How to Become a Paraprofessional, Special Educator, Early Intervention or Related Service Provider
There are several ways to work in the field of special education, early intervention and the related services. All of them require at least a bachelor’s degree, except the paraprofessional. Many require a master’s degree or additional certification coursework.
#1: If you don't have a bachelor's degree, you have these options:
- Persons who already hold an associate degree from a community college or junior college, may apply immediately to work in a variety of settings as a paraprofessional. Most districts require that paraprofessionals have at least two years of college credit or pass a proficiency exam to be hired as a paraprofessional. Contact your local school district about positions that you may qualify for now.
- Go to www.Teachers-Teachers.com and submit your resume under the paraprofessional category and search for job openings for paraprofessionals in the state or locale in which you would like to work.
- Search our Personnel Preparation Programs Database to find programs at two-year community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, school districts, or regional resource centers that will prepare you to work with infants, young children and youth with disabilities, and their families.
#2- If you already have a bachelor's degree but just need additional training to ‘become one’, you have these options:
- Search our Personnel Preparation Programs Database to find four-year colleges and universities, school districts, or regional resource centers that will prepare you to work with infants, young children and youth with disabilities, and their families.
- Contact your local school district and ask if they have alternative certification programs. Many of these programs require minimal coursework and will lead to full state certification and allow you to work in a classroom full time while you are being trained.
Need financial aid resources?
- Search our list of financial aid resources or look for programs in the Personnel Preparation Programs Database that are supported through funding from the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).They often offer tuition assistance to those candidates who qualify for entry into that preparation program. Be sure and check the ‘OSEP’ box at the bottom of the page to find those programs that may have tuition assistance.