What Is a Teacher Aide?
Teacher aides are classroom support staff for teachers. Read on to learn about a teacher aide's job duties, as well as the education you'd need to pursue this position and the career outlook.
What Does a Teacher Aid Do?
Teacher aids, or teacher assistants, work with a teacher in the classroom to provide extra help and attention to students. They help enforce classroom rules and help supervise children during free-time like recess and lunch. They may work with students one-on-one or in groups to help reinforce lessons the teacher discussed. Teacher aids often help teachers track assignments and attendance, prepare lesson materials and equipment and more. Some teacher aids may work in specific areas of a school, such as a computer lab. The table below contains details about becoming a teacher aid.
|Education Required||Minimum of a high school diploma; Associate's degree or postsecondary training may be preferred|
|Education Field of Study||Education, child development|
|Key Duties||Aid certified instructors in the classroom|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||4%* (for all teacher assistants)|
|Median Salary (2018)||$26,970* (for all teacher assistants)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What are the Duties of a Teacher Aid?
As a teacher aide, sometimes referred to as a paraprofessional or teacher assistant, you support teachers by helping with clerical and instructional duties in the classroom. This gives teachers more time to plan lessons and teach. You work with individual students and small groups as directed by the teacher. Some aides may specialize in specific subjects with special education students or those who are non-native English speakers. Special education teacher aides assist students with their physical needs so they can focus on learning. Your duties could include listening to students read, grading homework and tests, keeping attendance records, and helping students with class work.
How Do I Prepare?
A review of job ads posted on Monster.com in April 2011 demonstrated that most employers seeking teacher aides require only a high school diploma and on-the-job training to begin their careers. Some states require completion of a certification process. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), schools with a high percentage of lower income students may require teacher aides to have at least a 2-year undergraduate degree and pass rigorous assessment tests (www.bls.gov). A college degree or courses in child development are appropriate for students wishing to become teacher aides. Teacher aides should also have experience working with children and have strong writing, communication and computer skills. Those who work with special education students may find the position to have some physical demands, such as lifting students as needed. The ability to speak a second language is also an important skill for teacher aides.
What is My Career Outlook?
The BLS expected job prospects to be favorable for teacher aides during the 2018-2028 decade. Turnover is high, and the number of available positions was expected to grow by six percent, which is average. Most positions are available on a part-time basis, with limited full-time options. Demand was expected to be higher in the South and West, due to more rapid population growth. Pay is relatively low, which contributes to the rapid turnover in positions. According to Payscale.com, teacher aides earned $13,000 - $32,000 per year, as of November 2019.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
A similar position that requires a high school diploma or equivalent is a childcare worker. These workers provide basic care for children when their parents and families are working or are otherwise unavailable. A preschool teacher is another option, but requires an associate's degree. These teachers educate children who are under the age of five to prepare them for kindergarten. They teach basic concepts in subjects like reading and writing.