Serving more than 345,000 students as of 2011, the Miami-Dade County Public School District is the fourth-largest in the United States. The school district employs paraprofessionals to assist licensed teachers in the classroom. The Miami-Dade County Public School District publishes detailed job requirements for its various types of paraprofessionals, in adherence with the minimum qualifications established by state and federal laws.
All general paraprofessionals employed by the Miami-Dade School District must have a high school diploma or GED. In addition, candidates must show proof of having completed 60 credits of postsecondary education at an accredited college or university. An associate degree is substitutable for the credits. The degree or courses can be in any field. Applicants for paraprofessional positions must pass a criminal background check. Manual dexterity and enough physical strength to perform tasks like bending, stooping and kneeling is necessary.
The Miami-Dade Public School District offers advancement opportunities for general paraprofessionals into the Paraprofessional II and Paraprofessional III positions. Advancement into the level II job does not require any additional training or education beyond the general qualifications; promotions into the posts are based on performance and experience. To become a Paraprofessional III, candidates must complete 90 credit hours of college-level coursework in a bachelor's-level program. At least 15 of these credits must relate specifically to education.
Pre-K and Montessori Paraprofessionals
The Miami-Dade Public School District has a different set of requirements for paraprofessionals who work in its voluntary prekindergarten and Montessori classrooms. As with general paraprofessionals, having a high school diploma or GED and passing a background check are mandatory. Candidates must also have either an associate degree or at least 60 credits of college education in any field. In addition, prekindergarten paraprofessionals must complete a 40-hour training course within 90 days of being hired by a Miami-Dade public school.
The Miami-Dade County Public School District also features additional paraprofessionals jobs for specific types of classrooms. In some fields, such as behavioral support for special-needs classrooms, the requirements are identical to those for general teacher's aides. Other specialties carry additional requirements. For example, bilingual paraprofessionals must show proof of native-level foreign language abilities. Paraprofessionals for classrooms in Miami's vocational high schools must have previously graduated from a secondary or postsecondary vocational program themselves.