How to Become a Certified Teacher's Assistant in Tennessee

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A certified teacher’s assistant is known by similar titles such as paraprofessional and teacher’s aide. The job of a teaching assistant involves working directly in the classroom under the supervision of a certified teacher providing support for the student’s academic and non-academic needs. In the state of Tennessee certification as a highly qualified paraprofessional can be obtained by passing the Praxis ParaPro Assessment test administered by the Educational Testing Service. This assessment measures reading, math and writing skills and the likelihood of successfully teaching students.

Contact the Educational Testing Service or ETS at and “click” the link “for test takers.” Review the list of scheduled test dates and testing centers near you. Tennessee has 17 test centers available. Select the link “registration form” to download. Fill the form out in its entirety indicating when and where you want to take your test and mail to ETS with a $45.00 registration fee (as of June 2010). You will receive an admission ticket by mail that you will need on test day to confirm your reservation at the testing center.

Order test preparation materials by “clicking” the link “Prepare for the test.” You will have the choice of downloading a free overview of the assessment as well as taking online practice tests. You can also choose to purchase in-depth study guides and practice tests by “clicking” the link “ETS Store.” There is a wide variety of materials ranging in price from $12 to $100 as of June 2010.

Review the test day procedures by selecting the link “test center procedures” to insure you follow all guidelines accurately. Bring photo identification, your admission ticket, four number 2 pencils, eraser and a black pen with you on test day.

Apply for employment as a certified teacher assistant in the school district of your choice if you have not already done so. Attach an official copy of your passing assessment scores with your application. In Tennessee, the passing score is 456.


You may be exempt from taking the parapro assessment if you have an associate degree or have taken 48 credit hours of college courses within any academic area of study.

Consider substitute teaching prior to taking the exam to make sure you are suited to a school environment.

The assessment may be taken via the internet if the school system in which you are applying participates in the online testing program.


On test day, you are not allowed to bring anything into the room other than your identification, pens and pencils. You will also be asked to empty your pockets.