Paraprofessional Educator Degree

Paraprofessional Degree at Harper College

Make a difference in the classroom and in their lives 

Program facts  Education icon

  • Instructional assistants
  • Paraprofessional educator
  • Teacher's aides
  • Teaching assistant

Develop the skills and knowledge needed to become a paraprofessional educator with this 62-credit-hour degree program. Paraprofessional educators (also commonly known as teacher’s aides or instructional assistants) work in a variety of settings such as classrooms, computer labs and the outdoors. Their work includes assisting with instruction, grading assignments, supervision and child development.

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

Certificate program requirements

This 62 credit-hour program is designed to promote the development of skills necessary when working with children in Title 1 programs in the K-12 public or private school classrooms. Students must complete both the required courses for the program and 18 hours of approved electives.

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


Number Course Title Credits Category
EDU 201 3 Program Requirement

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.

ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

Humanities1 3 Humanities
MTH 130 4 Mathematics

Description: Focuses on mathematical reasoning and problem solving and is designed to meet the requirements of the state certification of elementary teachers when taken in conjunction with MTH 131. The course examines the underlying conceptual framework of the topics of sets, functions, whole numbers, number theory, integers, rational numbers, irrational numbers and the real number system. Students are expected to be active participants in the learning process. They will apply mathematical reasoning in a variety of problem-solving situations using estimation, models, tables, graphs and symbolic representations. The use of appropriate techniques and tools, such as calculators and computers, are a focus of investigations and discussion throughout the course. A weekly lab component is required.

Prerequisite: MTH 070 (Plane Geometry) and MTH 080 (Intermediate Algebra) with grades of C or better, or other placement options. Math_Placement_Grid.pdf

PSY 101 3 Social and Behavioral Science

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


Number Course Title Credits Category
ECE 102 3 Program Requirement

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

EDU 211 3 Program Requirement

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.

Electives2 6 Program Requirement
SPE 101 3 Communications

Description: Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900


Number Course Title Credits Category
EDU 219 3 Program Requirement

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

EDU 250  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: 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.

LIT 219 3 Humanities

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.

Electives2 6 Program Requirement


Number Course Title Credits Category
EDU 202  S   1 Program Requirement

Description: 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.

EDU 230  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: 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.

EDU 220 + 3 Program Requirement

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.

PSC 101 3 Social and Behavioral Science

Description: Focuses on political involvement, elections, campaigns, interest groups, Congress, courts, the presidency, and the constitution. Discusses how our government runs, as well as current political controversies. Utilizes political figures as guest speakers and offers opportunities for political participation, especially in election years. IAI S5 900

Electives2 6 Program Requirement

1 - See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

2 - Select from: ANT 101, 202, ART 105, 130, ECE 250, ECE 252, ENG 102, ESC 110, GEG 101, HST 111, 112, LNG 105, MTH 131, PHY 110, PSY 217, 228, SGN 101.

+ - This course meets the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement.

Program learning outcomes

  • Develop reading skills to be used for classroom instructional support.
  • Develop mathematical computation and mathematical reasoning skills to be used for classroom instructional support.
  • Develop writing skills to be used for classroom instructional support.
  • Develop critical and creative thinking skills to become an effective decision maker and problem solver.
  • Develop effective communication skills, including listening, speaking and writing for a variety of school settings.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the principles of child development, the learning process and instructional strategies, including the instruction of special-needs students.
  • Identify and apply appropriate classroom management techniques based on knowledge of law.
  • Identify and apply appropriate classroom management techniques based on knowledge of school policies and procedures.
  • Effectively utilize a variety of technologies for communication, problem solving and research.
  • Identify technology tools/media used in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning.
  • Utilize various technology tools/media used in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning.
  • Develop skills to interact effectively with students, parents, teachers and administrators in a diverse school society.
  • Develop interpersonal skills necessary to work in collaborative environments.
  • Develop a comprehensive pre-professional portfolio that demonstrates knowledge of the profession.

Related programs


Next steps

For more information about the Paraprofessional Educator program, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.