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Become A Course Assistant

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Working As A Course Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $58,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Course Assistant Do

Teacher assistants work under a teacher’s supervision to give students additional attention and instruction.

Duties

Teacher assistants typically do the following:

  • Reinforce lessons presented by teachers by reviewing material with students one-on-one or in small groups
  • Enforce school and class rules to help teach students proper behavior
  • Help teachers with recordkeeping, such as tracking attendance and calculating grades
  • Help teachers prepare for lessons by getting materials ready or setting up equipment, such as computers
  • Supervise students in class, between classes, during lunch and recess, and on field trips

Teacher assistants also are called teacher aides, instructional aides, paraprofessionals, education assistants, and paraeducators.

Teacher assistants work with or under the guidance of a licensed teacher. Generally, teachers introduce new material to students while teacher assistants help reinforce the lessons by working with individual students or small groups of students. For example, after the teacher presents a lesson, a teacher assistant may help a small group of students as they try to master the material.

Teachers may seek feedback from assistants to monitor students’ progress. Some teachers and teacher assistants meet regularly to discuss lesson plans and student development. Teacher assistants sometimes help teachers by grading tests and checking homework.

Some teacher assistants work only with special education students. Some of these students attend regular classes, and teacher assistants help them understand the material and adapt the information to their learning style. Teacher assistants may work with students who have more severe disabilities in separate classrooms. They help these students with basic needs, such as eating or personal hygiene. With young adults, they may help students with disabilities learn skills necessary for them to find a job or live independently after graduation.

Some teacher assistants work in specific locations in the school. For example, some work in computer laboratories, teaching students how to use computers and helping them use software. Others work as recess or lunchroom attendants, supervising students during these times of the day.

Although most teacher assistants work in elementary, middle, and high schools, others work in preschools and childcare centers. Often, one or two assistants work with a lead teacher to provide the individual attention that young children need. They help with educational activities. They also supervise the children at play and help with feeding and other basic care.

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How To Become A Course Assistant

Teacher assistants typically need to have completed at least 2 years of college coursework.

Education

Most school districts require applicants to have completed at least 2 years of college coursework or have earned an associate’s degree. Teacher assistants in schools that have a Title 1 program (a federal program for schools with a large proportion of students from low-income households) must have at least a 2-year degree, 2 years of college, or pass a state or local assessment.

Associate’s degree programs for teacher assistants prepare the participants to develop educational materials, observe students, and understand the role of teachers and teaching assistants in the classroom.

Most states require instructional aides who work with special-needs students to pass a skills-based test.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teacher assistants need to discuss students’ progress with teachers and parents, so they need to be able to communicate well.

Interpersonal skills. Teacher assistants interact with a variety of people, including teachers, students, parents, and administrators. They need to develop good working relationships with the people they work with.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Teacher assistants must be patient with students who struggle with material.

Resourcefulness. To reinforce lessons, teacher assistants must explain information to students in a way that meets each student’s learning style. 

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Course Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

42.7%

Male

41.3%

Unknown

16.0%
Ethnicity

White

53.2%

Asian

19.1%

Hispanic or Latino

14.9%

Black or African American

8.6%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.9%

French

12.7%

Italian

8.1%

Mandarin

7.5%

Chinese

6.9%

German

6.4%

Korean

4.6%

Cantonese

2.9%

Portuguese

2.9%

Hindi

2.3%

Russian

2.3%

Japanese

2.3%

Hebrew

2.3%

Turkish

1.2%

Greek

1.2%

Arabic

1.2%

Hindustani

0.6%

Gujarati

0.6%

Bosnian

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.6%
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Course Assistant Education

Schools

State University of New York at Binghamton

9.0%

Wesleyan University

8.1%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

7.9%

Johns Hopkins University

7.5%

Stanford University

7.3%

Carnegie Mellon University

5.8%

Harvard University

5.3%

Columbia University

5.1%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.9%

University of California - Santa Cruz

4.5%

Stevens Institute of Technology

4.3%

Pennsylvania State University

4.1%

University of Puget Sound

4.0%

Arizona State University

3.6%

Baldwin-Wallace College

3.6%

Cornell University

3.4%

University of Chicago

3.0%

New York University

2.8%

University of California - Berkeley

2.8%

Boston University

2.8%
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Majors

Computer Science

15.5%

Mechanical Engineering

11.2%

Psychology

10.8%

Business

7.3%

Electrical Engineering

5.3%

Biology

5.3%

English

4.8%

Mathematics

4.8%

Communication

4.5%

Industrial Engineering

4.1%

Computer Engineering

3.8%

Statistics

3.2%

Kinesiology

2.5%

Education

2.5%

Economics

2.5%

Criminal Justice

2.5%

Finance

2.5%

Anthropology

2.4%

Nursing

2.2%

Counseling Psychology

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.7%

Masters

29.0%

Other

9.2%

Doctorate

5.8%

Associate

1.6%

Certificate

1.1%

Diploma

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Top Skills for A Course Assistant

  1. Office Hours
  2. Lab Equipment
  3. Undergraduate Courses
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided tutoring and mentoring of students during regularly scheduled office hours.
  • Assisted lab instructor in the preparation of experiment and cleaning of lab equipment amongst other small projects.CLINICAL EXPERIENCE
  • Graded weekly homework assignments for an undergraduate applied statistics course on regression analysis.
  • Assisted Wesleyan mathematics professor by grading homework assignments Led supplementary course sessions in order to aid students with assignments and exams
  • Guided students in understanding difficult course material through review sessions and personal tutoring.

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Top Course Assistant Employers

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