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Paraeducators perform instructional duties or deliver direct services to students or parents.

Also called “parapros,” “paraprofessionals,” paras,” “teacher assistants,” “instructional assistants,” or “one-on-one aides,” paraeducators help teachers, who are responsible for the design and implementation of educational programs and services. They provide extra assistance to students with special needs, such as those who don’t speak English, or those with physical and mental disabilities; student supervision in classrooms, halls, cafeterias, schoolyards, and gymnasiums, or on field trips; and individual or small-group tutoring to help students master assignments and to reinforce learning concepts presented by teachers.

Education & Testing


More information

Learn more about paraeducator requirements and certificates at OSPI’s Paraeducator Certification page.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

Necessary Knowledge

  • Speak English
  • Add and subtract numbers
  • Understand child development

Desirable Knowledge

  • Speak more than one language
  • Perform first aid/CPR
  • Practice and be certified in “Right Response”

Basic Skills

  • Listen to others without interrupting
  • Ask good questions
  • Follow instructions
  • Keep records
  • Maintain student/staff confidentiality

Social Skills

  • Understand people’s reactions
  • Look for ways to help people
  • Show compassion
  • Express empathy


  • Communicate orally and in writing
  • Listen to and understand what people say

Ideas and Logic

  • Notice when problems happen
  • Group things in different ways
  • Work independently, following established guidelines

Physical Requirements

  • Lift 25-50 lbs
  • Stoop/crouch
  • Reach/handle
  • See near/far

Desired Characteristics

  • Dependable
  • Self-regulating
  • Stress-tolerant
  • People-focused
  • Concerned for others
  • Honest
  • Cooperative
  • Adaptable/flexible
  • Patient

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  • Range: $12.99 – $19.46 per hour
  • Median salary: $25,000/year

Most paraeducator positions are part-time (up to 6 hours per day) and 180 days per year.


Benefits depend on the number of hours worked and the local union-negotiated agreement. They may include the following:

  • Paid holidays
  • Medical, dental, vision insurance
  • State retirement benefits
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Life insurance
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