An education paraprofessional works with a team to support the instruction of students. They can include a variety of positions, such as teacher aides, special education assistants, and early childhood assistants. They commonly work in several settings, including day care centers, preschools, elementary schools, and education centers.
Education paraprofessionals are usually not licensed to teach, but provide support in the teaching environment. They work with teachers, therapists, school administration, and children. They may operate in a one-on-one capacity, such as with a child who has special needs, or support an entire classroom of students. They may provide supervision, support, and behavior modeling. They may also be asked to assist the classroom teacher with paperwork, data keeping, and daily preparation. They regularly consult with classroom teachers, aides, and other paraprofessionals. They may also be asked to attend meetings with regard to students’ activities and behaviors.
Education paraprofessionals usually work a traditional 40-hour work week. Those working in a school environment do not have to work during school holidays and breaks. In centers and daycares, they work during school breaks.
Qualifications for an education paraprofessional include a high school diploma, patience, and an understanding of child development. Some employers require at least one year of experience working with children in some capacity. They may also require some college credit, preferably in child development, education, or related fields. Education paraprofessionals also must be flexible to accommodate a constantly changing environment.