The state of New Jersey does not have statewide regulations regarding the hiring of teaching assistants or aides. Instead the state leaves these decisions to the county boards of education. These boards then base guidelines around the requirements dictated by the 2001 No Child Left Behind regulations that control the distribution of Title I funds.
When you apply to become a teacher's assistant in the state of New Jersey, you must be prepared for a criminal background check and a health or physical test. New Jersey Statutes, not individual school districts, dictate this policy under Title 18A. Your criminal history record will be checked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Identification Division or the State Bureau of Identification.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 established a set of requirements for the hiring of paraprofessionals at all schools that receive Title 1 funding. To be a teacher's assistant you must have completed at least two years of higher education and have at least an associate's degree. In addition you must be able to pass a state or local examination demonstrating your knowledge and ability to assist in instructing students in reading, mathematics and writing.
Requirements within the state of New Jersey and federal guidelines dictate that paraprofessionals receive additional professional development. New Jersey formally adopted the ParaEducator network as the state's method of ensuring paraprofessionals stay up-to-date and consistently meet existing and new guidelines that dictate the distribution of federal education funds. The ParaEducator network and related programs are marketed directly to school districts.
After you meet the requirements and become a teacher's assistant, it is important to not overstep the boundaries of your position. This ensures that your ability to work as an aide is not jeopardized. An aide should only provide one-on-one tutoring if it is at a time a student would not typically receive assistance from a teacher. You may not provide instruction to a student or a classroom without the direct supervision of a certified teacher. You can assist with classroom management, act as a translator, provide assistance in a computer lab, conduct parental involvement activities and offer support in a school library. If you are asked to take over duties outside the scope of federal education laws, report the request to a school or school board administrator.
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