Essential Paraprofessional Skills: Definition And Examples

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 26 December 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A paraprofessional teaches students if necessary and assists teachers in classroom management. They develop a certain set of skills that allow them to perform various responsibilities and help educators. Understanding the types of skills they require to perform their duties can help candidates get a job as a paraprofessional. In this article, we define paraprofessional skills, review common examples of these skills and learn some effective tips to improve them.

What Are Paraprofessional Skills?

Paraprofessional skills are abilities that help paraprofessionals complete their day-to-day tasks and succeed in their careers. Paraprofessionals require such skills to develop and execute lesson plans for students. They often use technical skills to provide assistance in the computer lab, media centre and library. Depending on their skills and experience, a paraprofessional can work in a single or multiple classrooms. The job of a paraprofessional requires different types of skills ranging from good communication to teaching abilities.

Read more: How Much Does A Primary Teacher Make? (Salary And Duties)

Examples Of Paraprofessional Skills

Here are some important paraprofessional skills that can help you succeed in this role:


Creative thinking can help paraprofessionals devise new methods of teaching and apply them in the classroom. In some situations, paraprofessionals may require finding creative solutions to problems. For example, paraprofessionals can find interesting ways to present a topic when traditional methods fail. With the help of creative skills, a paraprofessional can develop tests and lesson plans and promote trips and incentives for learning. They often require creative thinking to improvise their teaching style depending on the students.

Communication skills

Great communication skills can help paraprofessionals in making their students comfortable during the class. Communication skills can be helpful in maintaining a positive environment at the school. Different staff members may have different fields of expertise and experience which they share with each other. Communicating different ideas with other staff members can help paraprofessionals to discover new methods of effective teaching.

They know how to interact with students of different ages. Paraprofessionals can modify their communication style and convey ideas or messages to teachers, students and parents. Good communication skills can also help them explain challenging topics to students.


Having empathy can allow paraprofessionals to improve the overall performance of the class. Paraprofessionals can develop an ability to support their students. They may set certain standards and encourage students to improve themselves. Having a positive attitude towards the students can also benefit paraprofessionals. They can educate students depending on their ability to learn new things. With empathy, paraprofessionals can build a strong relationship with their students and provide them with a comfortable environment for learning.

Read more: How To Write A Resignation Letter As A Teacher: 20 Examples


Maintaining a good and healthy relationship with teachers, parents and students can be helpful for paraprofessionals. Teamwork can provide them with the flexibility of sharing the task and receiving feedback from other teaching professionals. It can also help in reaching the goals in an effective way within the time scale. With teamwork, paraprofessionals can also improve their social and communication skills. They can collaborate with other teachers and work towards the academic growth of students.


Different schools hire paraprofessionals with different educational qualifications. Knowledge can play an important role in how a paraprofessional performs their job. Knowledgeable paraprofessionals can provide progressive assistance to students. Many schools and colleges hire paraprofessionals with expertise in one or more subjects. Aside from educational qualifications, paraprofessionals may require a proven experience and background in working with students. Having the knowledge of basic principles of the overall development of students can also help them succeed in their careers.


Many employers hire paraprofessionals who want to make a significant difference and contribute to society. Students often remember the passionate and dedicated teachers for the contribution and the efforts they put into teaching. Finding and implementing new ways to teach can motivate paraprofessionals and keep their passion for teaching alive. With the help of passion, paraprofessionals can keep students engaged and improve their performance and ability to learn new things.

Read more: How To Write An English Teacher Resume With Example And Tips

Positive attitude

A positive attitude can play a significant role in teaching. Having a positive attitude can show that a paraprofessional is supportive and enthusiastic with their students. The attitude of teachers can directly affect their overall productivity and the interest of students in learning. You can avoid sharing a bad attitude through your tone, expressions or gestures. Showing a positive attitude towards students can improve the academic performance of students and their personal growth. A positive attitude and mindset can also improve the psychological and physical-well being of paraprofessionals.


Paraprofessionals with strong leadership skills can effectively mentor their students during classroom lessons. They may use this skill to guide students and motivate them to learn new subjects. The job of paraprofessionals may require them to use leadership skills and instruct a group of students and maintain order in the classroom. From maintaining cleanliness in the classroom to motivating students to face challenges, leadership skills can allow paraprofessionals to effectively perform their duties.

How To Improve Paraprofessional Skills

Paraprofessionals can gain more relevant skills and experiences for progressing in their careers. Here are some tips that can help paraprofessionals in improving their skills:

1. Find skills you want to improve

Take your time and discover all your skills, especially the ones you want to improve. A paraprofessional can have multiple skills at once. Make sure you focus on one or two of them and try to improve them. Getting involved in activities that require a specific skill can be a good way to improve that skill. Use your skills whenever necessary. You can also enrol in courses and training that can help improve your skills. Gaining a certification can provide you with evidence of your ability and experience.

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2. Communicate regularly

One of the most effective methods to improve your paraprofessional skills is to have regular communication with other professionals. Communicating and discussing with teachers about the teaching norms, area of expertise and implementation of new methods to teach can help in developing new skills. Sharing ideas and goals can increase productivity and maintain the working relationship between paraprofessionals and teachers.

3. Conduct classroom discussion

As a paraprofessional, classroom discussion can help you learn more about the students. Sometimes, a situation may arise where paraprofessionals and teachers have different opinions and ideas on the same issue. Discussing the issues regarding the students can provide them with effective solutions. During the discussion, teachers and paraprofessionals can share their plans, priorities and goals with each other. This can help in developing the way paraprofessionals approach students and provide creative ideas to make them more comfortable in the classroom.

4. Ask for feedback

Receiving regular feedback can help paraprofessionals build positive workplace interactions and work on their teaching skills. You can ask other teachers to review your work and find areas for improvement. A teacher can provide you with constructive feedback and advice on developing teaching strategies. Feedback can allow paraprofessionals to improve their skills and approach challenging assignments. You can also ask for feedback from students and parents and improve the classroom experience.

Read more: 10 Important Skills Of A Teacher And How To Develop Them

Skills For Paraprofessionals In The Workplace

Aside from the soft and hard skills required to become a paraprofessional, there are some core competencies that allow them to become more efficient at their work. Paraprofessionals can use such skills and abilities to perform their day-to-day tasks. Here are some common examples of skills that they can use in the workplace:

  • Ability to interact with students and teachers in a polite way

  • Ability to create a learning environment at the school

  • Expertise in planning tasks and lessons

  • Capability of executing different teaching approaches

  • Knowledge of the performance of students

  • Ability to collaborate in with other professionals

  • Professionalism

  • Dedication and commitment to their profession

  • Ability to speak and write multiple languages

Ways To Highlight Paraprofessional Skills

Candidates who want to pursue a career as a paraprofessional can benefit from highlighting their skills during the job search and application process. Here are some examples of how paraprofessionals can highlight their skills in a resume and during the interview:

On your resume

Before writing a paraprofessional resume, carefully study the job posting and identify essential keywords. You can identify the skills employers are looking for and incorporate them into your resume. Highlight your skills in your professional summary, skills section and previous work responsibilities in your resume.

In a job interview

Candidates who want to become paraprofessionals can improve their skills and highlight them during the job interview. Interviewers may ask situational questions related to your skills and abilities. Answer such questions to show your ability to interact with students and other teaching professionals. You can also provide examples of situations when you used a specific skill to resolve any problem.

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