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Top 10 Instructional Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best certifications for instructional assistants, including requirements, costs, and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications for instructional assistants are important in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge that employers look for when hiring. Certified instructional assistants have proven their dedication to the profession by taking the time and effort to learn the necessary skills and obtain the credentials required. By having certifications, instructional assistants can stand out from other applicants who may not have them and be seen as more qualified for a position. Additionally, certifications can provide access to higher-level positions or help an individual secure a job at a desired school or district. Finally, many employers offer higher salaries to certified employees, making certification an attractive option for those looking to advance their career in education.

The purpose of this article is to review the various certifications available for Instructional Assistants and discuss how they can contribute to an instructional assistant's career.

What are Instructional Assistant Certifications?

Instructional assistant certification is a type of professional certification that is designed to help individuals who work as instructional assistants in educational settings. Instructional assistants, also known as teacher aides, paraprofessionals, and education technicians, provide support to teachers and students in classrooms and other learning environments. With this certification, instructional assistants can demonstrate their knowledge of the principles of effective teaching and learning and their ability to work with students of all ages.

Instructional assistant certification can help individuals advance in their profession by demonstrating an advanced level of competency and knowledge in the field of teaching. The certification process includes coursework that covers topics such as classroom management strategies, curriculum development, instructional strategies for diverse learners, assessment techniques, technology integration, and professional ethics. Upon successful completion of the program, instructional assistants are eligible for higher-level positions such as lead teacher or curriculum specialist. Additionally, those who hold an instructional assistant certification may be able to earn higher salaries than non-certified instructional assistants.

In addition to career advancement opportunities, holding an instructional assistant certification can also provide individuals with greater job security as they will be more qualified to compete for open positions in the field. Furthermore, having this credential may give employers greater confidence when hiring candidates for these positions due to its rigorous standards. Finally, it can also give individuals a sense of pride knowing that they have achieved a high level of professional recognition within their chosen field of study.

Pro Tip: When considering an instructional assistant certification, be sure to research the requirements for the specific program you are interested in. Different programs may have different requirements for completion and certification, such as courses or exams you must take, or experience you must gain before becoming certified.

Related: What does an Instructional Assistant do?

Top 10 Instructional Assistant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Instructional Assistants today.

1. Certified Instructional Assistant (CIA)

A Certified Instructional Assistant (CIA) is a professional certification offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The CIA certification is designed to recognize instructional assistants who have demonstrated mastery of the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively support instruction in the classroom.

To become certified as a CIA, applicants must complete an application process that includes submitting evidence of their qualifications and passing a written exam. The application process typically takes between 3-6 months to complete, depending on the applicant’s experience and preparation.

The cost of becoming a CIA varies depending on the state or region in which you are applying. Generally, it costs around $200-$400 to apply for the certification, plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam.

Once you have completed all requirements and passed your exam, you will receive your official Certified Instructional Assistant (CIA) certificate from NBPTS.

2. Certified Education Assistant (CEA)

Certified Education Assistant (CEA) is a certification program designed to prepare individuals for a career in the field of education. The CEA program focuses on providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to work as an assistant in a variety of educational settings, including elementary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary institutions, and other educational organizations.

The CEA program typically takes four months to complete. The program consists of both online and in-person courses that cover topics such as classroom management, curriculum development, assessment techniques, and instructional strategies. Upon completion of the coursework, students must pass an exam to become certified.

To get Certified Education Assistant (CEA) certification, individuals must first complete all required coursework. After completing the coursework, individuals must then register for the CEA exam through their local education authority or through an approved testing center. Once registered for the exam, individuals will be given access to study materials and practice tests to help them prepare for the exam.

The cost of getting Certified Education Assistant (CEA) certification varies depending on where you take your courses and exams. Generally speaking, however, it can range from $200-$800 USD depending on what type of institution you are taking your classes through or where you are taking your exams at.

3. National Tutoring Association Certification (NTA)

The National Tutoring Association (NTA) Certification is a professional credential that recognizes tutors who have demonstrated expertise in their field. It is designed to give tutors the recognition they deserve and to ensure that they are providing quality instruction.

To obtain the NTA certification, tutors must meet certain educational and experience requirements, including having at least a bachelor’s degree or higher in any field, teaching experience, and completing an approved tutor training program. Once these requirements are met, tutors can take the NTA certification exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as learning styles, instructional strategies, assessment techniques, classroom management and more. The exam typically takes about two hours to complete.

To get certified by the NTA, applicants must pass the certification exam with a score of 70% or higher. Once certified, tutors will receive an official certificate from the NTA that is valid for three years.

The cost of obtaining NTA certification varies depending on the type of program you choose to take for your tutor training. Generally speaking, most programs range from $200-$500 USD.

