If you like working with kids, nabbing a teacher assistant job can be a fulfilling and rewarding career. Your days are spent working with the classroom teacher, the administration and parents to make sure students are on track with their lessons, and are chaperoned during recess and field trips.
One of the best things about the work is the satisfaction you get from helping kids learn to read a story about a faraway place, explore other cultures and navigate their mathematical skills. Your role includes helping the teacher get ready for the next lesson plan. You help the class run smoothly and keep the kids are on track with their assignments. Teaching assistants also answer questions parents have about their children.
In order to get a job as a teacher assistant, you need to meet the qualifications of the school where you want to work. Most schools require at least a high school diploma and some college may be required. You should have prior experience working with kids. If you have a lot of patience and you’re good at communicating with people from different backgrounds, you can put those skills to use in this role.
Where to Find Work
You’ve got a wide variety of choices when it comes to finding work as a teacher assistant. There are teacher assistant jobs available in preschools, day cares, churches, elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. You can find work in public and private education, but you'll find more jobs working with elementary and secondary school children. Seventy-six percent of the teacher assistants work in that capacity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, while 9 percent work for day care centers.
Salaries and Beyond
Because of the continually growing number of children enrolled in school, and the need for preschool, day care and special needs, teacher assistants will find a healthy number of jobs in the future. It's also possible to work part-time in this capacity. You work during the academic calendar year, usually getting your summers off. Those working in as teach assistants in 2010 earned a median salary of $23,220 a year, according to the BLS.
2016 Salary Information for Teacher Assistants
Teacher assistants earned a median annual salary of $25,410 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, teacher assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $20,520, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $31,990, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,308,100 people were employed in the U.S. as teacher assistants.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Teacher Assistants
- The Washington Post: Teacher Assistant
- Virtua Careers: Teacher Assistant
- Bright: Teacher Assistants, Associate Teachers, Teachers and Master Teachers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Teacher Assistants
- Career Trend: Teacher Assistants
C.E. Chan has been a writer since 2003, contributing to magazines, online publications and education organizations. Her work has appeared in "Popular Dogs," "Dog World" and "The Architect's Newspaper," among other outlets. With a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California, Chan worked in the architectural field for several years before becoming a writer.