Even under the No Child Left Behind Act, Minnesotans with only the basic skills in education can find a job as a paraprofessional. You do not even have to possess a bachelor's degree. You must, however, be trainable and willing to take additional classes if you need them. Additionally, some schools require you to have the ability to work with children with special needs.
The minimum education requirement for a teacher's aide in the state of Minnesota is an associate's degree. According to the DegreeTutor website, these are typically two-year degrees from a community college, and sometimes even a four-year university. If you're an older student with more responsibilities and less time, you may opt to earn your associate's degree online.
A training session (or sessions) concerning the expectations for a paraprofessional's continued employment with the district must take place, preferably immediately after hire. According to the Minnesota Department of Education website, the purpose of this session is to orientate the new paraprofessional to the school building. Also, the new teacher's aide must learn emergency procedures, such as what to do during a fire drill, a bomb threat or an incident involving the injury of a child. The new hire must also receive instruction about confidentiality rules, and about what the expectations of his specific job are.
You must demonstrate your ability to help out with the subjects that the teacher is responsible for teaching. If the class happens to be math, you must show that you are capable of teaching math in that teacher's classroom. If it's English, you must know the basic rules of spelling, grammar and phonics.
According to the Minnesota School Employees Association website, you may demonstrate these competencies in either of two ways. First, you can compile a portfolio demonstrating your previous successful experience working with children in these subjects, or demonstrating your having mastered the concepts your supervising instructor will be teaching. In this portfolio, you can provide evidence of ability and experience using Para e-Link, or evidence of having attended conferences on being a paraprofessional working with children, such as a Certificate of Completion.
Second, you can take a competency examination in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. According to the MSEA website, in order to pass this test, you must achieve a score of at least 460.
The Minnesota Department of Education website says that as a paraprofessional in the Minnesota school system, you must work under the direct supervision of a certified teacher and, where possible, a nurse. The latter is especially true if you are a paraprofessional who works with physically disabled children. A special education paraprofessional who works with children with toileting issues and other physical limitations may need the aid of a nurse to answer questions when such issues arise.
- Biz Woman image by PD-Images.com from Fotolia.com