4. Special Education Instructional Assistant Certification (SEIAC)

Special Education Instructional Assistant Certification (SEIAC) is a certification program designed to prepare special education instructional assistants to work in the classroom with students who have disabilities. The SEIAC program provides instruction and training in the areas of communication, behavior management, instructional strategies, and other topics related to working with students with disabilities.

The SEIAC program is offered by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). It takes approximately six months to complete the program and receive your certification. To get certified, you must first complete an approved course of study that includes both online and face-to-face instruction. After completing the coursework, you must pass a written exam and submit a portfolio of evidence demonstrating your knowledge and skills in working with students with disabilities.

The cost for the SEIAC certification program varies depending on where you take it. Generally speaking, the cost ranges from $500-$1,000 for tuition plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam or submitting a portfolio.

5. Teacher Aide Certificate Program (TACP)

The Teacher Aide Certificate Program (TACP) is an online program designed to provide education and training for individuals who are interested in becoming a teacher's aide. The program is offered by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). It consists of four courses, which must be completed within two years.

The first course covers basic teaching skills such as classroom management, communication, and instructional strategies. The second course focuses on curriculum development and assessment. The third course covers special education topics such as working with students with disabilities or special needs. The fourth course provides an introduction to educational technology and its applications in the classroom.

To get the certificate, you must complete all four courses within two years and pass a final exam. You can take each course at your own pace, but you must complete all four courses within two years to receive the certificate.

The cost of the TACP program varies depending on where you take it. Generally, it will cost between $400-$800 USD for all four courses.

6. American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC)

The American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) is a non-profit, independent certification organization that provides third-party verification of the competency and quality of professionals in the indoor environmental industry. It is dedicated to providing certification programs that meet or exceed industry standards and are based on best practices. ACAC certifications are recognized throughout the world as a mark of excellence in the indoor environmental profession.

To become certified by ACAC, applicants must pass an examination that tests their knowledge and skills related to the specific certification they are seeking. The length of time it takes to complete the exam depends on the individual’s experience level and background knowledge. Generally, it takes between two and four hours to complete the exam.

In order to get certified by ACAC, applicants must first submit an application form with all required documentation and fees. Once approved, applicants will be provided with information about how to register for their chosen exam. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their certification card from ACAC.

The cost of getting certified by ACAC varies depending on which type of certification is being sought. Generally speaking, basic certifications start at around $200 USD while advanced certifications can range up to $500 USD or more.

7. Paraprofessional Educator Certificate Program (PECP)

The Paraprofessional Educator Certificate Program (PECP) is a professional development program designed to improve the quality of paraprofessional educators in public schools. This program provides paraprofessionals with the skills, knowledge, and strategies needed to support student learning and achievement. The PECP is offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

The PECP consists of three components: an online course, a field experience, and a portfolio review. The online course covers topics such as classroom management, instructional strategies, assessment techniques, and collaboration with other educators. The field experience involves working with students in an actual classroom setting. During this time, paraprofessionals are expected to demonstrate their ability to use the concepts learned during the online course in real-world settings. Finally, the portfolio review requires paraprofessionals to submit evidence of their work in order to be awarded the certificate.

It typically takes around six months to complete all three components of the PECP program. To get started on your PECP certification journey, you must first apply for admission through NBPTS’s website. Once accepted into the program, you will be required to pay a fee of $250 for access to all three components of the program.

The cost of completing the PECP varies depending on how much time it takes you to complete each component and any additional expenses associated with your field experience (such as transportation costs). However, many states offer financial assistance programs that can help offset some or all of these costs.

8. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certified Educational Aide (NBPT-CEA)

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certified Educational Aide (NBPT-CEA) is a certification program designed to recognize the professional knowledge and skills of educational aides in public, private, and parochial schools. The program is administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

It typically takes about two years to complete the NBPT-CEA certification process. To become certified, applicants must first meet the eligibility requirements, which include having at least two years of experience as an educational aide and completing a minimum of 30 hours of professional development activities. After meeting these requirements, applicants must pass a written exam that covers topics such as classroom management, instructional strategies, student assessment and evaluation, curriculum development, and cultural diversity.

Once applicants have passed the exam, they are eligible to apply for certification. The application fee for certification is $150 and includes an additional $25 processing fee. Applicants must also submit official transcripts from their college or university showing completion of at least 30 semester hours of coursework in education or related fields.

Once all required materials have been submitted, applicants will be notified within three weeks if they have been approved for certification. Upon approval, applicants will receive their certificate in the mail within four to six weeks.

