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Aides in Pennsylvania


In Pennsylvania, there are two kinds of school aides/paraprofessionals who provide supports to students with disabilities: (1) instructional paraprofessionals; and (2) personal care assistants. Instructional paraprofessionals work under the direction of certified regular and special education teachers to support educational programming. They may provide group assistance or one-on-one support. Personal care assistants provide individual assistance in activities of daily living, organization, behavior support, personal care, and other non-instructional needs. Both kinds of paraprofessionals are regulated by state law.

Instructional paraprofessionals must be school employees. They may provide services in a special education class, regular education class, or other instructional setting as provided by the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). The state requires an instructional paraprofessional to have at least two years of post-secondary (college) study, an associate degree or higher, or pass a state or local assessment. Each year instructional paraprofessionals must complete 20 hours of staff development activities.

Personal care assistants may provide support to more than one student, but not at the same time. They must complete 20 hours of staff development training each year, but they have no other educational requirements.

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