How to Become a Paraprofessional in Massachusetts
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A paraprofessional is an educator who assists teachers with classroom duties. Although it's easier to become a paraprofessional in Massachusetts than it is to become a teacher, there are still minimum educational requirements you must meet. Those requirements are in accordance with the federal No Child Left Behind law, which set standards for schools receiving federal assistance.
Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED, if you don't have one yet. You must be a high school graduate or have an equivalent diploma to become a Massachusetts paraprofessional. Several websites offer GED preparation tests for little or no charge.
Meet one of the educational requirements set by the state:
- Obtain an associate's degree in the study program of your choice
- Earn 48 credit hours at a higher learning institution, such as a community college or university.
- Pass a state-approved exam, either ParaPro or ACT WorkKeys. Massachusetts requires a minimum score of 464 (on a scale of 420 to 480) to pass the ParaPro. For ACT WorkKeys, you must be graded at a skill level of 5 on reading for information, 4 for applied mathematics and 3 for business writing (or 4 for writing, depending on the district requirements).
Contact the Massachusetts school district in which you are interested in working to see whether it has any openings for a paraprofessional. Visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education online to view available job postings. The Massachusetts Educators Career Center is another good place to check for openings. You must register online to search for jobs in the educator career center.
Send your resume and educational documentation to the human resources department of the district at which you are interested in working. You might also want to consider sending your resume directly to individual schools that interest you, along with a brief cover letter.
Take part in a screening interview with the human resources department of the district where you have submitted your resume. The screening interview will be the first of two or more interviews that you will need to attend. You may be called for a screening interview shortly after you submit your resume, so be prepared.
Participate in any subsequent interviews that you are invited to by a prospective employer. Second and third interviews are not uncommon, and there is a good chance that you will receive a job offer at one of these interviews, or shortly thereafter. Most school districts in Massachusetts hire from April through August, so try to get your resume in before April.
Paraprofessionals who function primarily as language translators are required only to have a high school diploma or GED.
Ginger Kelly has been an accomplished professional writer since 1997. She began her career writing for school newsletters and newspapers, then moved on to community newspapers. Kelly has written various articles on a variety of topics ranging from parenting to health care. She is a paralegal graduate of Blackstone College.