9. International Association of Administrative Professionals Instructional Aide Certification (IAAP-IAC)

The International Association of Administrative Professionals Instructional Aide Certification (IAAP-IAC) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of administrative professionals. The program is designed to provide instructional aides with the necessary skills and knowledge to assist in the delivery of quality instruction in a variety of settings.

The IAAP-IAC certification requires successful completion of a three-hour online exam, which covers topics such as classroom management, instructional design, and assessment. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and requires a passing score of 80%. Upon successful completion, candidates will receive an official IAAP-IAC certificate.

It typically takes two to four weeks to prepare for the IAAP-IAC exam. Candidates can access study materials and practice tests through the IAAP website or purchase them from third-party vendors. It is recommended that candidates review all material prior to taking the exam.

To get certified, applicants must register for the IAAP-IAC exam online at www.iaapcertification.org/register/. Once registered, applicants will receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to access their online account and take the exam.

The cost for the IAAP-IAC certification is $150 USD per person plus applicable taxes or fees. This fee includes access to study materials, practice tests, and one attempt at taking the certification exam.

10. Education Support Professional Credential Program (ESPCP)

The Education Support Professional Credential Program (ESPCP) is a professional development program designed to recognize and reward the knowledge, skills, and abilities of education support professionals. The credential is awarded by the National Education Association (NEA) and is recognized nationally as a mark of excellence in the field of educational support services.

The ESPCP consists of three levels: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each level requires different levels of experience and training. To earn the Basic credential, applicants must have a minimum of two years' experience in an educational support role, have completed at least 15 hours of professional development activities related to their job duties within the past two years, and pass an online assessment. The Intermediate credential requires five years' experience in an educational support role, completion of at least 30 hours of professional development activities related to their job duties within the past five years, and passing an online assessment. The Advanced credential requires ten years' experience in an educational support role, completion of at least 45 hours of professional development activities related to their job duties within the past ten years, and passing an online assessment.

The process for earning each level takes approximately six weeks from start to finish. Applicants must first submit their application materials which include proof of work experience and completion of professional development activities along with payment for the application fee. Once all materials are received by NEA they will review them for eligibility before scheduling the online assessment. Upon successful completion of the assessment applicants will receive their ESPCP credentials via mail or email within four weeks after taking the exam.

The cost for each level varies depending on membership status with NEA. For non-members it costs $100 per level while members pay $50 per level plus a one-time processing fee of $25 upon initial application submission regardless if they are members or not.

Do You Really Need a Instructional Assistant Certificate?

When considering whether or not you need an Instructional Assistant Certificate, it is important to consider the type of job you are looking for and the requirements of the position. An Instructional Assistant Certificate can be beneficial for those who are looking to work in educational settings such as elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and universities. The certificate can provide evidence of knowledge and skills necessary for working with students in educational environments.

The Instructional Assistant Certificate can also be beneficial for those who are interested in pursuing a career as a teacher. The certificate provides evidence of knowledge and experience necessary to teach effectively in an educational setting. It also demonstrates that the individual has acquired the necessary skills to handle various teaching tasks such as creating lesson plans, conducting assessments, managing student behavior, and providing support to teachers.

Moreover, having an Instructional Assistant Certificate can make you more attractive to employers when applying for jobs in education-related fields. Having the certification shows that you have taken initiative and invested time into learning about instructional practices and procedures. It also demonstrates your commitment to furthering your education which is a quality that employers look for when hiring new employees.

In conclusion, whether or not you need an Instructional Assistant Certificate depends on what type of job you’re looking for and the requirements of the position. If you’re seeking a job in an educational environment or if you’re interested in becoming a teacher then obtaining this certification may be beneficial for your career prospects.

Related: Instructional Assistant Resume Examples

FAQs About Instructional Assistant Certifications

1. What is an Instructional Assistant Certification?

Answer: An Instructional Assistant Certification is a credential that certifies individuals to provide instructional support in educational settings, such as classrooms, libraries, and computer labs.

2. How do I become certified as an Instructional Assistant?

Answer: In order to become certified as an Instructional Assistant, you must complete a training program approved by the state in which you wish to work. Depending on the state, this may involve taking courses or passing exams.

3. Are there any continuing education requirements for Instructional Assistants?

Answer: Yes, most states require Instructional Assistants to complete continuing education courses in order to maintain their certification.

4. What types of jobs can I get with an Instructional Assistant Certification?

Answer: With an Instructional Assistant Certification, you may be able to find employment in schools or other educational environments as a teacher’s aide, library assistant, computer lab assistant, or other similar positions.

5. Is it possible to transfer my certification from one state to another?

Answer: Yes, depending on the policies of the states involved it may be possible for you to transfer your certification from one state to another if you move or wish to work in a different state.

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