Education Assistant

Education Assistants work with K-12 students with special physical, behavioural or learning needs. Ridge Meadows College Education Assistant Program will prepare you for supporting students in mainstream learning assistance, resource room, English Literacy, and alternate settings. There will be two weeks of Directed Observation during school hours, and a four week practicum during school hours.

This is a full-time program with a significant workload. Regular attendance, participation, and completion of assignments is of the utmost importance.  Courses take place in-person on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in the evening and Saturday (daytime) classes about twice per month.

Successful graduates of the program will be considered for an interview with School District 42.

Academic Requirements:

  • Completion of Grade 12 (or equivalent) or 19 years of age or older.

English Language Requirement:

  • Completion of English 12, or equivalent, or a satisfactory demonstration of written and verbal English ability as determined by the College (View the college’s complete English Language Requirements)

Application Requirements:

  • Completion of Application form.
  • A hand-written, one-page letter / statement about why you feel you are a good candidate (to include any experience dealing with children, youth, or persons with special needs).
  • Two letters of reference, preferably from professionals in education, special needs programs, child care, recreation, or community service.
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Resume
  • Successful Interview with Program Chair

Apply Now



Assets for Applicants

  • Volunteer or work experience with children or youth in school settings (K – 12)
  • Volunteer or work experience with children, youth, or adults with special needs
  • Familiarity with the various roles of education assistants in the school system
  • Strong numeracy and academic aptitude
  • Post-secondary courses in education psychology, special needs, or health care
  • Other training related to heath care, child care, behavioural support, or home support

September Intake (2024)

  • Applications are open! 
    Registration ends August 15, 2024.

Program Fees

Program Fees for the 2024-25 academic year are as follows:

  • Application Fee: $30
  • Deposit upon acceptance to the program: $1,000
  • Total Program Fees (including books and deposit): $8,700
  • A Technology and Library fee of $120 for the length of program will also apply*

Course Instalment Plans (CIPs) to pay program fees monthly, are available for students meeting certain conditions.  This program is not applicable for student loans.

Selection Process

A limited number of applicants will be accepted to the program. Class size each year is limited so selection into the program is based on a competitive process.

Applicants are evaluated on their initial application package. Selected applicants will be screened through further written and personal interviews, focusing on the following criteria:

  • completeness of the application, including both references and hand-written letter
  • relevant work and/or volunteer experience, especially with people with special needs or in K – 12 classrooms
  • strength of the hand-written statement in terms of content, clarity, and writing skills
  • related prior education and other applicable academic qualifications
  • demonstrated understanding of the role of an education assistant preparedness for the program’s demanding schedule

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of program instructors and college administration. Their decisions regarding applications are final and not subject to appeal.

Some minor changes are being considered for the program that will begin in September, 2024.  As a result the exact course list below may change.

Education Assistant - Semester 1

Course CodeCourse NameHours
EDAS 1100Introduction to Inclusive Education24This course is a prerequisite for all other core courses in the Education Assistant program. This course teaches students:

· Understanding roles and responsibilities of Educational Assistants
· Introduction to Ministry Designations and funding
· Integration vs. inclusion
· Collaboration, communication, problem solving and teamwork (planning, implementing, and supporting)
· Differences in support models - Supporting students in elementary and secondary settings
· Differences in learners - learning styles and multiple intelligences
· Roles of other education personnel such as BCTF, CUPE, BCSTA and the Ministry of Education
· Understanding school cultures
· Ethics and professionalism
EDAS 1200Interpersonal Communication Skills30This course provides an introduction to foundational attitudes and behaviours which foster communication between individuals and within groups. The course is presented with a practice component, allowing students to strengthen these attitudes and behaviours through learning exercises. Interpersonal communication is a people process, rather than merely a language process and is concerned with the relational message as well as the content of the message. This course is focused primarily on communication skills for workplace environments.
EDAS 1300Child Development - Infancy to Adolescence36This course will focus on factors which influence child growth and development from pre-conception through adolescence. Students will learn about developmental theories, brain development, developmental domains, developmental milestones, observation and reflection, influences on development, and supporting and guiding development.
EDAS 1120Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom42This course provides an introduction to the ever-changing nature of today’s classroom. Focus is on prevalent exceptionalities in the classroom and an understanding of the impact on the physical, emotional, social, and educational life of the student and the students they interact with. Students will also uncover a wide variety of strategies to aid in the inclusion of all students in the classroom.
EDAS 1700POPARD - Introduction to Autism30This course covers current research in ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) and evidence-based teaching strategies. The course content includes the use of research-based methods of effective adult instruction, including practical hands-on activities, demonstration, coaching, and application exercises as well as a variety of ways of evaluating participant learning.
EDAS 1400Sensory Processing and Self-Regulation6In this interactive course students will learn:

