The authors queried 336 paraeducators working in 34 high schools or special programs offering transitional services for adult students with disabilities. The survey included (a) the contexts in which they support students with disabilities, (b) their knowledge about core competencies in educating these students, (c) the job-related tasks they perform most frequently, (d) their perceived ability to perform these tasks effectively, and (e) their need for further training across these knowledge and task areas. The study replicated a study conducted by Carter, O'Rourke, Sisco, and Pelsue (2009) surveying paraeducators working in K-12 settings. The authors found that paraeducators worked with a broad range of disabilities in multiple types of transitional school or program settings, with moderate supervision using varied types of teaching strategies, and they received most of their training on the job. Although most paraeducators reported having adequate training across knowledge standards, the quality of training received was reported as informal. Reported tasks performed most frequently were nontransition related. Preparing for transition and IEP plans were less frequently performed and trained for; while tasks less pertinent to students in transitional settings were more frequently performed and prepared for such as one-to-one instruction. Supervision under a certified teacher was reported to be moderately occurring (less than 50% of the time). Future research and development of standards for transitional paraeducators working with adults with disabilities is recommended. Identification of needed specific skills should be coupled with more formal training.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





paraprofessionals, paraeducator, transition, special education, students with disabilities, job coaches, knowledge standards, tasks, responsibilities, training