What Is a Paraprofessional Test?
Paraprofessionals work in a variety of fields and offer assistance to lawyers, doctors, teachers and other professionals. To become a paraprofessional, you will need to have a good deal of knowledge in the field you are interested in, and many jobs will require you to pass a test or be certified. Read on for more information about paraprofessional tests.
Careers that Qualify for Paraprofessional Tests
A paraprofessional is someone who is trained to professionally assist in a specific occupational field. For example, a teacher's assistant is a paraprofessional in the education field. In this career, a licensed professional must supervise you. You are expected to have practical and theoretical knowledge of the professional field in which you work. There are several fields you may work in, including education, law, health care and accounting. To work in many of these fields, you will be required to complete an academic program as well as passing an exam.
Important Facts About Paraprofessional Tests
|Test Type||Teacher's Assistant||Paralegal||Medical Assistant|
|Prerequisites||2 years of college or associate's degree||Graduate of an ABA-accredited paralegal program or have bachelor's degree with 1 year experience as a paralegal||Graduate of accredited MA program|
|Test Prep Options||Free online study materials available from ETS, as well as for-pay programs||Practice tests are available online for a fee||Online outline covers exam content; review courses may be offered locally|
|Key Skills||Communication, resourcefulness, patience||Communication, organization, research||Analytical, detail-oriented, interpersonal|
|Continuing Education||Depending on the state, TA's may be required to complete professional development courses||Paralegals must complete 50 hours of CE credits to maintain their certification||MA's can maintain their certification by examination or by completing 60 points worth of CE credits|
|Median Salary (2018)||$26,970 (Teacher Assistants) |
$50,940 (Paralegals and Legal Assistants)
$33,610 (Medical Assistants)
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||8% growth (Teacher Assistants) |
15% growth (Paralegals and Legal Assistants)
29% growth (Medical Assistants)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Teacher's Assistant Test Options
The ParaPro Assessment is one option for paraeducator certification. This test lasts 2.5 hours, consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and measures competencies in math, reading and writing. Another option is the WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate for Teacher Assistants offered by ACT. This test also covers reading, writing and math. Some states may have their own certification testing for teacher's assistants. New York has a certification for education paraprofessionals called the Assessment of Teaching Assistant Skills (ATAS). The ATAS is a multiple-choice test that covers reading, writing, math and teaching instruction.
Testing Options for Paralegals
If you are a prospective paralegal, you can take a nationally recognized certification exam from the Association of Legal Assistants. This exam is split into five sections and will test you on communication skills, legal research, ethics, substantive law and analytical abilities. The National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA) also offers nationally recognized certifications in the field. The NALA offers the Certified Paralegal designation that tests you in the areas of communication, ethics, legal research, analytical thinking and substantive law.
Medical Assistant and Technician Testing Options
Medical assistants and medical technicians can receive certification by passing exams administered by organizations like the Association of Medical Technologists (AMT) and the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The AMT offers multiple-choice tests with test questions based on the specialty area in which you are testing. The AAMA offers a medical assisting certification test that covers anatomy, professionalism, communications, psychology, medical regulations and laws, administrative tasks, medical terminology and clinical tasks.
Paraprofessional status may differ by state and profession. For example, California has a certification program for nutrition assistants who work with clients of the state's WIC program. Some schools offer degree programs that prepare students for paraprofessional positions in libraries, and the curricula of these programs prepares students for the American Library Association's Library Support Staff Certification. State agencies and professional groups are often good resources for locating paraprofessional exams that could give you an edge in the job market.