Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Paraeducator, associate degree

Paraeducation student working with a child

Why choose Paraeducation at PCC?


The Oregon Employment Division reports that the average annual salary of paraprofessional educators in the Portland area is $35,973.

Portland Community College trains paraeducators as teaching assistants to work in general-purpose classrooms, special education, and ESOL programs. We emphasize field experience in elementary and secondary schools.

You can choose a focus in special education or working with English language learners. Many of the courses in the Paraeducation program are also applicable to teacher re-licensure.

The Oregon Employment Division estimates that job openings for paraeducators in the Portland area will grow 8.5% through 2027.

Award information

Awards with a icon can be earned completely online, or you can choose a mix of online and on-campus classes.

Degrees and certificates by number of terms to complete
Award Length Financial aid eligible Currently accepting students?
Associate Degree: Paraeducator2 years

Learn more about Education and all 2 awards available »


What will you learn?

The Paraeducation program will give you a variety of skills, including:

  • Behavior management
  • Group instruction
  • Individual instruction
  • Interpersonal and intercultural communication with adults and students
  • Personal growth

Some students use this program as an initial, exploratory step toward a career in teaching.

Participants in the program learn to:

  1. Assist in academic instruction
  2. Communicate effectively with students, staff, and parents
  3. Meet No Child Left Behind academic standards for paraeducators
  4. Motivate and assist students
  5. Understand the roles and responsibilities of paraeducators
  6. Use inclusive practices for diverse populations


Course listing for the 2020-2021 catalog year.

ED 100Introduction to Education for Paraeducators3
ED 102Digital and Visual Communication Fundamentals3
ED 123Instructional Strategies: Reading3
ED 124Instructional Strategies: Mathematics/Science3
or MTH 211 Foundations of Elementary Math I
ED 131Applied Learning Theory3
ED 136Learning with Technology3
ED 217Classroom Management3
or ED 252 Behavior Management
ED 224Foundations of Education3
ED 251Overview of Exceptional Learners3
ED 263Portfolio Development2
ED 264Portfolio Development II: AAS Paraeducator Addition1
ED 270Practicum I3
ED 271Practicum II3
PSY 215Human Development *4
WR 121College Composition4
Choose two of the following:6
ED 258
Multicultural Education: Principles
ED 259
Multicultural Education: Applications
ED 268
Introduction to Developmental Disabilities
Choose two of the following:6
ED 269
Introduction to Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities
ED 290
Sheltered Instruction for English Language Learners
ED 291
Bilingual and ESL Strategies
Education Specialization Electives9
Paraeducator General Education Program Electives 1*12
Paraeducator Support Electives 27
General Education: 2 courses
Total Credits90

What will you do?

A paraeducator (instructional assistant) works in K-12 schools and other educational settings. Responsibilities may include the following:

  1. Working under the supervision of a teacher.
  2. Assisting small group instruction in reading, math, spelling, etc.
  3. Assisting individual students in the above academic areas and self-help skills, daily living skills, and other skills depending on the functioning level of the student.
  4. Following behavior programs as directed by the teacher.
  5. Preparing and assembling materials.

The particular responsibilities assigned to a paraeducator (instructional assistant) depend on the program and personnel in each school.

Who will hire you?

Instructional assistants are hired by local school districts, county agencies, group homes, workshops, activity centers, and public and private institutions.

Next steps

Applying to PCC is free and only takes a few minutes.Apply now

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