Harper College

Paraprofessional Educator Certificate

Gain the skills you need to guide our next generation

Program facts Education icon

  • Credit hours: 31
  • Stackable to degree: Yes
  • Potential job outcomes: 
    Instructional assistant, paraprofessional educator, teacher's aide

Choose from 100% on-campus or a mix of online and on-campus courses to fit your schedule.

If you have some college credit or already earned a degree, this certificate prepares you to successfully transition to a career as a paraprofessional educator. Develop the skills and knowledge needed to work with children in non-title I positions in K-12 public or private schools and while preparing for the ISBE Educator License with Stipulations Endorsed for Paraprofessional exam. 

Also known as instructional assistants or teacher’s aides, paraprofessional educators work in a variety of settings such as classrooms, computer labs and the outdoors. They assist with tasks including instruction, grading assignments, supervision and child development. 

Take classes in educational psychology, students with disabilities in school, diversity in schools and society, technology in education, child development, children’s literature and more. All courses are taught by expert faculty who are extremely knowledgeable in the field of education.

Coursework completed for this program can be applied to the Paraprofessional Educator AAS Degree.

Certificate program requirements 

This 31 credit-hour program is designed to promote the skills necessary when working with children in non-Title I positions in K-12 public or private schools. Individuals can also use the certificate program toward completion of the Paraprofessional Educator Associate in Applied Science degree.

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course


Number Course Title Credits
ECE 102 3

Description:  Provides a study of human development from conception through adolescence. Includes research methods and developmental theories. Address all major areas of development (physical, social, emotional and cognitive, language, and aesthetic) and the interaction among these areas. Also examines current research and major developmental theoretical points of view, including those of Piaget, Erikson, Vygotsky, Skinner, Gardner and others. Explores child development in the context of gender, family, culture, socio-economics, race, ethnicity, religion, and society. Emphasis is on the implication for early childhood professional practice. IAI ECE 912

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 201 3

Description:  Provides an introduction to teaching as a profession in the American education system. Offers a variety of perspectives on education including historical, philosophical, social, legal, and ethical issues in a diverse society. Includes organizational structure and school governance. There is a mandatory 15 hour clinical component in this course; therefore, the student must pass a criminal background check for successful completion of this course.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 202   S   1

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Provides an in-depth study of classroom practices in the subject and age category that each student is training to teach. Students will complete the clinical component of this course by observing classrooms in their area of interest and will attend a seminar once weekly to discuss their experience; therefore, the student must pass a criminal background check for successful completion of this course.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 211 3

Description:  Examines psychological principles underlying educational practice. Theories concerning cognitive and psychological development, human learning, and motivation are studied with emphasis on application for instruction, including assessment. Emphasis will also be placed on learner-centered instruction and diversity. There is a clinical component in this course, therefore; the student must pass a criminal background check for successful completion of this course.

Prerequisite: PSY 101 or consent of instructor.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 219 3

Description:  Presents the historical, philosophical and legal foundations of special education as well as an overview of the diverse characteristics of individuals with exceptional cognitive, physical, social and emotional needs, including, but not limited to, children identified as learning disabled. Covers identification, intervention strategies, cross-categorical methods of instruction and programs to meet their needs, including, but not limited to, assistive technologies, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), behavioral interventions, and Universal Design. Studies applicable state and federal laws and requirements, including Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), Individual Education Plan (IEP), Response to Intervention (RTI) and inclusive programming. This course addresses the coursework identified in the Illinois Administrative Code 25, Section 25:25 for professional educator licensure. There is a mandatory fifteen (15) hour clinical component in this course; therefore, the student must pass a criminal background check for successful completion of this course. IAI ECE 913

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 220 3

Description:  Provides an introduction to diversity issues in schools and society today. Examines how schooling is shaped by the social contexts in which it occurs, particularly in multicultural and global contexts. Includes examination of both social and global perspectives.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 230   S   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Examines the foundations of effective practices in supporting student progress toward both fluent and strategic reading and writing. Provides an introduction to the theory and practices of language arts education for students who are interested in becoming teachers. Focuses on construction of meaning from print, the relationship between reading and writing, and the principles of classroom assessment. Provides an introduction to the Illinois Learning Standards for English Language Arts.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 250   F   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the fall term.

Introduces educators to the knowledge and skills required to demonstrate their proficiency in the current technology standards. The course focuses on both knowledge and performance, and includes hands-on technology activities.

Prerequisite: Keyboarding, basic skill word processing, spreadsheet, and database programs, or consent of instructor.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

LIT 219 3

Description:  Introduces the various types of children's literature. Includes the history of children's literature, as well as the classic and current authors and illustrators. Covers such areas as picture and concept books, myths, poetry, fantasy and realism. IAI H3 918

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

Mathematics1 3
PSY 101 2 3

Description:  Investigates human and animal behavior with emphasis on the scientific nature of contemporary and classic psychological investigation. Emphasizes psychological theories, principles, and research applications. Introduces the divisions of the American Psychological Association. References biological processes, sensation, perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, mental disorders, intelligence, aptitude, personality, development, daily life and everyday problems. IAI S6 900

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

1 - Students must place into 100-level mathematics or higher. If a student does not place into 100-level math, they may seek to retake the math placement exam or complete math courses through the 080 level to meet math requirements. Students that place into 100-level mathematics or higher can take a 3 credit-hour AAS General Education elective. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

2 - Students must meet the prerequisite of placement into ENG 101 prior to registering for this course.

Related programs

Students interested in instructional assistant programs may also be interested in:

Next steps

For more information about Harper's teacher's aide programs, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.

Last Updated: 11/13/23