To become a paraeducator you must have a high school diploma. Some positions may even require you to have completed college level coursework in subject areas related to education or child development. Prior experience working or volunteering with young people may also be necessary before you can provide teaching assistance in a classroom setting. You may apply to become a paraeducator within a school district if you meet all of the requirements for a current job opening with that district.
Paraeducators provide classroom assistance to teaching staff at various grade levels within primary and secondary schools. Also referred to as a teacher’s assistant, an individual hoping to become a paraeducator must be able to pass a criminal background check as well as a rigorous interview process. As a teaching assistant providing classroom support, it is important that pareducators have patience, good communication skills and the ability to work well with students from various cultural backgrounds and lifestyles.
In order to become a paraeducator you also must be able to work well with one or more teachers in the classroom. As an assistant, a paraeducator must be able to follow instructions given by the primary teacher, as well as work well with other assistants and support staff assigned to a classroom. In addition to academic support, a paraeducator must also assist the main teacher in assuring that students adhere to all behavioral standards.
Check with your local school district to determine if there is a need for teaching assistants in your area. The school district will tell you specific requirements necessary to become a paraeducator for any current positions. If you would like to become a teacher’s assistant for special education students, you may also inquire about the requirements for these positions. If you’d like to become a paraeducator at a private school, contact that school directly and inquire about current job openings and their requirements. Also, check your local classified advertisement section of your newspaper for advertisements featuring current paraeducator job listings.
In addition to educational and social requirements, you must be aware of certain legal and health-related responsibilities if you intend to become a paraeducator. For instance, an awareness of your local laws with regard to disciplining children, reporting suspected cases of child abuse and understanding the rights of children with disabilities is important. As well, you may also be required to know emergency first aid and other specific health care procedures before you can become a paraeducator.