Paraprofessional Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Paraprofessional, or Educational Assistant, works in the classroom to help elementary and high school students with cognitive, behavioural, or physical disabilities succeed academically. Paraprofessionals can be found in many other industries, but the term is often associated with education. Their primary duties include helping children integrate into the classroom, providing additional resource materials to aid learning, and reporting each student’s progress to the teacher.

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Paraprofessional duties and responsibilities

A Paraprofessional works closely with students to help them achieve their maximum potential. Some common duties and responsibilities expected of Paraprofessionals include:

  • Develop individualized education programs for each student
  • Work with the teacher to develop learning strategies for success
  • Provide students with additional resources to help them understand core concepts and improve their grades
  • Use techniques like sign language, braille, or remedial programs to help students learn the material
  • Help teachers develop and implement learning materials for their classes
  • Monitor each student’s progress and report back to the teacher
  • Help students with developing social skills
  • Support teachers by supervising students during recess, on field trips, and for other events
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What does a Paraprofessional do?

A Paraprofessional helps students keep up in a regular classroom despite academic difficulties. This can sometimes include extra resources, special education, and other remedial programs. Paraprofessionals work under the supervision of the teacher to ensure a student with a disability or academic challenge can stay up-to-date with their studies while the teacher continues to teach the rest of the class. 

Paraprofessionals also offer their students extra training and support outside of school hours through after-school tutoring programs. They work together with the teacher to develop individualized strategies so each student can succeed regardless of their particular academic struggles.

Paraprofessional skills and qualifications

A Paraprofessional is an integral part of the classroom for students with learning difficulties or behavioural problems. Some of their skills and qualifications include:

  • Extremely patient and able to explain concepts clearly
  • Adaptable to various learning styles, environments, and personalities
  • Exceptional communication skills and ability to adjust their method to each individual student
  • Proficiency with different technologies to support student learning
  • Ability to assess each student’s individual needs
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Creativity when designing personalized tutoring plans
  • Time management skills and the ability to multitask, and manage multiple students’ unique education needs at once

Paraprofessional experience requirements

A successful Paraprofessional candidate has experience working directly with students who have learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or behavioural challenges. This experience may be through employment or an internship during their academic training.

Paraprofessional education and training requirements

A successful Paraprofessional candidate has completed a Bachelor of Education (B. Ed.) and a Teaching Assistant or Educational Assistance college program. Paraprofessionals helping children with special needs also require additional training programs relevant to their specialization. Paraprofessionals with formal training and certification as an Early Childhood Educator or elementary or high school Teacher are well qualified.

Paraprofessional salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, average Paraprofessional pay in Canada is $20.83 per hour. Exact rates vary by region or location, demand, institution type, and the candidate’s level of experience among other factors.

Job description samples for similar positions

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Paraprofessional job description FAQs

What is the difference between a Paraprofessional and a Teacher Assistant?

A Paraprofessional may help the teacher with certain tasks, but their primary focus is to help students learn in a manner that works for them. They develop learning strategies to contribute to student success. A Teaching Assistant rarely works directly with students. Instead, they assist the teacher in managing their workload by correcting assignments, making photocopies, researching, and preparing class materials.

What qualities make for a good Paraprofessional?

A Paraprofessional is responsible for helping a child with a learning difficulty succeed. Look for an energetic, polite, happy, inspiring, confident, patient, calm, and kind candidate. They must be able to engage students and get them excited about learning. This can be a bigger challenge for some students over others, so patience is a key characteristic that a successful candidate should possess.

Who does a Paraprofessional report to?

A Paraprofessional works under the classroom teacher’s supervision and must report on the students’ progress to the teacher of the class. They must also report to the children’s parents and the school administration. Anyone involved in the child’s academic development relies on regular updates from the class’s Paraprofessional.

What makes a good Paraprofessional job description?

Include an overview of the role’s daily tasks and some of the most common learning challenges the students face. If candidates require specific skills, like fluency in sign language, braille or another communication tool, highlight that to draw qualified candidates. A good job description also includes a competitive salary and any other benefits that come with the position, like RRSP-matching programs or paid summer leave.

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