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School Support Staff: 5 Jobs to Consider

Author: Darian Khalilpour
Date: April 25, 2024
Tags: Educational Staffing, School Support Staff

Schools rely on a diverse team of staff to provide a safe, effective, and dynamic learning environment for students of all ages. If you’re looking for a career in education but aren’t sure if you want to be a teacher, being part of the school support staff might be the right fit for you. So, you may be wondering what do support staff do in schools exactly? In this blog, we will breakdown their role in the school setting, and provide examples of vital support staff roles.

What Do Support Staff Do in Schools

Often unsung heroes, school support staff are essential to the success of any educational institution. They ensure the smooth operation of the school, provide specialized support for students with diverse needs, and contribute to the overall well-being of the school community. From administrative personnel to special education professionals and counselors to social workers, support staff jobs encompass a variety of roles in the school environment. Though their contributions may be behind the scenes, a support staff’s dedication and diverse expertise are integral to creating a thriving school community where every student can flourish.

Vital School Support Staff Roles

1. Paraprofessionals: These professionals (also called teaching assistants, instructional assistants, paraeducators, or teacher aides) assist teachers in creating a positive and productive learning environment. They might help with lesson preparation, classroom management, individualized instruction, and grading/assessments. While requirements vary for paraprofessionals, a background in education, childcare, or youth development is generally preferred. Some positions may favor candidates with associate’s degrees or specific certifications like a paraprofessional license.

2. Special Education Assistants: These classroom assistants (which are similar to behavior technicians in some school districts) work directly with students who have disabilities or special educational needs. They provide crucial support by implementing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), offering individualized support, assisting with personal care needs, and promoting social and emotional well-being. Experience in healthcare, social work, or psychology is helpful for special education needs assistants. Some schools may require an associate’s degree or higher, and they may ask for assistants to obtain specific special education certifications and training. Special education assistants are a great example of careers in special education besides teaching.

3. School Counselors: These counselors are educators who design and implement counseling programs to help students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. These programs can include academic planning and goal setting, assisting in finding resources for mental health support outside of school, crisis intervention and planning, and more. School counselors hold, at minimum, a master’s degree in school counseling and must meet their state’s licensure standards and requirements. If you’re interested in learning how to become a school counselor, research the specific requirements in your state.

4. School Nurses: Nurses who work in schools ensure the health and well-being of all students. From administering first aid to supporting students with medical conditions, school nurses are essential in promoting and educating students in healthy behaviors. To become a school nurse, you first need to graduate from a nursing program with a bachelor’s degree and become a registered nurse. Each state has its own set of requirements and licenses to become a school nurse — to determine your state’s requirements, you can contact your state’s affiliate of the NASN.

5. Administrative Staff. School administrators work hard to ensure students learn in an organized and safe setting. So what do school administrators do? They can coordinate school security, manage and develop class schedules, oversee the school budget, hire new staff members, and communicate with parents and members of the school community. To become a school administrator, you generally need a background in education and applicable work experience. Administrative positions like vice principals and principals may require bachelor’s or master’s degrees in education.

School support staff play a vital role in helping students thrive in safe learning environments. If you’re interested in a support staff career in education but aren’t sure where to begin your search, connect with Amergis Educational Staffing to learn more.

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