Teaching Assistant Career

teaching-assistant-500Teacher assistants provide extra supervision and support in the classroom setting, reinforcing the lesson plans and school policies while providing one-on-one or small group mentoring. They are an extra set of eyes, ears and hands to assist students through challenging lessons and help teachers with lesson preparation and evaluation.

Despite the fact that the average salary is about $25,000 a year, the opportunity to enrich children’s minds and help shape future generations is priceless. There are career opportunities for this position anywhere from childcare centers to public high schools, so you may even get summers off.

Teaching Assistant Career Snapshot

About 77% of teacher assistants are hired in both public and private school sectors anywhere between grades K-12. They also work in religious organizations, day cares and community centers. Only 60% are full-time employees, and most work in nine- to ten-month periods.

Further details on a career as a teaching assistant are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average pay for teaching assistants per year.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have some college, but no degree while 20% have a Bachelor’s.

Teaching Assistant Education

For the most part, teacher assistants are required to complete 2 years of college-level education, usually focusing on child development or related studies, but for some lower-income federal programs only a local or state assessment is required. If you plan on working with special-needs students, you may also have to complete a comprehensive skills test.

Teaching Assistant Job Duties

While the teacher will develop and present the day’s lessons, a teacher assistant will assist with student comprehension through personal mentorship, revisiting lesson steps and supervising small breakout groups. Teacher assistants also act as another authority figure, enforcing proper classroom etiquette and supervising recesses, lunches and school trips. While their main focus is on the students, they also aid the teacher by preparing equipment or materials for upcoming lessons, as well as by assisting with student grading and evaluation.

Teaching Assistant Salaries

In May 2015, the median yearly salary for teacher assistants was $24,900. Nevertheless, those with substantial experience can expect a yearly pay of up to $38,000. Local school districts may even offer tuition reimbursement if you’re seeking career advancement and decide you want to pursue your bachelor’s degree or teaching license.

Teaching Assistant Job Outlook

As of 2015, there are 1,234,100 jobs in this field, expected to grow 6% by 2024. As classroom sizes continue to grow, these jobs are predicted to be more in demand; however, since teacher assistants are considered secondary to school teachers, they are more susceptible to being laid off during budget cuts.

Teaching Assistant Career

Teacher Assistant Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Teaching Assistants:Typical Work Activities:
• Active listening
• Speaking
• Social perceptiveness
• Critical thinking
• Oral expression
• Oral comprehension
• Speech clarity
• Problem sensitivity
• Scanners
• Visual presenters
• Writing aids
• Email software
• Spreadsheet software
• Caring for others
• Establishing relationships
• Maintaining relationships
• Creative thinking

Related Careers

Childcare Workers

High School Diploma or Equivalent

Special Education Teachers

Bachelor’s Degree

What Do Related Careers Pay?