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Education Paraprofessional

The Associate of Technical Arts in Education Paraprofessional (EDUC) is a two-year career preparation program that provides a specified course of study to prepare students for employment with the public school districts as assistants to certified/licensed instructional staff. The Education Paraprofessional program provides theory and practice in the skills for working as effective members of instructional teams. An education paraprofessional works under the supervision of a licensed/certificated staff member to assist and support educational services. The curriculum includes a strong academic and general core, as well as a supervised practicum or cooperative work experience for hands-on training.

Courses included in the ATA Degree program address the Washington State Core Competencies and Skill Standards for Paraeducators, and meet the Federal Paraeducator requirements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001. The core curriculum focuses on current issues and historical foundations of regular and special education, instructional strategies, behavior management, human development and interpersonal skills in the context of a diverse society.

Education Paraprofessionals, sometimes referred to as teachers' assistants, assist teachers in both instructional and non-instructional tasks, providing services to children, youth and families. They are hired to support classroom teachers through a variety of tasks that can include direct involvement with students, as well as clerical duties done in advance of or at the conclusion of lessons done with students.

Paraprofessionals may instruct students individually or in group settings, under teachers' direction and guidance. They are often assigned special projects or special areas of instruction, such as computer and learning labs, or working with special needs students. They may provide physical assistance to disabled students, and may be required to assist students with the use of specific equipment related to the students’ disabilities. Other duties might include: conducting group drills, homework checks, preparation of lesson materials and bulletin boards, observing and reporting of behavior and progress, tracking and dispensing authorized student medications, facilitating use of educational technology, supervising the playground or lunchroom, and crossing guard/flagging.

Possible positions this degree prepares a student for are ESL/bilingual/migrant paraeducator, ECEAP family support specialist, education assistant, guidance specialist, instructional aide, interpreter, transition specialist, playground assistant, special education assistant, teacher aide, and tutor.

Program Options

  • Education Paraprofessional, ATA Degree (90+ credits)
  • Education Paraprofessional Certificate in Language and Literacy (48 credits)
  • Education Paraprofessional Certificate in Teaching and Learning (48 credits)
  • Individual Technical Certificate, designed to meet marketable objectives, approved by the department chair

Many of the courses in the Education Paraprofessional program transfer directly to Western Washington University or other four-year institutions. Check with the transfer counselor for the most up to date information.

Program Learning Outcomes   

Graduates of the Education Paraprofessional program will

  • Practice ethical and professional standards of conduct and comply with laws and workplace policies and procedures in relation to confidentiality, reporting of abuse, discipline, chain of command and delegation and supervision.
  • Be knowledgeable in the use of reinforcement, motivation and data collection to facilitate positive behavioral support and assist in instruction and learning.
  • Exemplify the philosophy that all individuals/participants can learn and contribute within a multicultural, inclusive context of children, families and colleagues.
  • Develop, design and implement creative, innovative, developmentally and culturally appropriate educational practices that positively impact the development, creativity and self-esteem of young children.
  • Plan group activities and effectively manage a classroom environment.
  • Perform basic assessments and measurements of a child’s progress in an educational setting.
  • Work appropriately with exceptional children and those with special needs.
  • Employ a variety of instructional strategies and methods that address individual learners and learning styles in order to develop collaborative critical thinking and creative problem solving skills in a variety of student populations.
  • Be able to draw from a variety of perspectives on human development and learning in order to design learning experiences to support the cognitive, psychological and social differences and needs of cross-cultural and generational learners.
  • Understand what it means to be a competent, ethical and professional teacher in a democratic, diverse and technological society in order to develop commitment to professional growth and to the legal and ethical responsibilities of American public school teachers.

Placement Rate

Placement and Completion Data

Contact Us

Barbara Martinez-Griego
Department Chair
360.416.7787

Email Barbara