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Paraprofessional Educator
Associate Applied Science

Curriculum code 1470

Course Requirements

The Paraprofessional Educator Program at Moraine Valley Community College can prepare you for a career as a paraprofessional educator (teacher's aide) in regular and special education classes in elementary as well as secondary schools and in social service agencies.

Moraine Valley's program provides you with a strong foundation for a career in education through classroom work and observation in the field. This program also offers an internship as an option that allows you to gain valuable on-the-job experience to apply what you have learned in your courses. Clinical sites are in the southwest suburban area, and the hours are flexible based on workable schedules between your busy life and the needs of the clinical sites.

Graduates working with the general student population will be able to:

  • interact with students to reinforce material initially introduced by a teacher

  • recognize the confidential nature of pupil-related material

  • utilize energy and enthusiasm to positively reinforce pupil learning skills

  • assist in maintenance of classroom management

  • report learning or other difficulties encountered by pupils to the teacher

  • assist with reading, storytelling, and organizing literature and reading programs

  • prepare instructional materials and bulletin boards

  • operate equipment for instructional purposes in the classroom

  • assist with the supervision of pupils during lunch periods, assemblies, play periods, and field trips

  • perform selected clerical duties

Graduates working with special student populations will be able to:

  • monitor and shape the exceptional individual's behavior toward safe and appropriate living habits

  • provide and adapt developmental material to meet an exceptional individual's needs

  • assist in physically caring for children and implementing training programs

  • perform clerical duties related to program efficiency and progress

  • modify and implement a basic behavior management program to classroom or institutional standards

Graduates working in a learning resources center will be able to:

  • prepare and produce instructional materials supervise acquisition and the return of learning resources by students and staff

  • operate and care for instructional media and technology

  • supervise an LRC environment

  • assist the teaching and counseling staff with learning resources

For Students with Paraprofessional Educator Certificates—Students who have completed the certificate program may capstone their certificate with an Associate in Applied Science degree for the Paraprofessional Educator.

For Transfer Students—Some students choose to continue their education after earning the A.A.S degree, often while working in the field as a paraprofessional educator, and then transfer to a bachelor's degree granting teacher education program at a four-year college or university. Individuals completing advanced education receive higher salaries and better jobs. If you plan to earn a bachelor's degree in education, make an appointment with an academic advisor to choose courses that are accepted at your intended four-year college or university.

Nature of Work—Duties of paraprofessional educators vary widely. Common tasks include assisting in instruction under the supervision of teaching staff, grading exams, preparing learning materials, keeping records, and using educational technology.

Related Job Titles—Educational paraprofessional, teacher assistant, teacher aide, instructional assistant, special education aide, inclusion aide

Employment Outlook—Employment of teacher assistants is expected to grow somewhat faster than the average for all occupations by 10% between 2008 and 2018. Although school enrollments are projected to increase only slowly over the next decade, the student population for which teacher assistants are most needed-special education students and students for whom English is not their first language-is expected to increase more rapidly than the general school-age population. Legislation that requires students with disabilities and non-native English speakers to receive an education equal to that of other students will generate jobs for teacher assistants to accommodate these students’ special needs. Children with special needs require much personal attention, and special education teachers, as well as general education teachers with special education students, rely heavily on teacher assistants.

Median annual earnings of teacher assistants in 2010 were $23,220. The middle 50 percent earned between $17,610 and $28,180. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,510, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $36,130. Resource:
U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011.

Teacher assistants who work part-time ordinarily do not receive benefits. Full-time workers usually receive health coverage and other benefits. In 2008, about 37% of teacher assistants belonged to unions-mainly the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association-which bargain with school systems over wages, hours, and the terms and conditions of employment.

The median salary in Chicago for paraprofessional educators is $21,504. Salaries range between $19,925 to $28,232.
Source: Salary.com

For job and internship listings and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center in the Student Services Center, S202, (708) 974-5737, morainevalley.edu/jrc.

Accreditation—Upon completion of the 31-credit-hour certificate program, you will receive the Illinois Paraprofessional Certificate, in addition to a certificate from Moraine Valley. You are then qualified to be a paraprofessional educator. The certificate program will not qualify the individual as “highly qualified” under the federal mandates of “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) for Title I schools. Students who wish to qualify under NCLB should complete the A.A.S. Degree for the Paraprofessional Educator and/or take and pass one of the national qualifying examinations: ETS Parapro or the ACT WorkKeys with observational component. See www.isbe.net for most current requirements.

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