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NEA Paraeducator Member At-A-Glance



NEA Paraeducator Member Overview


Paraeducators make up 49% of NEA’s 500,000 Education Support Professional (ESP) members making NEA the largest representative of paraeducators in the country. Of the over 2.1 million ESPs in the total U.S. education workforce, over 760,000 are paraeducators.


NEA’s Paraeducators are:

Well-trained and experienced: Twenty-five percent have a two-year college degree, 25 percent a Bachelor’s degree, and 9 percent a Master’s, Professional, or higher degree.

Committed to students and their careers: Seventy-five percent have spent their own money to purchase food or school supplies for students. Eighty percent plan to stay in the ESP field, and 71 percent plan to stay in their current jobs until retirement. On average, NEA paraeducator ESPs have been working in public education for 12 years.

Active in the school community: Seventy-four percent live in the communities where they work. Forty two percent have supported a parent organization and 47 percent have volunteered to read books to students. Twenty-six percent have taught or supported art or musical activities. Twenty-nine percent have supported a school or tutoring program. Twenty-two percent have coached or supported a sports program.

Focused on safety: Eighty percent have job responsibilities promoting school safety. Ninety-seven percent believe it is their job to intervene when bullying occurs and 94 percent feel that they have effective strategies for handling bullying situations.



NEA Paraeducator Fast Facts


  • 58% work at preschool, kindergarten, or elementary levels.
  • 78% work with special education Students.
  • 83% work full-time.
  • 94% are female.
  • 78% are married.
  • The average age is 51.
  • We are 49% of the total NEA ESP Membership.



Paraeducator Careers


NEA Paraeducator Careers include, but are not limited to:

  • Instructional and Non-instructional Assistants;
  • Teachers’ and Program Aides;
  • Library Aides, Technicians, and Assistants;
  • Preschool Caregivers;
  • Building, Bus, and Playground Monitors;
  • Crossing Guards.

Source: NEA K-12 ESP Membership Survey, 2012