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Working as a Teacher Assistant

Teacher Assistants have a fun job. They get to help provide students direction without having of the responsibility that teachers have. This job is actually a great stepping stone for an aspiring teacher but it's also just a great position in general.

As a teacher assistant, you're a glorified tutor. You help provide direction, structure, and explanation to students who need a little more help. Since you primarily work at schools or childcare centers, you probably won't work during the summer.

Teacher assistants don't need that much formal education in order to officially start working. In fact, you only need to complete 2 years of college coursework, then you're well on your way to becoming a teacher assistant.

What Does a Teacher 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.

How To Become a Teacher 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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Average Salary$26,282
Job Growth Rate4%

Teacher Assistant Jobs

Teacher Assistant Career Paths

Top Careers Before Teacher Assistant

Cashier
15.6%

Top Careers After Teacher Assistant

Cashier
11.7%
Teacher
10.0%

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Teacher Assistant

Teacher Assistants in America make an average salary of $26,282 per year or $13 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $62,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $11,000 per year.
Average Salary
$26,282

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range28k - 72k$45k$45,460
Salary Range25k - 54k$37k$36,974
Salary Range22k - 46k$32k$32,226
Salary Range22k - 46k$32k$31,978
Salary Range20k - 41k$29k$28,868
Salary Range21k - 36k$28k$27,771
$15k
$72k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Teacher Assistant II @ Cooper
Teacher Assistant II @ Cooper
E Center
E Center
10/31/2020
10/31/2020
$29,78110/31/2020
$29,781
Teacher Assistant
Teacher Assistant
Fond Du Lac Reservation
Fond Du Lac Reservation
10/31/2020
10/31/2020
$24,23010/31/2020
$24,230
Teacher Assistant
Teacher Assistant
Cesa11
Cesa11
10/31/2020
10/31/2020
$27,04810/31/2020
$27,048
Tucson Unified School District
EX ED Teacher Assistant (Effective School Year)
EX ED Teacher Assistant (Effective School Year)
Tucson Unified School District
Tucson Unified School District
10/29/2020
10/29/2020
$25,04410/29/2020
$25,044
Teacher Assistant-PK 3
Austin Independent School District
Austin Independent School District
10/29/2020
10/29/2020
$29,96910/29/2020
$29,969
See More Recent Salaries

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Teacher Assistant Demographics

Gender

female

73.5%

male

21.6%

unknown

4.9%

Ethnicity

White

58.3%

Hispanic or Latino

20.2%

Black or African American

10.6%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.2%

French

7.8%

Chinese

4.0%
See More Demographics

Teacher Assistant Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

44.3%

High School Diploma

18.0%

Associate

16.9%

Top Colleges for Teacher Assistants

1. Duke University

Durham, NC

Tuition and fees
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI

Tuition and fees
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

5. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Tuition and fees
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

6. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

7. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO

Tuition and fees
$53,399
Enrollment
7,356

8. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA

Tuition and fees
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

9. University of California - San Diego

La Jolla, CA

Tuition and fees
$14,167
Enrollment
30,279

10. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY

Tuition and fees
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Teacher Assistant

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Teacher Assistant

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 16.7% of teacher assistants listed class activities on their resume, but soft skills such as physical stamina and communication skills are important as well.

Best States For a Teacher Assistant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a teacher assistant. The best states for people in this position are California, Alaska, Nevada, and Arizona. Teacher assistants make the most in California with an average salary of $41,833. Whereas in Alaska and Nevada, they would average $38,382 and $37,890, respectively. While teacher assistants would only make an average of $36,662 in Arizona, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Nevada

Total Teacher Assistant Jobs:
1,496
Highest 10% Earn:
$78,000
Location Quotient:
9.73
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Alaska

Total Teacher Assistant Jobs:
184
Highest 10% Earn:
$61,000
Location Quotient:
4.68
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. California

Total Teacher Assistant Jobs:
3,713
Highest 10% Earn:
$90,000
Location Quotient:
1.33
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Teacher Assistant Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a teacher assistant. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless teacher assistant resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Teacher Assistant Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless teacher assistant resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Teacher Assistant Employers

1. KinderCare
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$36,085
Teacher Assistants Hired: 
851+
2. YMCA
3.2
Avg. Salary: 
$29,108
Teacher Assistants Hired: 
776+
3. Educate
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$42,681
Teacher Assistants Hired: 
318+
4. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$41,109
Teacher Assistants Hired: 
310+
5. Kiddie Academy
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$32,749
Teacher Assistants Hired: 
308+
6. Bright Horizons
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$35,457
Teacher Assistants Hired: 
305+

Teacher Assistant Videos

Recently Added Teacher Assistant Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020