Paraprofessionals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are assistants or aides who work in the classroom alongside teachers. A paraprofessional educator may assist students, perform clerical duties for the teacher or monitor students at play or in the lunchroom. Teacher assistants may grade homework, operate equipment or record attendance. Paraprofessionals in Missouri earned salaries below the national average, according to the report published by the BLS in May 2010.
The BLS estimates that as of May 2010, there were 1,249,380 paraprofessionals nationwide with average earnings of $24,880 annually. The highest paid 10 percent earned at least $36,130, and the lowest paid 10 percent earned $16,510 or less.
Within the state of Missouri, the BLS estimates that 17,740 paraprofessional educators earned an annual average wage of $22,510 as of May 2010.
Missouri Areas with Highest Average Salaries
The St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas offered the highest average annual salaries, $24,570 and $22,590, respectively, according to the May 10 data published by the BLS. In the greater St. Louis area, 10 percent earned $17,090 or less and 10 percent earned $35,750 or more. In the greater Kansas City area, 10 percent earned no more than $16,090 and 10 percent earned at least $26,920. Average salaries were $21,920 in the greater Jefferson City area; $21,740 in the Springfield metropolitan area; $21,300 in the greater Cape Girardeau area; and $20,600 in the Columbia metropolitan area.
Missouri Areas with Lowest Average Salaries
Paraprofessionals in the Joplin metropolitan area earned the lowest average salary, $18,420, in the state, according to the BLS’ May 2010 report. In the North Missouri non-metropolitan area, salaries averaged $19,040, while those in the Central Missouri non-metropolitan area earned $19,250. Teacher assistants in the Fayetteville-Rogers-Springdale area of Arkansas and Missouri earned an average annual salary of $19,450.
Requirements for Missouri Paraprofessionals
The state of Missouri requires paraprofessionals to have either a high school diploma or GED and to meet at least one of three additional qualifications. The applicant must possess at least an associate’s degree, have completed a minimum of two years of post-secondary education or demonstrate knowledge of appropriate subjects. The state waives the qualifications for paraprofessionals who work primarily as translators or only conduct parental activities.