Special Education Paraeducator


Special Education is an important and exciting career for persons interested in the education of young children and students with disabilities. Northampton Community College’s Special Education Program prepares students to meet the competencies and qualifications established by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) and related state laws and standards. The program is grounded in a philosophy and framework that values diversity, equity, and inclusive practices, provides multiple family and disability perspectives, collaborative relationships, and emphasizes evidence-based practices and effective educational approaches, including Universal Design for Learning (UDL).



Graduates of the Special Education A.A. program are qualified to: transfer to a 4 year college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree and/or teacher certification in special education; enter the workforce prepared in the competencies to be employed as a special education paraeduator in education settings. These settings include classrooms that support children of varying abilities from pre-k through age 21.



Graduates will be able to:

  • Explain the philosophy, history, framework, legal requirements and processes, and special education perspectives through the lens of equity.
  • Apply knowledge of child development and individual differences across learning content and learning environments using universal design for learning (UDL) and inclusive practices.
  • Use knowledge of appropriate multiple and varied assessments, technologies, strategies, and supports within a universally designed and inclusive framework to plan and make educational decisions that are instructionally responsive and equitable.
  • Explain and use a variety of evidence-based instructional strategies to support the learning of individuals with varying abilities.
  • Describe and explain the role and nature of culturally relevant, collaborative relationships among families, educators, paraeducators, service providers, learners with varying abilities, and others across a wide range of settings.
  • Explain and use appropriate and respectful language and professional and ethical practices, to support critical thinking, positive communications, and advance the profession.
  • Practice being an advocate, a role model, and supporter of learners of varying abilities by upholding high professional standards in diverse educational environments.


 A student must maintain a grade of "C" or better in all Special Education courses.


Transfer Information

This AA in Special Education provides a pathway to transfer to a four-year college or university where students can earn a baccalaureate degree and apply for their teacher licensure. Students are strongly encouraged to select a transfer destination as soon as possible. Students should consult with their chosen transfer institution regarding recommended courses that will transfer and be applied to their baccalaureate degree program. These are some of the places NCC students transfer frequently to, although students may transfer to a wide variety of institutions.

  • East Stroudsburg University
  • Kutztown University
  • Bloomsburg University
  • DeSales University

Career Information: NCC’s associate degree program focuses on hands-on experiences and ongoing field-work, allowing students to get excited about their future from the start. The associate degree transfers smoothly into a baccalaureate level education special education teacher certification program. All courses can be completed online.

NCC students are employed by: Intermediate Units, Early Childhood Centers, School Districts