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Job Description of a Paraprofessional

Paraprofessionals—also known as teacher’s aides, educational assistants, instructional assistants or para-educators—work in schools under the guidance of certified teachers. In January 2002, then-President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) into law. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the NCLB mandated that paraprofessionals possess an associate degree or higher, pass an academic competencies test or complete two years of college coursework.

Working with Students

Paraprofessionals work with students on supplemental instruction, whereas the teacher’s role is to keep the class learning at grade level. Paraprofessionals help students, individually or in groups, with assignments by utilizing specific teaching strategies and an acquired knowledge of learning styles. Paraprofessionals also may administer tests to students, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Aiding the Teacher

The certified teacher and the paraprofessional work together to ensure that instructional efforts are coordinated. The paraprofessional allows the teacher more time to plan lessons and perform direct teaching. In the higher grades, a paraeducator may possess specific subject knowledge, the BLS says, to assist students with more challenging work. In addition, paraprofessionals must understand how to apply classroom management techniques. And in the classroom teacher’s absence, the paraprofessional can serve as the chief source of information for the substitute teacher.

Parent Conferences

Paraprofessionals collaborate with the classroom teacher and parents in tracking student progress, says Aides are more likely to work with students on a one-on-one basis, and thus can serve as an extra set of eyes for the teacher, sharing information that might be of importance during a parent-teacher conference. Teachers may also ask the paraprofessional to contact a parent for non-academic issues, such as if a student becomes ill or forgets to bring a lunch to school.

Special Education

According to the BLS website, paraprofessionals play a crucial role in special education classrooms. Teachers rely on paraprofessionals to work closely with students to ensure each Individualized Education Program (IEP) is met. Paraprofessionals’ responsibilities range from assisting disabled students with personal care to working with non-English speaking learners. The BLS also reports that the job outlook for paraprofessionals is best among those with special education or foreign language experience.

Clerical Support

Teacher’s aides ensure that the necessary class materials are prepared before students enter the classroom. They make copies of instructional paperwork and set tables for the day’s instruction. At the end of the day, paraprofessionals gather instructional material from desks and organize them. Some paraprofessionals grade exams, check homework and maintain student files, according to the BLS. Teacher’s aides may also check staff mailboxes for internal correspondence as it relates to student or staff issues.

Teacher Assistants salary

  • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $44,290 ($21.29/hour)
  • Median Annual Salary: $28,900 ($13.89/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $19,610 ($9.43/hour)

Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants Employment and Labor Information 2023

Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants Employment Brief:

Assist a preschool, elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher with instructional duties. Serve in a position for which a teacher has primary responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services.

Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants Job Description

Here is a Job Description an employer might post for potential Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants.

Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants Responsibilities and Duties:

Typical Daily Tasks of Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants:

Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants Skills and Requirements:

  • Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Repairing Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Installation Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • NavigationUsing scroll bars, a mouse, and dialog boxes to work within the computer's operating system. Being able to access and switch between applications and files of interest.
  • Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Operations Analysis Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • PresentationsUsing a computer application to create, manipulate, edit, and show virtual slide presentations.

Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants Salary and Wages:

Average Salary: 58,450. Education: typical education requirements include High school diploma or equivalent.

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Data from May 2023 courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program.


Tonya Whitaker has worked as a professional journalist and copy editor since 1998. She has written columns and features for "The Huntsville Item" and "North Dallas Gazette." Whitaker earned a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and is pursuing a Master of Arts in English from Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas.