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Education Support Professional Careers

ESPQ LogoThere are approximately 2.9 million Education Support Professionals in the United Sates.  Of these, approximately a half million are NEA members, and the number is growing rapidly.

NEA has developed a system of nine career groups and 60 career subgroups to help people understand and compare the diverse roles that support professionals play. One Education Workforce Serving The Whole Student!, a set of 11 attractive brochures, describes education support professional careers and the people who perform them. You can download copies of each career group by visiting their individual pages linked in the right column of this page.

For your reference, below is a chart of education support professional labor force data by career category in order of largest to smallest career labor force estimate.

2012 Estimated  Labor Force
(Full-time  and Part-time)*


Paraeducators 862,991

instructional and non-instructional support

Clerical Services 695,361

secretarial, clerical, and administrative support

Custodial & Maintenance Services 468,158 buildings and grounds maintenance and repair
Food Services 302,352 food planning, preparation, and service
Transportation Services 226,753 transportation and delivery services and vehicle maintenance
Technical Services 158,952 computer, audiovisual, and language technical support; media, public relations, writing, and art specialties
Skilled Trades Services 69,159

trades, crafts, and machine operators

Security Services 47,443

transportation and delivery services and vehicle maintenance

Health & Student Services 45,518 nursing, health, and therapy support; community, family, parent, and welfare services
Higher Ed


(included in above catgories)

All higher education ESP

Total K-12 and Higher Ed ESP


*Source: NEA ESP Data Book, December 2014. Numbers include both K-12 and Higher Ed employees, except total for Higher Ed classification.