Although teacher assistants are not required to be certified in Rhode Island, there are still educational and professional prerequisites to working in classrooms. Knowing where to attend training is also a huge advantage before seeking a career as a paraprofessional.
Requirements for Rhode Island Teacher Assistants
|Average Salary for Teacher Assistants in Rhode Island (2019)*||$34,930|
|Required Degree||Two years of college/university coursework, or an associate's degree|
|Degree Field||None specified|
|Testing Requirements||ETS ParaPro Assessment|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Attend College or University Courses
In order to become a teacher assistant in the state of Rhode Island, the RI Department of Education mandates two years of study in higher education. They also specifically mention an associate's degree as a fulfillment of this obligation. For teacher assistants who might be considering making a future transition to a full-time teacher, an Associate in Arts in Education degree provides a two-year preview of what will come from a full teacher education program. Courses in this two-year track can include foundations of teaching and learning, child growth and developmental skills, and characteristics and needs of special populations. Like a bachelor's degree program, the associate's-level program includes a field experience that provides students the opportunity to work in a classroom setting.
Step 2: Go Through Professional Training and Take the Assessment
Individual organizations throughout Rhode Island are in charge of running their own pre-employment programs for teacher assistants. Locations for training programs are available through a list on the RI Department of Education website. Check the site regularly, as the list may be subject to change, and approval of each training program is required by the department. Individual costs, length of program, and registration processes will vary by organization.
Rhode Island also requires the ETS ParaPro Assessment, an aptitude exam that screens candidates for their abilities as a paraprofessional in school districts. Subjects screened on the exam include reading, math, and writing. It will take approximately two and a half hours to complete the Parapro, which is entirely in multiple-choice format. Unofficial scores will be displayed upon completion of the exam, and official results are typically available in two to three weeks.
Step 3: Apply for Teacher Assistant Positions
Rhode Island's Department of Education maintains a mailing list for those employed as teacher assistants, as well as those who are seeking employment in the field. When signing up for this list, it is important to include the preferred school district for potential employment. Afterward, aspiring teacher assistants should check human resource contact information at each school district for employment opportunities. Maintaining an updated resume is vital for a competitive job market such as education. Along with job search websites, directly inquiring with hiring offices helps to establish a line of contact with each district.