Substitute Paraprofessional Job Description [Updated for 2024]

substitute paraprofessional job description

In today’s evolving educational landscape, the importance of substitute paraprofessionals is more crucial than ever.

As we strive towards inclusive and personalized education for all, we need dedicated individuals who can step in and provide pivotal support in our classrooms.

But what exactly is expected from a substitute paraprofessional?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker looking to understand the core of this role,
  • A school administrator outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply interested in the role of a substitute paraprofessional,

You’ve come to the right place.

Today, we present a customizable substitute paraprofessional job description template, designed for easy posting on job boards or school websites.

Let’s delve right into it.

Substitute Paraprofessional Duties and Responsibilities

Substitute Paraprofessionals are essential contributors to the education system.

They step in when regular paraprofessionals are absent, often working with teachers to provide instructional and administrative support.

Substitute Paraprofessionals have the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Assume the duties of the regular paraprofessional in their absence
  • Assist teachers in implementing lesson plans and classroom activities
  • Work with students individually or in small groups to reinforce learning concepts
  • Help maintain discipline and order in the classroom
  • Monitor student behavior and report any concerns to the supervising teacher
  • Prepare and distribute educational material such as homework and handouts
  • Assist with administrative tasks such as attendance recording and grade recording
  • Facilitate recreational and social activities for students
  • Ensure the classroom environment is safe and conducive for learning
  • Provide additional support to special needs students, under the direction of the teacher


Substitute Paraprofessional Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are seeking a dedicated Substitute Paraprofessional to support the teacher in providing a well-organized, smoothly functioning classroom environment.

The Substitute Paraprofessional will assist in implementing classroom activities, monitoring student behavior, and providing additional instructional support to students.

The ideal candidate has experience working in a school setting and can manage classrooms efficiently.

A compassionate approach and a dedication to fostering a positive learning environment are crucial for this role.



  • Assist the lead teacher in implementing the curriculum plans
  • Supervise students in the classroom and during school activities
  • Provide additional instructional support to students, either one-on-one or in small groups
  • Help maintain a clean, safe, and organized classroom
  • Monitor and record student behavior and progress
  • Assist with administrative tasks as needed
  • Ensure compliance with school policies and educational laws



  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Experience working with children, preferably in a school setting
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to assist with various instructional tasks
  • Patience and a positive attitude
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check
  • First Aid and CPR certification is a plus



  • Retirement plan
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Substitute Paraprofessional
  • Work Environment: School setting. The substitute may need to travel between different schools within the district.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the school Principal or designated Supervisor.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $25,000 minimum to $35,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location)
  • Employment Type: Part-time or Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Substitute Paraprofessional Do?

Substitute Paraprofessionals typically work in educational environments, such as schools or special education programs, where they provide temporary assistance to teachers and other education professionals.

Their role often involves stepping in for a regular paraprofessional who may be absent due to sickness, personal circumstances, or professional development training.

They work closely with classroom teachers, helping to prepare educational materials and providing classroom support.

This may include individual attention to students who may need extra help, supervising group activities, and enforcing classroom rules.

In addition to classroom support, Substitute Paraprofessionals may also assist students with special needs, including those with physical, emotional, or mental challenges.

They help these students with daily tasks, such as eating or using the restroom, and provide emotional support.

Furthermore, they might also be required to manage student behavior and create a positive learning environment.

They might be tasked with implementing behavior management plans, monitoring student progress, and communicating their observations to the lead teacher or special education team.

Despite their temporary status, Substitute Paraprofessionals play a significant role in maintaining continuity and stability within the educational environment.


Substitute Paraprofessional Qualifications and Skills

A proficient Substitute Paraprofessional should possess the qualifications and skills that align with the responsibilities of the role, such as:

  • Strong communication skills to effectively interact with students, teachers and other school personnel.
  • Ability to assist teachers in planning and implementing instructional programs and teaching students in a classroom or small group setting.
  • A keen understanding of student behavior and learning processes, and the ability to help manage student behavior in a classroom setting.
  • Comfortable working with students of different abilities and backgrounds, employing empathy and respect.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills to handle classroom challenges or conflicts among students.
  • Good organizational skills to manage teaching materials, keep records, and ensure a tidy and conducive learning environment.
  • Ability to follow school policies and rules, and implement emergency plans when necessary.
  • Patience and adaptability to work in different classroom settings and with different teaching styles.
  • Relevant educational qualification or training in teaching or child development.


