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Become An Educational Assistant

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Working As An Educational Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $24,900

    Average Salary

What Does An Educational 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 An Educational 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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Educational Assistant jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Special Educator 3.4 years
Para Educator 2.9 years
Para Professional 2.7 years
Instructional Aide 2.4 years
Educational Aid 2.1 years
Teacher Aide 2.0 years
Educational Tutor 1.9 years
Teacher Assistant 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 9.6%
Teacher 7.8%
Cashier 6.1%
Volunteer 5.4%
Tutor 3.0%
Secretary 2.5%
Assistant 2.4%
Manager 2.2%
Top Employers After
Teacher 11.5%
Internship 7.8%
Volunteer 5.0%
Cashier 4.7%
Tutor 3.6%
Instructor 2.6%
Assistant 2.5%

Educational Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

75.4%

Male

22.2%

Unknown

2.4%
Ethnicity

White

77.4%

Hispanic or Latino

12.7%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.4%

French

11.0%

German

4.0%

Japanese

2.8%

Russian

2.6%

Hmong

2.3%

Italian

2.3%

Mandarin

2.1%

Armenian

2.1%

Portuguese

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Chinese

1.6%

Korean

1.4%

Hawaiian

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Hebrew

0.7%

Dakota

0.7%

Hindi

0.5%

Czech

0.5%

Bulgarian

0.5%
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Educational Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.7%

University of New Mexico

8.0%

Grand Canyon University

7.6%

New Mexico State University

5.9%

University of Oregon

5.1%

Middle Tennessee State University

5.0%

Central New Mexico Community College

4.8%

Liberty University

4.7%

University of Memphis

4.7%

Ashford University

4.2%

Oregon State University

3.8%

Portland State University

3.6%

Southern Connecticut State University

3.5%

Capella University

3.5%

Kaplan University

3.2%

Tennessee State University

3.2%

University of Northern Iowa

3.0%

University of Hawaii at Hilo

2.9%

Arizona State University

2.9%

University of Washington

2.9%
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Majors

Business

14.8%

Psychology

10.5%

Elementary Education

9.0%

Education

8.8%

Special Education

5.7%

Social Work

4.8%

Criminal Justice

4.7%

Early Childhood Education

4.6%

English

4.1%

Communication

3.5%

Nursing

3.4%

Liberal Arts

3.4%

Sociology

3.2%

Biology

3.2%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.8%

Human Services

2.7%

Counseling Psychology

2.6%

History

2.6%

Human Development

2.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.1%

Masters

22.1%

Other

19.8%

Associate

9.9%

Certificate

4.4%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Educational Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Clinician Educator (Assistant Professor) The University of Chicago Chicago, IL Jun 29, 2011 $205,328
Assistant Profess-Education The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX Jun 01, 2013 $70,000
Assistant Profess-Education The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX Aug 10, 2013 $70,000
Adjunct Instructor of Physical Education/Asst Tenn Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Tifton, GA Jul 04, 2012 $68,433
Asst. Prof. Early Childhood Education Laguardia Community College Islandia, NY Sep 01, 2014 $68,024
Assistant Prof. of Mathematics Education College of Charleston Charleston, SC Aug 16, 2015 $61,000
Lecturer (Assistant Prof.) Ntt/Gse-Educational PSY Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ Sep 01, 2013 $58,000
Assistant Porfessor, Dept of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education Lamar University Beaumont, TX Jan 06, 2016 $56,524
Asst. Prof. of Health, Physical Education & Exercise Science Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate, TN Jan 07, 2016 $55,000
Asst. Prof., Mathematics Education University of West Georgia Carrollton, GA Jun 05, 2012 $50,000
Environmental Education Assistant Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY Feb 08, 2010 $48,168
Assistant To The Higher Education Officer Brooklyn College, City University of New York New York, NY May 20, 2011 $46,328
Nurse Education Specialist Assistant North Shore-LIJ Health System New York, NY Feb 15, 2011 $45,000

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Top Skills for An Educational Assistant

ClassroomTeacherBehavioralIssuesSmallGroupInstructionSpecialNeedsChildrenSpecialEducationTeachersLessonPlansMathematicsIEPLanguageDirectSupervisionEducationalProgramsKindergartenSpecialEducationDepartmentEducationAssistantClassActivitiesClassroomManagementBehaviorManagementSocialSkillsLifeSkillsDataEntry

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Top Educational Assistant Skills

  1. Classroom Teacher
  2. Behavioral Issues
  3. Small Group Instruction
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted the classroom teacher by providing instructional and emotional support to all classroom students, working individually and in small groups.
  • Utilized conflict prevention and intervention techniques daily with students displaying behavioral issues.
  • Collaborated with teachers to provide assistance in large and small group instructional support.
  • Utilize my education on a day to day basis to interact with special needs children.
  • Provided assistance to special education teachers.

Top Educational Assistant Employers

Educational Assistant Videos

A day in the life of a pre-school teacher

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

A Day in the Life of a Kindergarten Teacher

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