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