The title “Paraprofessional” in our educational system can become a bit confusing when you consider the amount of jobs that fall under that umbrella. Depending on the school, Paraprofessional may refer to a Teaching Assistant, Teacher’s Aide, Personal Care Assistant, etc.
While Paraprofessional roles do not typically require a bachelor’s degree, some school districts may require a certain amount of college, up to and including an associate’s degree. However, some districts may only require Paraprofessionals to complete a credentialing or competency assessment in lieu of higher education. While not applicable in all situations, some districts will pay Paraprofessionals more based on their level of education.
Most Paraprofessionals must also complete continuing education through their district, which is a great opportunity to upskill and advance in the job.
If you would prefer to begin your career as a substitute Paraprofessional, you will most likely not be subject to the same requirements as a full-time employee. In case you are hesitant about jumping into education full-time, the substitute route is a great way to “dip your toe in” to figure out if the field is right for you.
A Paraprofessional position, specifically a Teaching Assistant position, could be a stepping stone to obtaining teacher certification and going on to manage your own classroom. Many school districts will financially support that educational pathway. Teaching Assistant experience also allows a person to determine what age group will be best for them to teach.
Paraprofessionals have a variety of responsibilities in a school ranging from classroom management and lesson planning to tutoring and helping students with disabilities achieve success through one-on-one guidance. If you are considering this career pathway, it’s important to like working with children. You must also be a great communicator and have the ability to take direction.