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Become A Teacher Assistant

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Working As A Teacher Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $37,436

    Average Salary

What Does A Teacher Assistant Do

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


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 Teacher Assistant

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.

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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Teacher Assistant jobs

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Teacher Assistant Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Chinese

  • Mandarin

  • Arabic

  • Italian

  • Portuguese

  • German

  • Japanese

  • Russian

  • Korean

  • Cantonese

  • Hindi

  • Urdu

  • Hebrew

  • Vietnamese

  • Tagalog

  • Polish

  • Hmong

  • Greek

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Real Teacher Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Health Specialties Teacher, Postsecondary (Occupational Safety & Health Assistant Professor) Grand Valley State University Grand Rapids, MI Jan 14, 2011 $74,000
Assistant Teacher La Escuelita Inc. NY Sep 16, 2013 $70,916
Assistant Teacher The Brick Church School New York, NY Aug 20, 2014 $68,871
Assistant Teacher Manhattan Country School New York, NY Nov 01, 2016 $59,057
Music Director & Teacher Assistant Ready, Set, Play! Inc. New York, NY Jun 15, 2013 $52,175
Teacher Assistant Gallaudet University Washington, DC Jun 01, 2011 $48,960
Assistant Teacher Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. NY Jan 14, 2014 $47,312
Assistant Teacher Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. NY Jan 14, 2014 $47,160
Teacher Assistant Hawaii Department of Education Urban Honolulu, HI Aug 29, 2011 $46,811
Teacher Assistant (Pre-School) Spider Smart Learning Center, C/O Suk Jin Hong Centreville, VA Mar 03, 2016 $35,300
Assistant Teacher Marymount School of New York New York, NY Apr 01, 2011 $35,000
Music Director & Teacher Assistant Ready, Set, Play Inc. New York, NY May 13, 2013 $35,000
Assistant Teacher The International Preschools New York, NY Sep 11, 2015 $34,000
Teacher Assistants Arbor Bay School San Carlos, CA Feb 05, 2014 $33,470
Assistant Teacher Malta Montessori School Inc. Malta, NY Dec 01, 2011 $33,280
Assistant Teacher The Malta Montessori School Malta, NY Dec 01, 2011 $33,280
Teacher Assistant Academy of St. Joseph New York, NY Jan 06, 2014 $32,098
Assistant Teacher Wilshire Boulevard Temple Los Angeles, CA Aug 17, 2015 $28,000
Teacher Assistant Institute of Audio Research, LLC New York, NY Jan 26, 2012 $27,715
Assistant Teacher Madison Area YMCA-Kirby Center Madison, NJ Mar 19, 2013 $27,456
Assistant Teacher Madison Area YMCA-Kirby Center Madison, NJ Mar 09, 2013 $27,456
Assistant Teacher Montclare Children's School New York, NY Aug 29, 2012 $27,277
Teacher Assistants F & D Academy, Inc. Bergenfield, NJ Mar 10, 2011 $27,187
Teacher Assistant Su Escuela Language Academy LLC Hingham, MA Jan 12, 2016 $27,000 -
Assistant Teacher Greene Hill School New York, NY Aug 01, 2012 $27,000

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Top Skills for A Teacher Assistant


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Top Teacher Assistant Skills

  1. Class Activities
  2. Weekly Lesson Plans
  3. Child Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Interacted with children during class activities in order to provide a positive intellectual and social learning experience.
  • Organized and implemented classroom learning activities, objectives, and procedures according to Master Teacher devised weekly lesson plans.
  • Provided support and child care for low income single parents and families, as well as children with special needs.
  • Planned activities for children, such as storytelling or art projects.
  • Assist lead teacher with classroom preparation * Assist all children needs * Conduct small groups activities

Top Teacher Assistant Employers

Teacher Assistant Videos

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

A Day in the Life of a Kindergarten Teacher

Career Advice on becoming a Trainee PE Teacher by Andrea C (Full Version)