Special Education Assistant

Encourage and support learning for students with unique challenges.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $36,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Special Education Assistants do?

It’s not just politically correct: Special-needs students really do have special needs. One of them is a Special Education Teacher. Another is a Special Education Assistant, who assists that Teacher in the education of physically and mentally disabled students.

As a Special Education Assistant, you may work in public schools or private schools. You may work in schools that teach all students, or in those that specialize in special-needs education. You may work at elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools. Always, however, it’s your job as a Special Education Assistant to help Teachers manage their classrooms, and to help students manage their disabilities — which can include emotional and behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, developmental delays, social disorders, communication impediments, and physical handicaps.

Because of the unique challenges they face, special-needs students typically require smaller class sizes, custom-made curriculums, and more one-on-one instruction. Because your presence allows more students to receive more personal attention, you make all of that possible.

After all, Special Education Teachers only have two hands; Special Education Assistants give them two more. While the Teacher is working with one student, therefore, you can work with another. When they need it, you can also help students with physical needs, such as grooming, hygiene, movement, and eating, allowing the Teacher to focus squarely on teaching.

In many schools, special-needs students are integrated as much as possible with their peers. In such settings, your job often is attending to a single student in an otherwise typical classroom, supervising, protecting, and even befriending them — in the hallways, in the cafeteria, and on the playground.

Should I be a Special Education Assistant?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.

  • Also known as: Computer Lab Para Professional, Crisis Intervention Specialist, ED Educational Aide, Educational Aid See More

    How to Become a
    Special Education Assistant

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