Teaching Assistants, Special Education
Assist a preschool, elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher to provide academic, social, or life skills to students who have learning, emotional, or physical disabilities. Serve in a position for which a teacher has primary responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services.
Sample of reported job titles: Special Education Aide, Special Education Paraprofessional, Special Education Teacher Assistant
This title represents an occupation for which data collection is currently underway.
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Detailed Work Activities | Job Zone | Credentials | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Assist in bus loading and unloading.
- Assist librarians in school libraries.
- Attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required.
- Carry out therapeutic regimens, such as behavior modification and personal development programs, under the supervision of special education instructors, psychologists, or speech-language pathologists.
- Clean classrooms.
- Discuss assigned duties with classroom teachers to coordinate instructional efforts.
- Distribute teaching materials, such as textbooks, workbooks, papers, and pencils to students.
- Employ special educational strategies or techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, or memory.
- Enforce administration policies and rules governing students.
- Grade homework and tests, and compute and record results, using answer sheets or electronic marking devices.
- Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment and materials to prevent injuries and damage.
- Instruct students in daily living skills required for independent maintenance and self-sufficiency, such as hygiene, safety, or food preparation.
- Laminate teaching materials to increase their durability under repeated use.
- Maintain computers in classrooms and laboratories and assist students with hardware and software use.
- Observe students’ performance, and record relevant data to assess progress.
- Organize and label materials and display students’ work in a manner appropriate for their eye levels and perceptual skills.
- Organize and supervise games and other recreational activities to promote physical, mental, and social development.
- Participate in teacher-parent conferences regarding students’ progress or problems.
- Prepare classrooms with a variety of materials or resources for children to explore, manipulate, or use in learning activities or imaginative play.
- Prepare lesson materials, bulletin board displays, exhibits, equipment, and demonstrations.
- Prepare lesson outlines and plans in assigned subject areas and submit outlines to teachers for review.
- Present subject matter to students under the direction and guidance of teachers, using lectures, discussions, supervised role-playing methods, or by reading aloud.
- Provide assistance to students with special needs.
- Provide disabled students with assistive devices, supportive technology, and assistance accessing facilities, such as restrooms.
- Requisition and stock teaching materials and supplies.
- Supervise students in classrooms, halls, cafeterias, school yards, and gymnasiums, or on field trips.
- Take class attendance and maintain attendance records.
- Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification or positive reinforcement.
- Tutor and assist children individually or in small groups to help them master assignments and to reinforce learning concepts presented by teachers.
- Use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations.
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- Calendar and scheduling software — High School Scheduling and Transcript HSST
- Computer based training software — Appletree; Padlet; Quizlet; Schoology (see all 6 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Blackboard software; Data entry software; Special Education Student Information System SESIS; Student information systems SIS (see all 5 examples)
- Desktop communications software — ClassDojo; ParentSquare; Tadpoles
- Device drivers or system software — Screen magnification software; Screen reader software
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Multi-media educational software — Kahoot; Seesaw
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Google Classroom
- Spell checkers — Hand held spell checkers
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Video conferencing software — Google Meet
- Video creation and editing software — Flipgrid; Loom
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Maintain student records.
- Assist students with special educational needs.
- Monitor student performance.
- Set up classroom materials or equipment.
- Supervise school or student activities.
- Teach life skills.
- Assist other educational professionals with projects or research.
- Clean facilities or work areas.
- Collaborate with other teaching professionals to develop educational programs.
- Create technology-based learning materials.
- Develop instructional materials.
- Develop strategies or programs for students with special needs.
- Discuss student progress with parents or guardians.
- Display student work.
- Distribute instructional or library materials.
- Document lesson plans.
- Enforce rules or policies governing student behavior.
- Evaluate student work.
- Implement therapeutic programs to improve patient functioning.
- Lead classes or community events.
- Maintain clean work areas.
- Maintain computer equipment or software.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Plan educational activities.
- Serve on institutional or departmental committees.
- Teach others to use technology or equipment.
- Tutor students who need extra assistance.
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Teaching Assistants, Except Postsecondary.
Employment data for Teaching Assistants, Except Postsecondary.
Industry data for Teaching Assistants, Except Postsecondary.
|Median wages (2020)||$28,900 annual|
|Employment (2020)||1,306,300 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||136,400|
|Top industries (2020)||
Health Care and Social Assistance
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO
- American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
- National Association for the Education of Young Children
- National Education Association
- National Parent Teacher Association
- National Resource Center for Paraeducators
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Teacher assistants
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