Teacher assistants work under the supervision of a teacher in order to provide students with more attention and instruction in a classroom setting. Candidates work with students of all ages in a variety of settings, including childcare centers, public schools, and private schools. They work as preschool teacher assistants or as assistants for elementary, middle, or high school teachers. Candidates may work full time or part time, depending on the job requirements, and they typically take responsibility for several tasks:
Providing students with individual tutoring and review sessions
Assisting teachers with grading and attendance
Ensuring teachers are prepared by readying materials or equipment
Supervising students in the classroom or on field trips
While some teacher assistants work in a standard classroom, others specialize in specific subjects or in students with special needs. Classroom assistants may work in computer labs or with special education students, or they may be assigned to monitor recess or lunchroom activities.
Teacher Assistant Job Education Requirements
Though some school districts require teacher assistants to have only a high school diploma, most districts require candidates to obtain an associate's degree or complete two years of college. These degree programs prepare candidates for this career track with training on developing educational materials, working with students of different abilities, and supporting teachers. Many states also require that teacher assistants pass a skills-related assessment. Candidates must demonstrate excellent communication skills, patience, and resourcefulness.
Teacher Assistant Job Market
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that job opportunities for teacher assistants will grow 9 percent through 2022, which is about average for all occupations. Some growth is expected, due to increased enrollment and need for special education assistance. Additional growth is projected for preschool teacher assistants and early childcare aides. Candidates in the southern and western United States will likely have better opportunities, thanks to increased student enrollment and growth in urban schools.
Teacher Assistant Job Salary Information
According to the BLS, the median salary for teacher assistants is about $24,000. The lowest 10 percent of teacher assistants earned under $17,000 per year, while the highest 10 percent earned over $37,000. About 40 percent of teacher assistants work part time. Many do not work in the summer months, though some work in summer schools or year-round schools. Some teacher assistants also work outside of typical classroom hours, including accompanying students on the bus before and after school. There are many possible teacher assistant opportunities for candidates who work well with both teachers and students.