How to Become a Teaching Assistant

Teaching Assistants play a vital role in the classroom providing support to teachers and students.

These professionals will provide support and additional attention to students needing extra encouragement and time.

They will also assist teachers by providing some classroom management support and reinforcing lessons created by teachers.

Individuals who want to become a Teaching Assistant will need a combination of experience, training and personal characteristics to enter this profession.

Some helpful skills to have when seeking a job in this profession include: patience to work with students who are behind, communication skills to provide in depth instructions to students and interpersonal skills to be able to work with a variety of professionals in education including teachers, students, parents and administrative professionals.

Education Requirements to Become a Teaching Assistant

Individuals who want to become a Teaching Assistant will need a combination of skills, experience and educational requirements in order to enter this profession.

Educational requirements will vary by school district but as a whole, individuals can expect to complete a high school diploma or an associate’s degree.

Individuals who have experience working with students will also have better job opportunities.

Exact educational requirements to become a Teaching Assistant will vary by school district.

Typically, a minimum of a high school diploma is sufficient to enter this profession.

Teaching Assistants seeking a position in a Title 1 school, which services students from low income households, will need a minimum of an associate’s degree, 2 years of college or pass an assessment test.

Associate programs to become a Teaching Assistant will take approximately two years to complete.

These programs will give students an understanding of a teacher’s role; teach them how to develop educational materials and the importance of observing students to identify those who need extra support.

Teaching Assistants who specialize in working with a specific group of students will need to pass specific assessments in order to qualify for the position.

For example, Teaching Assistants applying for a position to work with special needs students will need to pass an additional skills based assessment.

Teaching Assistants working with monolingual students will need to pass an assessment that identifies them as bilingual.

Teaching Assistant Job Description

Teaching Assistants work closely with Teachers in order to provide support to students in the classroom.

They provide support to both Teachers by assisting students needing additional help and to students themselves providing additional instruction and attention.

The following are some common tasks performed by a Teaching Assistant:

  • Provide support for lessons presented by teachers
  • Review lessons to students one on one or in small groups
  • Provide some classroom management by enforcing classroom and school rules
  • Assist teachers with tracking attendance
  • Assist teachers in preparing for lessons

Teaching Assistants will review material that has been presented by the Teacher and convey it to students so that they understand lessons, classwork and tests.

This may include reading the instructions again until the student understands the material or answer any questions that students may have about a lesson or assignment.

Teaching Assistant Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the median wage for Teaching Assistants was approximately $23,640 per year with the highest earners making up towards $36,680 per year.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including geographical location, level of education and whether an individual works yearlong or has summers off.

Individuals may work yearlong or have unpaid summers off depending on the school district or school an individual works for.

The job outlook for Teaching Assistants is expected to grow as fast as average when compared to other professions.

Teaching Assistant opportunities are projected to grow by 9 percent through the year 2022.

This job growth is attributed to the increase in student enrollments at public schools; the hiring of teaching assistants is directly related to student enrollment.

Teaching Assistants are educational professionals who are experienced in supporting teachers and students in the classroom.

Individuals pursuing this career will have a strong passion working with children.

Some perks for this profession, depending on the school district or school, include having summers off and the possibility for advancement to become a teacher.

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