What will I learn?

The associate in arts degree in special education para-educator/instructional assistant is designed as a two-year curricular pathway that offers students a broad general education while integrating an in-depth study of the skills and knowledge required to work with people with various disabilities in a variety of educational and related rehabilitation settings. The courses are intended to introduce students to career opportunities in special education or other disability related fields, and can provide preparation for transfer to four-year institutions to continue their course of study in general education and special education. Classes are designed to serve working individuals wishing to improve their applied skills and professional growth. To earn a degree, students must complete each course used to meet a major requirement with a “C” grade or higher. Required courses are available in the evening and during the day. Certain courses may satisfy both major and general education requirements; however, the units are only counted once. Students who intend to transfer to a four-year program in education/teacher preparation should consult with a counselor regarding specific requirements.

Students completing the program will be able to...

A. analyze state and federal legislation pertaining to general and special education.

B. use a variety of instruction strategies and materials that respect individual differences.

C. understand how culture affects relationships among children, families, and schooling.

Possible career opportunities

Students who earn a special education para-educator/instructional assistant certificate of achievement or degree are prepared for entry-level employment assisting students and individuals with disabilities in education and rehabilitation settings.

Which department am I in?

Diablo Valley College

Study options

Full Time (2 years)

Tuition fees
US$7,223.00 per year
Tuition and fees based on 12 units
Start date

Expected August 2019


Diablo Valley College

Pleasant Hill Campus,

321 Golf Club Road,



94523, United States

Entry requirements

For international students

In order to be admitted to DVC, you must have graduated from high school (or have a high school graduation equivalent) or be 18 years of age by the beginning of your first semester. Official high school transcripts are required if you will be under 18 years of age at the beginning of your first semester. We recommend everyone submit high school and college transcripts regardless of age as you may have already met specific academic requirements.

English proficiency

Internet based TOEFL (IBT) - 61, Paper based TOEFL (PBT) - 500, IELTS - academic test: 5.5, iTEP - 3.5, International Education Center (IEC) - Completion of advanced B level certificate, ELS Centers - Completion of EAP level 109 certificates.

Find your nearest IELTS test centre and test dates

There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.