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Become An Instructional Aide

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Working As An Instructional Aide

  • 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 Instructional Aide 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 Instructional Aide

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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Instructional Aide jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Special ED Teacher 3.6 years
Special Educator 3.4 years
Para Educator 2.9 years
Para Professional 2.7 years
School Aide 2.3 years
Educational Aid 2.1 years
Instructional Aide 2.0 years
Kindergarten Aide 2.0 years
Teacher Aide 2.0 years
Reading Aide 1.9 years
Preschool Aide 1.9 years
Classroom Aide 1.8 years
Aide 1.8 years
Teaching Aide 1.8 years
Teacher Assistant 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Teacher 7.8%
Internship 7.3%
Cashier 6.8%
Volunteer 5.0%
Tutor 4.0%
Aide 3.0%
Instructor 2.5%
Secretary 2.4%
Top Employers After
Teacher 12.8%
Internship 5.2%
Volunteer 4.5%
Tutor 3.6%
Instructor 3.6%
Cashier 3.2%

Instructional Aide Demographics

Gender

Female

74.8%

Male

23.4%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

72.0%

Hispanic or Latino

18.7%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

73.0%

French

6.1%

Mandarin

2.4%

Vietnamese

2.1%

Italian

2.1%

Portuguese

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Tagalog

1.3%

Hmong

1.1%

German

1.1%

Japanese

1.1%

Korean

0.8%

Cantonese

0.8%

Filipino

0.8%

Samoan

0.5%

Hindi

0.5%

Indonesian

0.5%

Russian

0.5%

Braille

0.5%

Albanian

0.5%
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Instructional Aide Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.1%

Grand Canyon University

7.3%

National University

6.3%

California State University - Fresno

6.0%

Liberty University

5.5%

Bakersfield College

5.4%

Arizona State University

5.1%

California State University - Bakersfield

4.5%

Ashford University

4.4%

California State University - San Bernardino

4.4%

San Jose State University

3.9%

Cerritos College

3.8%

California State University - Long Beach

3.8%

California State University - Sacramento

3.6%

Pasadena City College

3.6%

San Francisco State University

3.5%

San Diego State University

3.4%

Rowan University

3.2%

Fresno City College

3.1%

Mt San Antonio College

3.1%
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Majors

Business

11.8%

Psychology

11.0%

Elementary Education

10.5%

Education

8.9%

Liberal Arts

7.1%

Human Development

4.9%

Special Education

4.9%

Early Childhood Education

4.8%

Criminal Justice

4.4%

Sociology

3.9%

Social Work

3.5%

English

3.5%

Nursing

3.0%

Communication

3.0%

Counseling Psychology

2.6%

Health Care Administration

2.6%

Human Services

2.6%

Medical Assisting Services

2.5%

School Counseling

2.4%

General Studies

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.7%

Masters

21.0%

Other

20.8%

Associate

11.9%

Certificate

5.1%

Diploma

1.2%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Instructional Aide Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Special Instructor In Cad/Cam Oakland University Rochester, MI Aug 16, 2016 $65,000
Special Instructor In Cad/Cam Oakland University Rochester, MI Jul 30, 2014 $65,000
Special Instructor In Cad/Cam Oakland University Rochester, MI Aug 15, 2014 $65,000
Instructional Aids Associate The Ohio State University Columbus, OH Jan 09, 2016 $47,354
Instructional Aids Associate The Ohio State University Columbus, OH Jun 20, 2012 $47,091
Instructional Aids Associate The Ohio State University Columbus, OH Jun 20, 2011 $47,091

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Top Skills for An Instructional Aide

ClassroomTeacherSmallGroupInstructionBehavioralIssuesMathematicsSpecialNeedsChildrenLessonPlansSpecialEducationClassroomIEPDirectSupervisionLanguageArtsPositiveLearningEnvironmentClassroomActivitiesSocialSkillsInstructionalMaterialsClassroomManagementClassroomSettingDailyActivitiesLifeSkillsReinforceLearningConceptsLearningDisabilities

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Top Instructional Aide Skills

  1. Classroom Teacher
  2. Small Group Instruction
  3. Behavioral Issues
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Earned high marks for the quality of work by classroom teachers and ESP's.
  • Provide individualized and small group instruction.
  • Assisted with school work and help maintain and keep behavioral issues to a minimum in the school setting.
  • Tutored fifth grade students in Language Arts and Mathematics Developed and managed Middle School Basketball program with school administrators.
  • Work with special needs children in K-12 special education classrooms.

Top Instructional Aide Employers

Instructional Aide Videos

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

A Day in the Life of a Physician Associate

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