· The types of sensory input and how these are processed in the nervous system.
· How sensory dysfunction presents at school.
· The development of self-regulation.
· The links between sensory processing and self-regulation.
· Sensory strategies to support students’ self-regulation at school.
· How the strategies (sensory and other) work to support self-regulation.
· The EA’s role in the school team, in supporting self-regulation
EDAS 1420Back Care3The Back Care workshop provides overview of the following concepts:

· Relevant back anatomy and biomechanics with emphasis on core stability
· Importance of posture
· How to take care of your back as it applies to life as an EA
· Lifting strategies and techniques
· Types of lifts and transfers used with children

This course educates about stretches and exercises to keep the back flexible and strong.
EDAS 1340Social and Emotional Learning and Trauma-Informed Practice15This course offers an overview on social and emotional learning as it applies to all learners including those with diverse needs. The course covers the definition and competencies of social emotional learning, the rationale for the increased focus on SEL in today’s classrooms, an investigation of EDI MDI, an understanding of growth mindset, an overview of the 6 domains of self-regulation, and understanding nurturing compassion for self and others.

As well, we review and develop an understanding of the various of programs commonly used to help students understand and manage emotions, set, and achieve positive goals, feel, and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions. An overview of the impact of trauma on the developing brain and its presentation in schools is also covered.
EDAS 1320Speech and Language Development and Disorders12Students will become familiar with typical and atypical speech, language, and social development. Specialty areas such as stuttering and AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication) will be introduced. Students will understand how EAs and SLPs work together to assist children in developing their communication skills.
EDAS 1900Observation Practicum and Seminars72The two-week (10 days) Observation Practicum offers an opportunity for entry into the classroom and observe EA and teacher interactions with student with diverse needs. Specific assignments are geared to helping the student to understand the dynamics of the environment and how best to support students.

Education Assistant - Semester 2

Course CodeCourse NameHours
EDAS 1440Medical and Health Issues24The course will provide students with a broad understanding of the medical and health issues encountered in a school/classroom setting in working with students with a broad range of special needs. Specific medical and health concerns, more commonly known acquired, congenital, genetic, and developmental disabilities, medication issues and the role of special educators in schools and SOGI will be reviewed.
EDAS 1360Anxiety12This course helps the student learn to recognize common mental health issues that may present in school-aged children. Students will learn what anxiety is and how the brain works in relation to anxiety. They will develop an understanding of the causes of mental health issues and develop an understanding of the strategies that can be utilized for school-aged children.
EDAS 1590Application of Visual Design6This workshop offers the students an opportunity to learn the importance of visual design in learning. Visual design focuses on the aesthetics of a learning environment and as its related materials by intentionally implementing images, colors, fonts, and other elements. The use of visual design enhances learning by engaging students through visual and sensory experiences.
EDAS 1570Assistive Technology in the Classroom12This course offers students the opportunity to understand varying technology and how it may support diverse learners in the classroom. Assistive technology refers to the devices and services that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of a student with a disability. Assistive technology may be computers and computerized devices, but low-tech strategies are also reviewed. Assistive technology that helps students with diverse abilities includes computer programs and tablet applications that provide text-to-speech (e.g., Kurzweil 3000), speech-to-text (e.g., Dragon Naturally Speaking), word prediction capabilities (e.g., WordQ), and graphic organizers (e.g., Inspiration).
EDAS 1500Curriculum Supports - Elementary30Curriculum supports course focuses on aspects of the elementary curriculum and how to support diverse learners. Adaptations, accommodations, and modifications are reviewed so potential EAs learn how to support learning, accordingly. A visit to the Aboriginal Education library and a typical classroom is included.
EDAS 1550Curriculum Supports - Secondary 36This curriculum supports course focuses on aspects of the secondary curriculum and how to support diverse learners. Adaptations, accommodations, and modifications are reviewed so potential EAs learn how to support learning, accordingly.
EDAS 1600Positive Behaviour Supports42This course is one of the core courses in the EA program. The course will provide students with the foundational understanding of principles of behaviour and functional behaviour assessment. Students will learn a broad array of Positive Behaviour Supports. There will be a focus on understanding the

behavioral issues presented in the classroom and developing the skills set to support behaviour change through positive support strategies and enablers for all learners.
EDAS 1520Introduction to Boardmaker9Students will learn to use the valuable resource-Boardmaker 7. They will develop a skill set to make visual supports and understand the importance of visuals in the support of students they will assigned to as Education Assistants. They will create their own visual supports via this technology and learn how the activities and supports in Boardmaker Activities-to-Go can be used to support a classroom of diverse learners. Students will also explore Expedition Education which is a web-based program designed to build world knowledge through the exploration of history, geography, life, and a spotlight on culture. Delivered through Boardmaker Online, it is fully accessible and integrates reading and writing standards.
HESA 1200Occupational First Aid7Students participate in this course for OFA Certification. Course content includes basic life support (CPR-A), minor wound management, critical airway, breathing and circulatory interventions with c-spine control.

