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How to Become a Paraprofessional in Colorado

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Colorado instructional paraprofessionals provide instructional support for certified teachers. They tutor students, assist with classroom management, provide instructional assistance in computer labs, conduct parental involvement activities and when capable, act as translators. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, paraprofessionals cannot present new material or direct instruction. According to the Colorado Department of Education, a certified teacher must always supervise instructional paraprofessionals.

With a High School Diploma

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Apply for a job opening. Although Colorado schools advertise job openings on Teach in Colorado.org and local newspapers, you may present your resumé to the superintendent of your local school at any time. Applications are kept on file for any future openings. All applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.

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Pass a paraprofessional assessment exam. Before taking the exam, you will be conditionally hired, and the school will arrange for you to take the paraprofessional assessment exam. The Colorado Department of Education has not adopted a specific assessment exam; however, local schools may choose any assessment tool that meets guidelines set by the No Child Left Behind Act. Guidelines require this assessment to evaluate potential instructional paraprofessionals in reading, writing and mathematics skills. Successful applicants must demonstrate skills on the same level as completion of two years of college level instruction.

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Start your new career as an instructional paraprofessional. Under the supervision of a certified teacher, you will assist in the instruction of children in a variety of situations.

With Some College, an Associate's Degree or Higher

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Apply for a job opening. You may take your resumé to the superintendent of schools to keep on file if no openings have been posted. Visit Teach in Colorado.org for a listing of job openings or check your local newspaper.

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Show your diploma or transcript when called for an interview. You will need to show proof of your education. If you do not have a degree, you must have at least 48 credit hours of college level instruction, and provide an official transcript. The Colorado Department of Education requires your degree or instruction come from an accredited institution. There are no restrictions on your field of study.

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Begin working as an instructional paraprofessional. With college experience, you are not required to pass an assessment exam. You can begin aiding certified teachers as soon as you are hired.

Tip

Join the National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals. This organization offers information and training resources for instructional paraprofessionals in all 50 states.

Earn a degree in Early Childhood Development or Early Childhood Education. These degrees prepare you for the responsibilities of the instructional paraprofessional.

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Warning

Even with college credits or a degree, assessment testing is at the discretion of the local school.

2016 Salary Information for Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants earned a median annual salary of $25,410 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, teacher assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $20,520, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $31,990, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,308,100 people were employed in the U.S. as teacher assistants.

About the Author

Sheila Holloway began writing seriously in the early 1990s. Since then, she has worked as a writer, most recently for eHow, and as a professional romance novelist until the close of her publishing company in 2008. Holloway holds a Bachelor of Science in education, an MAT and is completing a doctorate.

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