A paraprofessional in education works as a teacher’s assistant. They sometimes handle routine tasks so teachers have more time to spend with students. Some of those tasks might include attendance reports and grading of assignments. They also typically help teachers monitor student behavior in the classroom and cafeteria. In rare instances, a paraprofessional in education may work one-on-one with students, but this is done under strict supervision of the classroom teacher.
Most of the time, teaching assistants may have different duties, depending on the educational level of the school they are working within. For instance, paraprofessionals who work in elementary schools will usually have very different job requirements than those working in high schools. Elementary assistants typically spend more time monitoring safety and behavior, while assistants working in higher grade levels will often spend more time on individual instruction.
To become a paraprofessional in education, most people must possess a high school diploma and some training or course work in the field of education. Though a bachelor's degree is not usually a requirement to become a teacher’s assistant, many school districts may require that job candidates possess an associate's degree. Education requirement may vary greatly from one school district to another.
Job opportunities for a paraprofessional in education are not strictly limited to the public school system. They may also find employment in day care centers, youth centers, and private schools. Depending on their level of experience, education paraprofessionals may also find part-time work in tutoring and child care. Some churches employ education assistants to help organize and supervise their youth groups and school programs.
People who enjoy working with children may want to consider a career as a paraprofessional in education. The job may be especially suitable to those who have school-aged children, because the work hours are often compatible with the hours children spend in school. In many instances, these jobs are available on a part-time basis, which may also be attractive to parents with small children.
Becoming a paraprofessional in education may be a good steppingstone to earning a teaching certificate. Some colleges offer credit for life and work experience, and some of the experience earned as a teacher’s assistant would likely qualify for these awarded credits. People who work as an education paraprofessional with the goal of eventually becoming a teacher should probably check with prospective colleges to be sure they offer rewarded credit programs.