Paraprofessional is a job title given to persons in various occupational fields, such as education, healthcare, engineering, and law, who are trained to assist professionals but do not themselves have professional licensure. Some exceptions to this rule would be some Paramedics in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa which autonomously practice paramedicine and as well Paralegals in the Province of Ontario who are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada to provide independent legal services to clients and the court. The Greek prefix "para-" indicates beside or side by side (as in "parallel"); hence, a paraprofessional is one who works alongside a professional.
The paraprofessional is able to perform tasks requiring significant knowledge in the field, and may even function independently of direct professional supervision, but lacks the official authority of the professional. For example, a person who hires a paralegal in lieu of a lawyer to complete bankruptcy forms is still considered to be filing pro se.
Some paraprofessional occupations require special testing or certification, while others require only a certain level of education. In some occupations, such as that of teaching assistant (see paraprofessional educator), requirements differ geographically even though duties are essentially the same.
- "A Pro Se Bankruptcy Horror Story". Doan Law Firm. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010.