Want to start your career in education? Become a teacher's assistant through this training at PPL in partnership with Normandale College. You will prepare to work with students of all ages and abilities.
woman helping kids in classroom

About the Program

What jobs will I be prepared for?

Join a rewarding profession that supports teachers in delivering classroom curriculum, guiding students in one-on-one or small group settings, and assisting with communication to staff and parents! Roles such as Paraprofessional, Teacher Assistants, Educational Support Person, Teacher Aids, or Educational Assistants offer a wide variety of flexibility in hours (ranging from 20-30 hours a week), benefits, and experience in elementary or special education settings.

What opportunities are included?

This is FREE, approximately 10 month program will provide instruction of workplace essential skills (i.e. Resume Building, Interviewing, and more!) that will prepare participants for a new workplace environment. Participants will engage in coursework from Normandale Community College, such as Introduction to Education and Paraprofessional Exam Prep, to build technical skills and knowledge to utilize within the classroom. Graduates will also have an opportunity to take the Paraprofessional Assessment.

Who might be interested?

  • Stay home moms, wanting to work the same schedule as their kids
  • College students who could work during the day and take classes in the evening
  • Retired people looking for meaningful part-time work
  • Individuals wanting to transition out of office work into more meaningful work

Reason to Become a Teacher's Assistant/Paraprofessional:

You’ll be making a difference

This is a career whereby you have the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of children. They need you to help them get to where they want to be in life, so you will be very important to them. You will be a role model for diverse students who need support from people who look like them.

Variety is part of the job

No two days are the same. Every day will provide a different set of challenges to keep your work life interesting. You’ll be helping others learn and grow and through the process you will learn and grow alongside your students.

You’ll have a job for life

Education careers are recession proof. As you begin your career as a teacher’s assistant, you’ll enjoy work that cannot be replaced entirely by technology (as we learned during the pandemic.) You’ll be in demand all over the world for the rest of your life.

Meet lots of new people

You’ll work as part of a close-knit team and will interact with students and parents every day. On top of that you will be an important part of your local community as schools host a variety of events each year.

Earning potential is increasing

Our society has a whole new appreciation for teacher assistants (and teachers) as a result of living through the pandemic. Teacher assistants typically earn an hourly wage (average of $18.68/hr to start in the metro area of MN) and receive benefits such as healthcare, vacation/sick time, union representation, retirement benefits, 30-hour work weeks, promotional opportunities and much more. 

Career Progression

Starting as a teacher’s assistant is a great way to begin a career in education. You can see what work in a classroom is all about and make connections that will support your educational path/career for years to come. Individuals with an interest in teaching can also pursue research, counseling, administration, library positions as well as many more.

Qualifications for Participation

  • High school diploma or GED
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Legal to work in the United States
  • Proficient math and reading skills


Characteristics of Good Teacher Assistant/Paraprofessional:

Like kids unconditionally – a great teacher’s assistant enjoys being around kids with all types of abilities and in all types of situations.

Positive attitude –Unrelenting positive encouragement as well as a “can-do” attitude goes a long way in working with children of all abilities.

Intellectually curious – the need to be ready to change the way things are done in a moment’s notice in order to serve a student or colleague is critical.

Respect for diversity – each student has unique talents, skills and abilities that need to be acknowledged, honed and celebrated. Emphasizing the potential of each child regardless of their challenges is essential.

Knowledgeable – Teacher assistants need to have the appropriate knowledge to provide academic, social and emotional support for each student.

Team player – Paraprofessionals often act as the go-between, sharing concerns and observations with the supervising teacher and parents. Collaboration and effective communication is critical.

Creative – when the traditional methods don’t work, you’ll need to think on your feet and sometimes come up with a creative solution to a situation or challenge.

Calm – on any given day, teacher assistants might have to deal with meltdowns, medical emergencies or helping a student repeat the steps on a learning journey. A calm demeanor provides stability to students who need support.

Organized – Students often struggle with good organization. Paraprofessionals can help by modeling a neat desk and the quick access to the right class materials at the right time.

Discretion – knowing when to intervene and what action to take in any given situation is essential to working in a classroom. Paraprofessionals need to assess the situation and act accordingly, being patient to allow students to figure out answers on their own.

Educational Partner