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Also known as teacher aides and teacher assistants, paraprofessionals provide support to licensed teachers by handling tasks such as grading, lesson materials preparation and student supervision. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 41,420 paraprofessionals work in Georgia’s school systems. As with other states, paraprofessionals typically earn low salaries in Georgia.
Average Georgia Salary
Most paraprofessionals only work during the regular school year, receiving time off during the summer months when schools aren’t in session. During summers, teacher aides often don’t receive salaries, so earnings estimates represent nine-month contractual employment. In Georgia, paraprofessionals earn a median annual salary of $17,900 as of May 2009, according to the BLS. Half of all teacher aides in the state earn between $15,490 and $22,100. The BLS doesn’t release information about paraprofessionals’ average hourly wage.
Salaries Around Georgia
Although earnings fluctuate slightly between metropolitan areas, paraprofessionals uniformly earn low salaries in Georgia. Those who work in Atlanta receive the highest median annual salary, $19,873, as of February 2011, according to Salary.com. Teacher assistants in other large cities also earn higher than the statewide median salary for their position, with paraprofessionals in Albany and Augusta reporting median annual salaries of $18,017 and $18,460, respectively. Half of all paraprofessionals in those three cities earn between $17,325 and $23,128 each year.
Comparison to National Average Salary
Because paraprofessionals’ salaries are so low, there isn’t much room for variance in their wages. Across the country, paraprofessionals earn a median annual salary of $19,853 as of February 2011, according to Salary.com. The BLS reports slightly higher median incomes for the position, $22,820. Many teacher assistants hold only a high school degree, so salaries for the position tend to be entry-level wages, save for those trained to work with special needs students or other specialized student populations.
Georgia/ESEA Paraprofessional Initiative
The No Child Left Behind Act requires that paraprofessionals who serve in Title I institutions--schools that receive additional federal support because of the high number of impoverished students they serve--must be deemed highly qualified. Georgia paraprofessionals may receive a highly qualified certification if they’re employed in a Georgia school system, hold an associate’s degree or 60 college credits and pass a criminal background check. Certificates are valid for five years, and paraprofessionals must earn an additional six college credits to recertify each time the certification expires.
Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.