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The Keys to a Career as an Education Assistant

By: Ronda Payne

Published On: October 3, 2019

Everyone wants to make a meaningful difference in their lives, both in their personal and professional capacities. For some, it could be doing something for the environment; for others it might be about contributing to the community, helping people in general. Doing an education assistant program in BC can give you the background and education you need to make a difference n the lives of others by contributing to their education and personal growth.

What does an education assistant do?

Special education assistants work with those who need extra help and support in their educational programs. These could be children, adults, or seniors who have various special needs like learning disabilities. They could be suffering from dyslexia, communication disorders, emotional disorders like ADHD and a range of developmental and physical disabilities like cerebral palsy, autism or spinal bifida to name a few of many. There is a broad range of challenges, and the needs are extremely diverse, which is why taking an education assistant course is so important to the role.

Helping individuals with their needs can mean providing teaching support in a classroom setting, serving as a tutor, teaching life skills in a group or home setting, providing respite care in a home or at a care facility, delivering autism support in a group environment or residential space and other forms of delivery. The job opportunities are diverse and allow someone who has taken a special education assistant program in BC to choose the career that is right for them. Therefore, if working with adults who have developmental disabilities interests you, you’ll be able to find roles in those kinds of environments. The same goes for those who want to be in a more traditional educational setting and want to work with students.

Are you the right person to be an education assistant?

Obviously, given the varied needs of students and the environments that those who have taken an education assistant course may find themselves in, it’s impossible to define all the skills that will make for a successful career. However, there are some traits common to all people who have worked as special education assistants and thrived in the job.

You can also take this quiz to find out if you’re cut out to be a special education assistant.

Apart from having done a  education assistant diploma program in BC, those who excel in this career have an even-temperament and are pleasant-natured. They are creative, patient, confident and organized. Those with special needs can have behavioural issues that, for some, can be hard to cope with. Dealing with such students can get stressful. This is where patience and true love and passion for the job can pay off. For those that can manage the challenges, seeing their clients thrive and grow is the greatest reward there is.

Individuals who are great special education assistants believe in the integration of those who have special needs into all kinds of situations and environments. Those who excel in the career know that everyone has the right to learn, to belong and to be part of an inclusive community. Sometimes special education assistants are a student’s greatest advocate because they help the student develop skills that deliver a richer life.

How to become an education assistant

There are no two identical paths to becoming an education assistant as people have their own unique backgrounds that lead them to this profession. Some will have personal experience with friends or family members who have special needs while others will have a drive and certainty that this is their calling. Whatever led you to consider the role-taking a special education assistant program in BC is an ideal step in starting and working towards the career.

If you’re looking at becoming a special education assistant in B.C. you may want to look for a school that also offers an in-field practicum. Because the field of special education is so diverse, a practicum is essential to take concepts learned in class and apply them in the real world, while also figuring out which part of the field you like the best. Taking a special education assistant course also positions you ahead of those without the qualifications. It also gives you a greater ability to work in different jobs in the field and provides you with a stronger understanding of the challenges that may be faced within the job.

Employers look for several skills

When checking online job search sites for “Special Education Assistant” jobs, a range of opportunities pops up. The skills required include demonstrated ability to work with children identified with special needs, sign language ability, creativity, patience, understanding, reliability, organization skills. Some job postings ask for candidates with knowledge of childhood anxiety, ADHD, learning difficulties and other challenges.

The ability to create lesson plans and complete records for students is also common across job postings. These skills can be learned through an education assistant course in BC.

Those who want to make a difference in the world through their career may see themselves as a special education assistant. The job is in demand, and for those who are a good fit for the role, it is a career that is both challenging and fulfilling.


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