Everything You Need to Know About Being a Paraprofessional
Paraprofessionals play a vital role in the education setting. Often called instructional aides or teacher assistants, a paraprofessional provides key support to aid in student learning and help classrooms to be more inclusive. If you’re interested in becoming a paraprofessional here is a general overview of everything you’ll need to know.
What is a Paraprofessional?
Paraprofessionals are credentialed support members of a school staff that work alongside licensed classroom teachers and other school professionals. They may work in or outside the classroom, depending upon the support needed for students. People in this profession routinely perform teaching-related tasks in conjunction with the classroom lead, but also may work independently with students to support their education. Paraprofessionals often provide a variety of tasks to help facilitate learning.
What Does a Paraprofessional Do?
Paraprofessionals are often found serving as public classroom assistants, but also frequently work in childcare facilities and private schools. As a paraprofessional your primary role will be to provide support, both in and out of the classroom, to students requiring instructional, behavioral, and/or physical assistance. Other day-to-day tasks associated with a paraprofessional position include:
- Reinforcing learning for students that need extra help.
- Helping to teach or reinforce adaptive skills.
- Enforcing classroom rules and applying disciplinary action when necessary.
- Assisting teachers in tracking attendance.
- Grading quizzes, tests, in-class work, and homework.
- Working one-on-one with students.
- Leading smaller groups of students.
- Assisting students who need medical support.
- Performing clerical duties as needed.
- Participating in the planning process for students with IEP or 504 plans (often this includes attending team meetings or annual reviews).
Additionally, as a paraprofessional, you may be required to rotate in areas of learning and provide help in the general classroom setting where required.
What Training is Needed?
To become a paraprofessional, you must possess a high school diploma (or equivalent), along with two years of college or technical training. Alternatively, you can earn an associate degree or a paraprofessional
diploma. Teacher certification is not required, but in most states you must be credentialed or be able to pass a job-related assessment to become a paraprofessional.
In training, you’ll learn how to assist in the classroom, supervise students, aid with classroom management, and how to prepare materials and equipment needed for instruction. You’ll also master the skills to support student learning one-on-one and with small groups. Once you acquire these skills, you’ll be well-prepared to enter this rewarding field.
What Type of Personality Should Paraprofessionals Have?
To succeed as a paraprofessional, important personality traits include patience, empathy, and understanding. Difficult situations may arise at any time and you must be able to calmly adapt as the circumstances merit. The ability to be flexible is essential as a paraprofessional. While routines are in place, when working with children who have special needs, you must always expect the unexpected. A creative mind is also a good trait to have in this job as sometimes traditional support approaches will need to be quickly adapted when a situation warrants it.
Who is the Right Person for Paraprofessional Work?
The right person for this profession is someone who has a genuine love of working with children and possesses a strong desire to see them succeed. The ideal paraprofessional is a strong communicator,
highly committed to their job responsibilities, and is willing to go the extra mile to help children learn. They are always ready to assist children and recognize the right times to encourage a child to be autonomous to help them grow. The ability to exercise sound judgment in this and other situational areas is a key skill to possess.
As a paraprofessional, strong organizational skills help to ensure each child receives the support they need. The support provided is usually structured, yet it varies from day to day. Some days will undoubtedly be challenging, but if you are able to maintain a positive attitude and go with the flow, you’ll be highly successful in this type of job.
Learn More About Paraprofessional Training
For more information regarding Centura College’s paraprofessional training, please contact us today at (757) 340-2121 or visit 2697 Dean Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23452.
About Centura College
Centura College has been part of an organization dedicated to helping men and women develop careers since 1969. By training working adults in healthcare, technology, business, and trades, they connect communities with some of the fastest growing career fields in today’s marketplace. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). To learn more, visit www.CenturaCollege.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/centura.edu.