Education Assistant

Do you enjoy working with children? Do you want a rewarding career helping individuals with challenges achieve their full potential? Consider a career as an Education Assistant.

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    Delivery Method

    Delivery Method: In-Class or Combined Delivery

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    Duration: 40 weeks, including an 8-week practicum

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    Starts: Twice per year (March and August)

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    Credential: Diploma

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    Wages: Up to $27.44/hour

Do you enjoy working with children? Do you want a rewarding career helping individuals with challenges achieve their full potential? Consider a career as an Education Assistant.

Education Assistants assist elementary and secondary school teachers as they work with students who may require additional support for academic, ESL, behavioural, and special needs. Graduates of Stenberg’s Education Assistant program are prepared to work in both public and private schools, child care centers, community drop in centres and more.

There are few things in life as rewarding as helping individuals with challenges achieve their full potential. Education Assistants assist elementary and secondary school teachers to support students requiring special needs instruction. Stenberg’s Education Assistant Program produces graduates high in demand by school districts throughout British Columbia and Alberta.

The program is offered in a classroom- or online-based format, allowing you to choose the delivery method that best suits your learning style, lifestyle and schedule.

Please note that the job title “Educational Assistant” is growing in use and is replacing “Special Education Assistant”. The title “Teacher Assistant” is being used less as time goes on.

Stenberg College is accredited by the BC government’s Ministry of Advanced Education through the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB).

PTIB is responsible for setting standards of quality and ensuring consumer protection. Stenberg College has also received the BC government’s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation which is BC’s brand or “seal” of quality post-secondary education for both public and private institutions.

All of our programs are developed in collaboration with industry to meet their needs which is why our graduates are so successful.

Over 92% of our graduates are employed in their field of study within 6 months of graduation.

As an Education Assistant you’ll find opportunities for employment in: public school, catholic schools, private schools, after school programs, post-secondary institutions, child care centres, home schooling environments, community or youth drop-in centres, home-based therapy programs, residential settings, parks and recreation programs and other services in which educational programming is offered.

Based on employment statistics gathered by Stenberg College, the wage range of Education Assistants is $22.46 – $27.44 per hour in British Columbia and $18.51 – $30.18 in Alberta. In addition to salary, schools also offer competitive benefits (which may vary by school district).

The related national occupation classification number for Education Assistants is 6472.

  • Completion of Canadian Grade 12 or equivalent
  • Completion of English 12 with a grade C or higher or Communications 12 with a grade B or higher or alternate acceptable English assessment
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance examination – CAAT Level C – math testing with a score of 70% or higher
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance interview
  • Successful completion of a short written essay
  • Meeting English Language Requirements if English is a Second Language
  • Completion of a Criminal Record Consent Form under the Criminal Record Review Act

Prior to Program Admission, Program Advisors will outline practice education requirements for the program. Upon enrollment, students will be informed of next steps and timelines. Non-compliance could result in program dismissal. Requirements for practice education placements include:

  • Acceptable Criminal Record Search under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • In addition to the Criminal Record Search, Alberta students may be required to complete a Child Intervention Check
  • Proof of Immunity Status as required by industry
  • Acceptable Medical Examination Form completed by a physician

Program Advisors will work with students to obtain the following:

  • Proof of 50 hours of volunteer or paid experience working with children
  • Reference letter stating suitability to work with children
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have volunteer or paid experience working with children with special needs in school or related settings
Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description:

Orientation and Student Success Skills

This course will provide a comprehensive orientation to Stenberg College and the Special Education Assistant Program. During Orientation and Student Success Skills, you will explore transitioning as a college student, review learning styles, enhance critical thinking, and familiarize you with the resources available for your use. This course covers student success skills where you’ll learn effective study habits (specifically to improving both reading and writing skills) based on your own personal learning style. Life skills exercises are also integral to the course, teaching communication, accountability, teamwork, self-awareness and building an understanding of the impact you have on others.

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Computer Fundamentals

This course is designed to provide you with the computer skills required to work in a fast-paced environment. Throughout the course, you will use a simulated program to improve proficiency with the Internet, Windows environment, and Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel).

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Theory and Principles of Learning

The purpose of the Theory and Principles of Learning Course is for you to gain a general understanding and awareness of the brain and various types of teaching and learning strategies, focusing on the brain and how learning is developed. You will develop awareness for your own individual learning style; this will provide you with opportunities to explore various teaching and learning strategies used in classroom settings.

