Teacher Assistant Job Description

  • Teacher assistant job descriptionOn average, teaching assistants make around $10.50 per hour
  • About 40 percent of assistant teachers work part time
  • You'll probably have summers off

What do teacher assistants do?

As a teaching assistant you'll be providing support for classroom teachers in K-12 or preschool education. This support includes instruction (the actual teaching), paperwork (like grading) and sometimes things like lesson planning. Ever heard the saying, "there's no such thing as a free lunch?" It applies here. Even during your lunch break, you'll be supervising children and keeping them out of food fights.

To be successful at this job you'll have to, you know, like kids. Not necessarily all kids, but at least the age group that you're overseeing. This might be particularly difficult for assistant teachers in middle school, because no one likes 7th-graders. Around 40 percent of teacher assistants work part time, and almost all work the traditional nine or 10-month school year. Can I get an "amen" for summers off?

How much do teacher assistants make?

The average hourly pay for all teaching assistant roles is around $10.50 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Teaching assistants with a significant amount of experience can expect to earn up to $16 per hour.

Education requirements

Many teacher assistants need only a high school diploma and on-the-job training. However, a college degree or related coursework in child development may lead to more job opportunities.

Career paths for teacher assistants

In order to make your way up the ladder, you'll need some additional education and work experience. If you're working for a local school district, they'll probably offer tuition reimbursement to help you earn your bachelor’s degree and get your teaching license. The degree and license will allow you to move into a teaching position, but you could end up owing the school some fixed amount of time teaching to return the favor.

The future of teacher assistant jobs

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for assistant teachers aren't growing like crazy. Still, job opportunities will be available if you've got the right training, or if you specialize in special education or English as a second language (ESL).

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