What Are the Duties of Assistant Teachers?

Explore the career requirements for assistant teachers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, salary and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Assistant Teacher Do?

Assistant teachers provide support for primary classroom teachers by handling assigned administrative or hands-on tasks. They may also lead certain lessons and provide extra support and additional supervision for students in need. Helping head teachers prepare for class is also a major responsibility. Learn about the education and training it usually takes to become an assistant teacher, the career outlook and earning potential.

Education Required High school diploma; associate's degree preferred
Key Responsibilities Grade homework, reinforce lessons, track attendance, assist in supervising children playing indoors and outdoors
Job Growth (2012-2022) 6%*
Median Salary (2013) $24,900*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Assistant Teacher Defined

You might help primary classroom teachers by working one-on-one with individual students or preparing lesson plan outlines. Additional duties may include taking attendance, grading homework and tests, copying course materials, maintaining records, setting up audio-visual equipment and supervising classrooms. Some assistants work exclusively with disabled or special needs students.

Training Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you'll usually need a high school diploma in order to work as an assistant teacher (www.bls.gov). In some school districts or states, completion of an associate's program in education or related postsecondary training might be required. Many school districts, states and community colleges offer basic training programs for aspiring assistant teachers that confer no credential. These programs might address topics like state education regulations, the teacher-assistant relationship, duties of assistant teachers, first aid, child supervision and incident reporting.

Associate's degree programs provide you with more exposure to learning theory, child development, education psychology and education technology. Courses that examine specific subject areas, such as math or arts education, could also be available. Some programs offer specializations in early childhood, elementary or secondary education. Most associate's programs take two years to complete.

What's the Career Outlook?

The BLS reports that 1,228,440 people were employed as assistant teachers as of May 2015. Most teaching assistants worked in public or private elementary and secondary schools. From 2014-2024, the number of employed assistant teachers was expected to increase by six percent. Job growth during this time resulted from an increase in school enrollment and special education students.

How Much Could I Earn?

In 2015, the median salary for teaching assistants was $24,900, as reported by the BLS. Also in 2015, the highest-paying states for teacher assistants were Alaska, Maine, Rhode Island, Nevada, and Washington.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Many teaching assistants use the experience as training before acquiring an additional degree to become a head teacher on many different levels. Librarians and school counselors also work with children in a school environment, but this will also require additional education. Occupational therapists and assistants assist patients in improving the skills necessary for everyday life and work.

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