Students who successfully complete this course receive a 3-year certification.
EDAS 1620Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (CPI)19Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NCI) provides students with the skills to safely recognize and respond to everyday crisis situations they may encounter with school-aged children . CPI is evidence-based and fully accredited. The program features include prevention & verbal de-escalation skills, disengagement safety techniques, trauma-informed training, risk assessment framework and physical intervention technique.
EDAS 2900Practicum and Seminars135The Final Practicum provides students with a full opportunity to engage in the role of an Education Assistant (EA) in a classroom. Students begin by shadowing an EA in their assignment. With mentorship they, then, take over the role of providing support to the student(s), accordingly. The Final Practicum is four weeks long allowing students to experience the full gamut of experiences an Education Assistant may encounter in any given day. The goal is to allow the student in apply the skills learned during their tenure in the EA program, ensuring that students with diverse needs are fully supported and enabled. Specific assignments are geared to helping the student to fully understand the EA role in schools.

In-school practicum time is 120 hours with 15 hours of seminars to support the practicum


Upcoming Info Sessions:

Monday, July 8 – 6:30pm
Online via Zoom

What type of experience is usually required for entry into the Education Assistant Program?
Experience working with children, particularly children with special needs is an asset to acceptance into the program.

What are the components in applying to the program?
Completion of the application form found online at https://rmcollege.sd42.ca/program/education-assistant/ is the first step to applying to the Education Assistant program. The application must also include:

  • A hand-written, one-page letter / statement about why you feel you are a good candidate (to include any experience dealing with children, youth, or persons with special needs).
  • Two letters of reference, preferably from professionals in education, special needs programs, child-care, recreation, or community service.
  • A record / summary of applicable work or 100 volunteer hours* (*Due to challenges volunteering during COVID-19, this requirement may be waived or modified at the discretion of the college).
  • Criminal Record Check (facilitated by the college; costs are included in the application fee)

Following review of the application by the Program Coordinator, an interview process and short entrance exam will be administered to determine final acceptance into the program.  Interviews are done in late May and late November. Students should note that a proficiency in English language (written and oral) is required.

What is the length of the program?
The EA program runs for ten months.  The September start runs from September to June, and the February start runs from February to the end of January the following year, with summer holidays off.

What are the components of the program?
The program is comprised of 21 courses including two fully supervised practicums. Typically, there are  3-4 courses going on at once.  Homework/studying/assignments/projects can be up to 6-8 hours per week depending on the course(s) at the time.  Canada Revenue considers this a full-time program.

What do the practicums involve?
There is one two-week observation practicum and one four-week full immersion practicum where students take on the responsible of an EA.  Each practicum has accompanying seminars and assignments.  Both are full time in school during the day approximately 8:00-2:30.  Practicum sites are secured by the college.

What are the hours of the program?
Classes are on weekday evenings 6:30 to 9:30 every Tuesday and Thursday, about 55% of the Wednesday.  Saturday classes (50 %) are full days 9:00-3:30.   There are two Monday evenings to prepare for the practicum.  Every effort is made to ensure long weekend are free of classes.

Will there be breaks in the program?
The program has a two-week winter/Christmas break and a 2-week Spring Break which coincides with Maple Ridge School District #42 Spring Break.

What is the teaching format of the program?
The teaching format is in-person. Practicums are based in schools in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadow School District.

How many students are in program?
Each program accepts about 25 students.

What are the instructor’s qualifications?
Our Instructors are/have been Elementary school teachers, school counselors or Secondary school teachers. Many have their Master’s degree and special training/expertise in their area of instruction in the program.

How long have they been teaching in their field of expertise?
We have very experienced teachers who have been teaching anywhere from 20-40 years.

What qualifications do employers typically look for in this occupation?
Individuals who have completed the Education Assistant Program and are certified.

What training or academic background is needed for a job in this field?
Education Assistant Certificate.  School districts also prefer First Aid, CPI (non-violent Crisis Intervention) and POPARD’s Introduction to Autism course which are all apart of our program.

What are the typical duties and responsibilities for Education Assistants?
Education Assistants work in inclusive classroom settings with children diverse needs. Duties can include academic/learning support all the way to self-care and medical/health support such as G-tube feeding and toileting.

What is the success rate for hiring?
Virtually all graduates from our program are hired in BC school districts as there is currently a shortage of EAs in the province of BC. Salaries are approximately $32.00 – $35 per hour depending upon the school district.

Is there funding support for students?
Yes, there is a payment plan available.  Some students also apply for funding through WorkBC.


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