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Teacher Aide Job Description, Career as a Teacher Aide, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: High school diploma with on-the-job training

Median Salary: $20,740 annually

Job Prospects: Very good

Job Description

A teacher aide helps a full-time teacher with many of their responsibilities. Also known as a teaching assistant, these individuals work with the teacher to help with administrative and non-administrative responsibilities. They spend most of their day helping in the classroom with whatever the teacher requires. Oftentimes they help students with their assignments so the teacher can focus on other issues such as creating lesson plans.

Teacher aides shadow the teacher, and help with instructing students at times. They help the teacher grade papers or administer tests. Oftentimes the teacher aide is responsible for supervising students when they are outside of the classroom such as in the cafeteria, at recess, or when they get onto the bus to head home. The responsibilities of the teacher aide in a specific classroom is up to the teacher and the school district. Some programs have more stringent criteria and requirements than others. The teacher usually involves the teacher aide in a variety of responsibilities, making each day different.

While a teacher aide can work in this role full-time, they often use this as a stepping stone for pursuing a career in teaching. Many teachers look at the role of a teacher aide as a learning position, whereby they are responsible for showing them what the next step will be for them. Most of the time, this role is maintained on a part-time basis while the teacher aide is in school. This is part of the requirement a teaching student must fulfill before they get their degree and teaching certificate.

Training/Educational Requirements

The minimum requirement in many school districts is usually a high school diploma. Since this is a part-time position in many instances, there isn’t a requirement for a college degree. This has changed somewhat over time though, as it is dependent on the size and geographic location of the school district. In recent years, some school districts are enforcing a teacher aide to have a minimum of a two-year degree. It is also looked upon favorably if a teacher aide has or is pursuing a four-year degree from a college or university.

It is helpful for teacher aides to have a experience working with children to prepare them properly for this role. Many students pursuing a degree in child development work as a teacher aide in school to give them hands-on experience. All teacher aides receive on-the-job training, and when coupled with a degree, this prepares them for a full-time teaching job. Although it is possible for someone to work as a teacher aide on a full-time basis or as their primary career, most of the time it is a part-time job meant to lead to a career in teaching.

How to Get Hired

It is helpful to have a background working with children to get hired as a teacher aide. Many school districts, particularly those with a high concentration of students, want to see an educational background in teaching or child development before hiring for this position. Although it is not required, it helps an individual if they have some experience working with children.

Many school districts look favorably upon hiring students currently pursuing their degree in child development or education. This shows interest and educational qualifications, and makes the person more prepared for the job. It helps to get hired as a teacher aide more if they have a two-year degree, or working towards their teaching certificate or four-year degree. Most school districts focus on real life experience or educational background as they consider potential candidates for this role.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

The potential for job growth is considered to be very good for individuals pursuing a role as a teacher aide. The likelihood of getting hired as a teacher aide is greater if an individual has experience working with special needs children, or has the ability to speak a foreign language. Individuals with a minimum of a two-year degree have the best chances for getting hired.

Not only is the need continuing to grow for this role, but there is always a need to fill vacant positions. While most teacher aides are pursuing full-time teaching careers, the turnover is quite high. As individuals work their way through a college program in child development or education, they often work in this role for on-the-job training or as a requirement of their curriculum. This means it’s a temporary position, and the likelihood for openings within a school district each semester is relatively high.

Working Environment

Many teacher aides work in a classroom for the majority of their day. However, there are instances where they work in other parts of the school. They may work in a crowded and very noisy lunchroom or cafeteria, supervising students as they eat lunch each day. They may also work outside supervising students at recess or assisting them in getting on the bus to head home each day. The typical working environment is at a school, although their location within the school may vary throughout the day. They may spend some time in an office, if there is space set up for them, to help with grading papers, or assisting with administrative work.

Salary and Benefits

The median salary for a teacher aide was $20,740 a year as of 2006. The range varies significantly depending on the geographical location and the school district. The typical salary range is between $13,910 and $31,610 per year. Most teacher aides work part-time and make the lower end of the salary scale. If part-time, they do not receive benefits and aren’t associated with a teacher’s union. If the teacher aide is working full-time, they receive the standard benefits such as medical coverage and paid vacation.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training