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Life Span Development

Human development will be explored from birth to late childhood and from adolescence to early adulthood. You’ll be guided through a brief, but intense, theoretical examination of the concepts and principles of human development, change, and diversity. Special emphasis will be placed on childhood and adolescent development issues in relation to learning, growth, and maturation. The biological, cognitive, and socio-emotional characteristics of development will be reviewed in each stage of growth. This course will focus on assisting you to develop awareness of the characteristics of children and adolescents at their various stages of development, and acquiring the skills for maintaining health and safety in a school environment.

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Supporting Students with Exceptionalities

It is vital to have a clear understanding on how to support students with exceptionalities. In this course, you will learn about behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical, and multiple exceptionalities that you may encounter as an SEA. In addition to this, you will learn about the history and philosophy of support, and associated theoretical, social, and ideological models. Emphasis will be placed on developing ethical and professional approaches to care as you gain skills to help you understand, respect, and promote the self-determination of individuals with exceptionalities.

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Observation and Recording

The purpose of this course is to provide you with a general understanding of the theory of observing and recording. In a classroom setting you’ll learn about the purpose, standards, influences, and methods used. You’ll develop an awareness of ethical and professional conduct through understanding the importance of confidentiality and an individual’s right to privacy. You’ll focus on the general characteristics of each recording method and apply your knowledge through group work focusing on classroom-based case studies. There will also be an opportunity for you to apply general observation principles and recording methods outside of the classroom setting with school-aged children.

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Supporting and Adapting Curriculum

You will examine the philosophy, goals, and content of curriculum in elementary and secondary schools, with a focus on English language arts, social studies, mathematics and science. You will then examine the role of the SEA and describe ways to support and adapt the curriculum under the supervision of the classroom teacher.

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Alternative and Augmentative Communication and Assistive Technology in the Classroom

In the Alternative and Augmentative Communication and Assistive Technology in the Classroom course you will gain an understanding of augmentative and alternative ways to communicate focusing on defining, implementing, and enhancing communication. You will explore alternative methods used in a classroom setting that support or replace typical communication. You will also further develop your communication skills and understanding of aided and unaided communication methods through participation in the American Sign Language Fundamentals workshop. There will be a focus on the general characteristics of each communication method and will apply your knowledge through group work. This course will also increase your awareness of assistive technologies as used by school children with special needs. You will discover the evolution of technology in the classroom and explore where technology is heading, and apply knowledge gained during a hands-on assistive technologies lab.

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Communication and Diversity in Family Systems

The Communication and Diversity course will provide you with the opportunity to examine your own values, beliefs, attitudes, and tolerance levels in relation to your role in supporting and assisting special education students. It will focus on theoretical and practical communication strategies, such as interviewing and feedback skills, to promote effective communication between yourself, students, and co-workers in the school environment. You will be encouraged to gain awareness of your own communication style and the challenges that other communication styles may pose. Coursework will also cover building healthy relationships and understanding child abuse, with an emphasis being placed on inclusive education within the school environment.

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Assisting Children with English as a Second Language/English as an Additional Language (ESL/EAL)

In this course, you will the identify policy and principles behind ESL/EAL programming and will examine assessment, the roles and responsibilities that government, school boards, and school staff have in ESL/EAL programs. You will then discover how to provide support for ESL/EAL learners, taking into consideration methodology, appropriate approaches, culture, diverse language needs, and student motivation.

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Applied Behaviour Analysis

The Applied Behaviour Analysis course seeks to provide you with a conceptual framework in which to assess, document, and respond to the behaviour of the students you will support in educational settings. A variety of contemporary approaches such as Lovaasian Applied Behaviour Analysis, Sensory Integration Therapy, Functional Analysis, and Operant Learning Theory will be discussed. You will review and apply concepts such as Discrete Trial Teaching and Content/Process Task Analysis as learning activities in the classroom setting using case studies provided by the Ministry of Education. The focus of this course will be to move you beyond an introductory level and to advance in the practical area of addressing behavioural issues.

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Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders

After reviewing Autism Spectrum Disorders, you will then examine the history of Applied Behaviour Analysis,
as well as other autism treatment models before moving into introductory application of ABA principles and skills through group work and case studies. This course also provides you with the opportunity to examine how ABA programs and developed, and the role that the SEA plays in supporting ABA programming.

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Applied Behaviour Analysis Part II

The main focus in ABA Part II is the application of hands-on training in discrete trial training, incidental teaching, pivotal response training, fluency building, and verbal behaviour. You will also discuss dynamics of problem behaviour, and how to overcome potential barriers in ABA programming.

