A paraprofessional is someone who works alongside or assists a professional but does not have the same licensing or credentials as the professional. The different types of paraprofessional jobs include those found in the fields of education, law, healthcare or engineering. Two well-known examples are paramedics, who are not doctors but can provide emergency medical care; and paralegals, who are not lawyers but assist lawyers in legal matters.
In the field of education, paraprofessionals work as teacher assistants. They grade papers and assist students with assignments. Paraprofessionals typically are not responsible for lesson planning or teaching students, but they can help students practice what they have learned or reinforce the teacher's instructions.
Job descriptions for paraprofessional jobs in the education field include assisting struggling students who need understanding concepts or learning skills that have been introduced by their teacher. School paraprofessionals might work in self-contained classrooms in which all of the students receive special education services. They also can work in inclusive classrooms, which contain students of varying levels as well as those with disabilities and non-disabled students.
School paraprofessionals might also students help board and unload from school buses or aid students who have physical disabilities. In addition to working in classrooms, they often serve as cafeteria or playground monitors. Paraprofessionals might also assist in completing clerical tasks for a department in a school. For example, a paraprofessional might organize student files for the special education department or make copies.
Other paraprofessional jobs the education field include computer lab paraprofessionals and resource center paraprofessionals. Computer lab paraprofessionals maintain order in the computer lab and perform software updates. Resource center paraprofessionals maintain teacher resource rooms by cataloging books and maintaining office equipment.
Healthcare paraprofessionals can be professional assistants for doctors. They can specialize in mental health, long-term care or home healthcare. In these paraprofessional jobs, assistants control equipment in medical facilities, handle records, or assist surgeons during surgeries. Healthcare paraprofessionals also might work in dental care as dental hygienists. Healthcare paraprofessionals perform administrative tasks such as recording patient's vital statistics, maintaining medical records and maintaining office reports.
In the animal medical field, paraprofessionals assist veterinarians as veterinarian technicians. These paraprofessionals might specialize in felines, equines or exotic animals. They also might work in different industries related to animals, such as the pet food industry.