If you’ve always dreamed of working with children in a classroom environment helping them construct science projects, teaching them to read, and grading papers, then getting a paraprofessional associate degree might be for you.
Many people aren’t sure what a paraprofessional is (mostly because the name gives you no clues, right?). A paraprofessional is basically a teacher’s assistant. They help the teacher in the classroom as well as behind the scenes constructing lesson plans, planning projects, and grading papers.
Now, before the No Child Left Behind Act, becoming a paraprofessional was fairly easy. These days, however, qualifications are much more stringent which is why more and more people are going to school to get their paraprofessional associate degree. If you do not have at least a paraprofessional associate degree, you probably will not find a job in this field.
As a paraprofessional you’ll be working under a licensed teacher helping him or her manage the classroom. You might also be called upon to work one-on-one with a special-needs student, or one who’s learning is exceptional to the rest of the class. Oftentimes a teacher can’t devote the time these students need because they’re so busy with a group, but as a paraprofessional you’d have the opportunity to teach them on an individual basis.
With a paraprofessional associate degree, you’ll take classes like:
- Family and Community
- Observation and Evaluation
- Classroom Management
- Childhood Literacy
- Instructional Methods
- Child Development
- Health and Safety
- Educational Psychology
- And much more!
This degree is also perfect because it gives you a thorough background in education. If you decide later on you’d like to return to school to get your Bachelor’s Degree in Education, you’re already half way there. This can give you a great way to “test the waters”, so to speak, and find out if teaching is for you.
There’s no doubt that this field can be incredibly rewarding if you like kids and want to make a difference in their education. Because you have the opportunity to work one on one with many of your students you can impact them in a very positive way, or help them overcome hurdles that they might not make if they didn’t have the specialized attention you’re giving them. Plus, how can you beat the hours? You’re off by 3:00 and have summers and all major holidays off. There aren’t many careers that can boast that!