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Working in Canadian Schools

You’ll explore the typical roles, duties, responsibilities, and practices of Special Education Assistants within school communities. Team approaches will be considered for enhancing your understanding of the school experience. Emphasis will be placed on a variety of educational settings, programs, and relationships that Special Education Assistants typically encounter.

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Personal Care

In this course, you’ll integrate the theory and practice of providing personal care for students who may have specialized needs. This course will include personal hygiene, oral care, assisting with bathroom routines, and proper body mechanics for lifting and transferring.

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Consolidated Practice Experience

The consolidated practice experience will provide you with the opportunity to apply your learned theory and practical skills in a school setting. Making connections between theory and practice is a vital aspect of learning; self-reflection and self-evaluation are important skills for continued professional growth and development. In addition to working in a school setting, you will post weekly entries in response to specific discussion topics on an online discussion forum. This online forum communication will provide an opportunity for critical reflection, thoughtful peer interaction and ongoing supervision by an assigned Stenberg College Forum Facilitator.

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Career Search Strategies

In this course, you learn to network effectively, prepare targeted resumes and cover letters, and follow up in your job search. You will also be provided with a personalized critique of your resume, cover letter, and online profiles and will be given the opportunity to practice and perfect interview skills.

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Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description.


You’ll receive Red Cross First Aid Certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Health Care Provider (HCP) and Automated External Defibrillation (AED). This industry standard certification is valid for three years.

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Managing Hostile Interactions

Hostile incidents are clearly on the increase in society today and more people find themselves presented with personally hurtful, intimidating hostile behaviour. Dealing effectively with hostile individuals takes energy and the careful application of a specific range of skills. In this certificate course, you will learn to manage yourself, defuse the person, and then address the problem.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behaviour Analysis Course Certificates of Participation (POPARD)

HR Departments from multiple school boards have confirmed that applicants with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behaviour Analysis Training and certification are favored for hiring. Furthermore, eligibility for internal postings will often rely on this training and certification.

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Assistive Technology Certificate of Course Participation

During this 25 hours of training, you will be given an overview of assistive technology, and examine how assistive technology can be effectively implemented in the classroom. You will also have the opportunity to use various types of technology that support participation, communication and learning in school environments during a hands-on lab.

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Personal & Professional Development Skills Certificate

Responding carefully to the needs of today’s employers, a series of Personal and Professional Development Workshops have been integrated throughout the program to develop critical thinking and soft skills. Workshops include Giving and Receiving Feedback, Conflict Resolutions, Active Listening, Providing Quality Service and Building Rapport, Leadership, and Employability Skills.

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American Sign Language (ASL) Fundamentals

This twelve-hour workshop introduces American Sign Language and the Deaf or Hard of Hearing community and provides you with the historical perspectives and evaluation of both. You’ll learn how to fingerspell the alphabet, perfect the signing of your name and progress in your signing skills through dialogue practice and performance. To receive the certificate for this training, there is testing to confirm basic receptive skills, signing skills, knowledge of ASL and the Deaf or Hard of Hearing community.

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Sensory Awareness

This workshop provides basic awareness on sensory issues and dysfunction. Practical strategies will be explored and you will generate unique strategies in supporting individuals with sensory needs.

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Board Maker

This workshop introduces you to the software tool Boardmaker. The program uses clip art of picture communication symbols which are used in creating printed communication boards, device overlays, worksheets, and schedules. Used mostly for to support non-verbal learners, Boardmaker can also be used to create a range of support documents including timetables, labels, schedules etc. for a single student or an entire class.

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In this workshop, you will be introduced to the SMARTboard technology. SMARTboard is a visual and interactive whiteboard that, through its touch-sensitive surface, gives you access to all the functions of your computer while presenting to your audience. You will learn when and how to apply this technology for the needs of the child you are supporting.

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Body Mechanics & Back Safety

You will be educated in proper body movement to prevent and correct poor posture, reduce stress on ligaments, joints and tendons and enhance physical capabilities. Proper body mechanics and back safety will enhance the longevity and success in the workplace and will help ensure that transfers and positioning are done in a manner that is safe and appropriate for everyone. Please note: While this training follows best practices, graduates may also be required to learn and follow workplace specific protocols.

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You could be eligible for Employment Insurance funding for education, government student loans, as well as other financing options; Stenberg’s Financial Aid Officer would be happy to provide further assistance.

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Stenberg College offers the Post-Basic Infant Toddler and Special Needs Early Childhood Educator Program (Dual Diploma) to those who have already completed an Early Childhood Education Basic (Certificate) level program.