Special Education Teaching Assistant Program

The teaching assistant works under the direction of classroom or resource teachers and gives special attention to kindergarten to grade 12 students with physical, learning, or emotional needs by implementing individualized or group instruction in communication skills, life skills, behavioural management techniques and adaptive physical education. They assist in the modification of curriculum, assignments and tests to accommodate students with special needs. Teacher Assistants may attend to and provide personal assistance to students in toileting, positioning, mobility, feeding, grooming and dressing, as well as assist in transferring students to and from wheelchairs, desks, special equipment and work areas.

This program includes practicum placement. This experience within a workplace enables instructional staff to observe the student in a practice situation while providing the student with the opportunity to gain direct exposure to the chosen career field.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will be able to:

  • Effectively support and advocate inclusionary practices for all students kindergarten to grade 12 with a wide range of abilities
  • Use appropriate technology to support students with a wide range of abilities
  • Apply practical knowledge of adapted and modified materials to transfer a student’s Individual Education Plans (IEP) into appropriate and meaningful activities
  • Support a work atmosphere of team collaboration with teachers, parents, and students

Diploma Program

Total Program Hours:
900 Hours
Full-Time Program Length:
43 Weeks
(Includes holidays and professional days)
Program content is subject to change.

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Career Opportunities

After School Tutor
Home Support
Program Assistant
Respite Care
Special Education Assistant
Teachers Assistant
Youth Care Worker
Admission Requirements:
  • Grade 12 / GED or mature student status (all transcripts must be “true certified copies” or originals)
  • Applicants must successfully complete the admissions interview and may be required to do an entrance assessment (with a minimum composite score of 42)

Note: English level assessment will be required for international students (with a minimum score of 20/40 in language).


Applicants for this program must also have excellent communication skills (composition), sign a criminal/medical waiver, obtain a satisfactory certificate of health from a physician, submit a criminal record check (must be Public Safety & Solicitor General Schedule B), and provide evidence of clear TB testing prior to acceptance. (All must be done no more than three months before the start date of the program).

Note: Grade 12 may be required for some employment opportunities.

Diploma Requirements:
  • 70% average upon successful completion of all courses. CPR, First Aid, Crisis Prevention (CPI Certified) and FoodSafe will be completed during the program.
Where are our graduates working?

Sprott Shaw College graduates are working across the province. We have had students working in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Mission, Chilliwack School Districts and more. Many are hired right from practicum (included in the program) because the need is so great. If for any reason you need assistance finding employment after graduation, we offer Employment Services for life at each of our 16 campuses.

A career in BC’s public education sector offers an incredible amount of opportunity for growth and advancement. Whether you are interested in classroom, business, health or support positions, you can find your future and make it your own. Learn more about the breadth of positions in the education sector and what you need to start making a future in BC’s classrooms. Click here to view the Make a Future job board.

* Special Education Teaching Assistant Program was reviewed and approved by the registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training.

Students can expect to complete one to three hours of homework per day.

Courses List

This 43 week Diploma program requires the student to complete the following courses.

  • Adolescent development
  • At-risk youth issues

  • Infection control
  • Feed, toilet and safely lift a child with a disability

  • Autism
  • ABC Model (antecedents, behavior, consequences)

  • The process of learning and maturation, child growth and development
  • Cultural, economic, and generational influences on development
  • Schedule B needed for child observations in childcare centres
  • See EC100 course outline for details on applying for ECE Assistant Certificate

  • Computer basics/file management
  • Goal setting, note-taking, problem-solving, teamwork
  • Overview of policies and procedures
  • Demonstrate the ability to use MS Word and MS PowerPoint

  • Interview techniques
  • Create a Career Development Marketing Plan
  • Apply aspects of professionalism
  • Identify target markets and employment resources
  • Specialty program coverage in this shortened version

  • Describe how special education has developed and evolved in Canada
  • Describe the working relationships between teachers and teacher assistants
  • Explain common interventions used with exceptional children

  • Gain a basic understanding of what an IEP is and how it is written
  • List the components of an IEP and provide examples of each one
  • Provide examples of accommodations, adaptations and modifications that can be used in a classroom

  • Explore children with exceptionalities in the classroom
  • Identify their intellectual, emotional, physical or social performance and provides an understanding of how to support these students in the classroom

  • Explore children with exceptionalities in the classroom
  • Identify their intellectual, emotional, physical or social performance and provides an understanding of how to support these students in the classroom

  • Increase sensitivity to and understanding of others by becoming other-oriented
  • Develop effective means of communication - listening, attending, paraphrasing, providing feedback and understanding of perceptions

  • Apply the principles of universal design to the environment
  • Identify varied types of assistive devices for disabilities

  • Define at-risk and at-risk continuum
  • Describe risk factors and characteristics of at-risk youth
  • Describe critical school competencies and life skills

  • Explain the role of income security programs
  • Describe approaches to children's social welfare
  • First Nations, Residential Schools, Indian Act, Immigration Policy and Independent Living Movement

  • Etiology, symptoms and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, and Behavioural Disorders
  • Eating Disorders, Attachment, Dual Diagnosis, Concurrent Disorder

  • Stress management
  • Self-awareness
  • Assertiveness training
  • Crisis Prevention - (CPI Certified)

  • Elementary school
  • 4-week practicum experience

  • Middle/high school
  • 4-week practicum experience
We'd love to connect with you to help you become a Sprott Shaw graduate. Visit a campus, request info or apply today.
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