How Can I Become a Preschool Teacher's Assistant?

Preschool teacher assistant requirements usually consist of postsecondary education, interpersonal skills, and patience. These qualities and education prepare a preschool teaching assistant to help young students as they start their education. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Become a Preschool Teacher Assistant

  1. Postsecondary education
  2. Skills testing for working with special needs students
  3. Possible certifications

Preschool teacher assistant requirements generally consist of some college education and possibly some certification. They usually need 2 years of postsecondary education, which may result in an associate's degree. There are a variety of available associate's degree programs for teacher assistants, such as those in educational assistance or teacher assistance.

Students may also wish to pursue an associate's degree in an area like early childhood education. These degree programs may cover topics like:

  • Classroom management
  • Child development
  • Assessment
  • Family and community partnerships
  • Ethics and professional standards

There are also a few different free, online courses in child development that may prove beneficial to teaching assistants working with young children. These courses may help preschool teacher assistants understand the cognitive development in their students in areas like language and behavior.

Preschool teacher assistants who work with special needs children may be required to take a state-mandated skills test. Depending on the place of employment, some assistants may also need to be first aid and/or CPR certified.

Preschool Assistant Teacher Job Description

A preschool teaching assistant, or preschool teacher aide, is primarily in a classroom to help the teacher provide instruction and assistance to students. They work with children who are less than 5 years of age to help prepare them for kindergarten by teaching subjects like colors, letters, shapes, and numbers. A preschool teaching assistant also provides administrative assistance to the teacher. Other job responsibilities may include:

  • Working with children individually or in groups on lessons
  • Supervising children
  • Taking attendance
  • Preparing lesson materials
  • Enforcing safety rules

Preschool teaching assistant jobs typically require a lot of patience working with young children. These assistants should also be able to communicate well and may need to be creative and resourceful to adapt lesson plans to different students' needs.

Most teaching assistants only work during the school year, but a few may work year-round. Some may work full-time, while others only work part-time. They usually need to be prepared to work outdoors for playtime and/or as students are dropped off and picked up. There is a slight risk to injury working with children.

Typical Degree RequiredAssociate's degree
Other Possible RequirementsCertifications
Annual Mean Salary (2018)*$28,750 (for all teacher assistants)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)*8% (for all teacher assistants)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Preschool Assistant Teacher Salary

In 2018, the BLS reported that teacher assistants as a whole made an average annual salary of $28,750. They also reported that in the same year, teacher assistants that worked in child day care services, working with children younger than school-aged children, made an average salary of $24,570.

Another website, Payscale.com, reported the average hourly wage of $10.72 specifically for preschool teacher assistants, as of June 2019. This equated to an average annual salary of $24,114 for the same year. The website also stated that the average hourly wage for these professionals is expected to increase with experience, as assistants with 5 to 9 years of experience made an average of $11.05 per hour and those with 20 years or more experience made an average of $12.05 an hour.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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