If you have decided to become a paraprofessional educator, you have chosen to take on a career role that is very exciting and rewarding. In order to become this type of educator you will have to meet certain post-secondary educational requirements, while at the same time possess certain skills and traits. Being computer literate is a must, and reading and writing skills must be perfected. Within the United States, the No Child Left Behind Act that was passed after the turn of the 21st century expanded the requirements that must be met in order for a person to become a paraprofessional educator, which includes becoming certified. Even though the qualifications to become this type of educator may seem rigorous, the career opportunities you will have are very advantageous.
The educational requirements that you must meet in order to become a paraprofessional educator vary depending on the location in which you want to work. Many third world countries have no educational requirements, but most civilized and established countries will require you to complete some type of associate’s program within an accredited college. Working as a paraprofessional is one of the few teaching career fields to take part in without having to obtain a bachelor’s degree, but always contact your local school district to see the positions for which you may qualify.
In order to become a paraprofessional educator, you will need to possess many of the same skills and traits that teachers have. You must be able to decipher between children’s and young adult’s learning styles, while at the same time understanding that your role is to be an assistant, not an actual teacher. Your communication skills should be first-rate, and this applies to both oral and written communication methods. Even though your math skills do not have to be perfected, you will find that your basic math skills must be sharpened, as this will be needed in order to become a “highly qualified” paraprofessional educator.
Remember to freshen up on your computer literacy as well, which can be done at a variety of community colleges or local programs. Many times, especially within the United States, passing a computer competency exam is a must when wanting to become a paraprofessional educator. Be sure that your ability to maneuver around computer programs and type in word processing programs is proficient.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 explicitly states the requirements that you must meet in order to become a paraprofessional educator within the United States; however, the requirements do vary by state. Most states will require you to complete at least 150 hours of instruction, which qualifies you to become certified. Even though this may seem like a lot of course work to complete to become a "teacher's aid," it is meant to ensure that these types of educators are competent and provide the best type of instruction to the students with whom they work.
After you become a paraprofessional educator, you will quickly discover that you have many career paths of which to take advantage. Many work as regular classroom teacher aides, while others choose to work as special education instructional assistant or aide. There are even some paraprofessional educators who choose to work within libraries as technical assistants.