5%

English

2.5%

Counseling Psychology

2.5%

Medical Assisting Services

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.5%

Other

19.4%

Masters

17.4%

Associate

15.6%

Certificate

5.7%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.9%

Doctorate

0.5%
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