Paraprofessional Programs

What exactly is a paraprofessional?
Paraprofessionals are K-12 school employees who provide one-on-one tutoring for students, assist with classroom management (e.g., organizing instructional or other materials), provide instructional assistance in a computer laboratory, conduct parental involvement activities, provide support in a library or media center, act as a translator, or provide instructional support services under the direct supervision of a teacher.

At this time, Louisiana higher education institutions are designing two-year programs to prepare those who wish to practice as K-12 school paraprofessionals. The Associate of Applied Science Degree and the Associate of Arts Degree paraprofessional pathways are aligned with expectations of four-year institutions. This will allow higher education institutions to accept paraprofessionals with associate degrees into their teacher preparation degree programs. Paraprofessional Brochure (pdf)

How do I know a paraprofessional program is the right choice for me?
A paraprofessional program is the right choice for you if you have at least a high school diploma, enjoy working with children and young adults, and want to share the knowledge you have gained with others.

What financial resources are available to a paraprofessional program participant? Financial resources available to students in a paraprofessional preparation program vary. Students can contact the Financial Aid Office at the higher education institution of choice for information regarding student scholarships, grants, and loans in that institution’s paraprofessional program. The Tuition Exemption and Stipend Program for Teacher Aides and Paraprofessionals is designed to assist teacher aides and paraprofessionals working full-time in state-approved elementary and secondary schools to meet the qualifications for teacher certification. To qualify for this program, candidates must have been accepted into a teacher education degree program. For full regulations and other information about this program, including application forms, go to the State Department of Education website here.
What are the prerequisites of a paraprofessional program? Prerequisites of individual paraprofessional programs differ, but all programs require a minimum of a high school diploma. Students can contact the program provider of choice for information regarding admission standards.

Where can I learn more about a paraprofessional program?
Students can learn more about paraprofessional programs by contacting the higher education institution of choice to discover what the institution offers. The Paraprofessional Brochure (.pdf) also contains useful information. This PDF is available for download courtesy of the Louisiana Community & Technical College System.

What does the research say?
Research indicates that paraprofessional roles and responsibilities may differ, depending upon the school and school district needs, and that paraprofessionals must possess competencies that are appropriate for all classrooms. Although courses may have similar titles to courses within teacher preparation degree programs, paraprofessional course content should focus less upon theory and more upon practical knowledge and strategies that paraprofessionals can immediately apply when working in classroom settings.

The paraprofessional program sounds like the right pathway for me and I’d like to enroll. Where is the program offered in Louisiana? At this time, there is no centralized list of program providers since institutions are designing their paraprofessional preparation programs. Prospective candidates can learn more about paraprofessional programs by contacting the higher education institution of choice to discover what is offered at that locale.