Substitute Paraprofessional Experience Requirements

Substitute Paraprofessionals typically need to have completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education or obtain an associate’s (or higher) degree.

Entry-level candidates can gain experience through volunteer work or internships in educational settings, or through roles such as teacher’s aide or classroom assistant.

This can provide hands-on experience with classroom management and student instruction.

Candidates with 1-2 years of experience will have developed foundational skills in providing instructional support, monitoring student behavior, and assisting with classroom administration.

They may have also gained experience working with students with diverse learning needs.

Those with more than 3 years of experience are likely to have a deeper understanding of educational policies and procedures, as well as substantial expertise in supporting specific grade levels or subject areas.

They may be ready for roles with more responsibilities, such as special education paraprofessional positions.

Candidates with more than 5 years of experience may have leadership experience, having overseen other paraprofessionals or led training sessions.

These individuals may be prepared for supervisory roles within educational support staff.


Substitute Paraprofessional Education and Training Requirements

Substitute Paraprofessionals often have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, however, some employers may require an associate’s degree or higher, particularly in education or a related field.

Substitute Paraprofessionals are expected to have some experience or knowledge in child development or a related area.

This could be obtained through coursework, volunteer work, or relevant work experience.

Many school districts require Substitute Paraprofessionals to complete a district-specific training program.

These programs may cover topics such as classroom management, student behavior, and the role and responsibilities of a paraprofessional.

Specific certifications may be required or recommended for Substitute Paraprofessionals.

These could include CPR and first aid certification, special education certification, or an early childhood education certification.

Continuing education is also important for Substitute Paraprofessionals.

They should stay updated on the latest best practices in education and child development.

This can be achieved through workshops, seminars, or further formal education.

Depending on the state or school district, Substitute Paraprofessionals may also be required to pass a background check and a basic skills test in reading, writing, and math.

Finally, interpersonal skills are crucial for this role.

Substitute Paraprofessionals need to demonstrate patience, flexibility, and the ability to work effectively with students, teachers, and parents.


Substitute Paraprofessional Salary Expectations

A Substitute Paraprofessional can expect to earn an average salary of $28,079 (USD) per year.

However, the actual income can fluctuate depending on factors such as experience, geographical location, and the specific school district in which they are employed.


Substitute Paraprofessional Job Description FAQs

What does a Substitute Paraprofessional do?

A Substitute Paraprofessional steps in and takes on the duties of the regular paraprofessional when they are unable to be present.

This can include working with students one-on-one or in small groups, providing support to teachers, supervising students during lunch or recess, and performing administrative tasks such as taking attendance or grading assignments.


What skills does a Substitute Paraprofessional need?

Substitute Paraprofessionals need to have excellent communication skills, as they will often be working closely with students, teachers, and parents.

They need to have patience and empathy, as they will often be working with students who have special needs.

They also need to be flexible and adaptable, as they may be called upon to work in different classrooms or with different age groups at short notice.


Do Substitute Paraprofessionals need a degree?

Requirements for Substitute Paraprofessionals vary by district.

Some districts require a high school diploma or GED, while others require an associate’s degree or a certain number of college credits.

Some districts may also require paraprofessionals to pass a skills test.


What should you look for in a Substitute Paraprofessional resume?

Look for experience working with children, particularly those with special needs.

Any additional education or training in education or child development could also be beneficial.

Check for any certifications or licenses that may be required by your district.


What qualities make a good Substitute Paraprofessional?

A good Substitute Paraprofessional is patient, understanding, and able to build good relationships with students.

They are adaptable and flexible, able to step into a variety of roles at short notice.

They have a passion for helping students learn and grow, and are able to work well as part of a team.



And that’s a wrap!

Today, we’ve unraveled the intricacies of what it truly entails to be a substitute paraprofessional.

And you know what?

It’s not just about filling in.

It’s about shaping the minds of tomorrow, one lesson at a time.

Armed with our essential substitute paraprofessional job description template and real-life examples, you’re ready to make your move.

But don’t stop just yet!

Explore further with our job description generator. It’s your next step to creating flawless job listings or honing your resume to perfection.


Every lesson delivered is a step towards a brighter future.

Let’s shape that future. Together.

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