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ESP Careers: Higher Education

One Education Workforce Serving The Whole Student!

About Us and Our Work

  • We serve the public: 92% of us work in publicly funded two- or four-year colleges and universities. The rest of us are employed in private institutions.
  • We are educated: 82% of us have had at least some college. In fact, 29% hold a two-year associate's degree, 23% a bachelor's, and 12% a master's or higher degree.
  • 13% of us are currently attending school or college.

We are trained: 79% of us have attended some professional training in the previous two years. 60% of us had to meet special requirements to obtain our jobs, such as college credits (35%), special coursework (24%), two-year associate's degrees (29%), special certificates in our field (18%), or four-year college degrees (20%). 14% of us must take classes or exams regularly to retain our positions.

We are experienced: We have been ESPs for an average of 14 years. On average, we have been NEA HE ESP members for 12 years.

We are committed: 84% of us plan to remain in the ESP field, and 62% plan to stay in our current positions until retirement.

We work hard: 91% of us work full time for all 12 months of the year, for an average of 7.6 hours per day.

Our Workplace Conditions and Issues

ColumnOverall, we find satisfaction in our jobs, primarily because we feel personally fulfilled by working with students.We are pleased with our work schedule, the freedom to do our jobs, and job security.

We appreciate and depend on our benefits.

We would like some changes. 46% of us are not satisfied with promotion opportunities, and 33% would like improved wages. 26% of us would like to receive more professional development opportunities. 23% would like improved dental insurance benefits provided by our employers.

We are concerned about privatization, particularly in the areas of food services (57%), technical services (28%), custodial services (28%), and skilled trades (29%).

We need good job descriptions to help ensure we are working within our job classification and legal authority. 21% of us do not believe our job descriptions accurately reflect the amount of work we do. 46% have no input into updating or changing our job descriptions.

55% of us have been often or sometimes asked to perform duties outside our job descriptions.

We help our colleges and universities —

  • Organize and prepare academic, research, and financial records;
  • Provide food service all through the day;
  • Ensure that the campus environment is attractive, safe, and secure;
  • Transport students and faculty on and off campus;
  • Keep classrooms, research labs, and computer centers humming.

MicroscopeNEA ESPs in Higher Education: Who We Are

  • Paraeducators
  • Clerical Services: Secretarial, Clerical, and Administrative Support
  • Custodial and Maintenance Services: Building and Grounds Maintenance and Repair
  • Transportation Services: Transportation and Delivery Services and Vehicle Maintenance
  • Food Services: Food Planning, Preparation, and Service
  • Skilled Trades Services: Trades, Crafts, and Machine Operations
  • Health and Student Services: Nursing, Health, and Therapy Support
  • Security Services: Guard, Police, and Security Specialties
  • Technical Services: Computer, Audiovisual, and Language Technical Support; Media, Public Relations,Writing, and Art Specialties

    These eight job groups include more than 300 categories of ESP positions.

How NEA Supports Us

NEA helps us ...

  • Win better pay, benefits, and working conditions;
  • Gain professional development and leadership training;
  • Be covered by on-the-job liability insurance up to $1 million;
  • Get credit, loan, savings, investment, and discount services;
  • Have tough and effective representation in job-related disputes;
  • Speak out for our concerns in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress;
  • Be represented at NEA meetings and on the NEA Web site;
  • Get Association news through NEA publications and its Web site.

Visit the ESP Publications page and download a copy of the Who We Are brochure to learn more about ESP Careers!

How We Advocate For Students