How to Become a Teacher's Aide: Training & Requirements

Teacher's aides act as assistants in classrooms, helping teachers calm students, prepare for lessons, and keep the class orderly. Find out how to become a teacher's aide, including the education and training needed, by reading below. Schools offering Teaching Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do I Need to Become a Teacher's Aide?

To become a teacher's aide, also called teaching assistants or TAs, you'll need to get sufficient training and obtain certification in order to provide support to teachers in a classroom environment. The basics of what you'll need include:

  • At least a high school diploma, though many states require some college education
  • Certifications, such as CPR or first aid certifications
  • Passing scores on a skills exam, particularly for those working with special needs students

Teacher's aides can work at elementary or secondary institutions, and their qualifications can vary significantly, depending on the school, student population, and grade level. However, patience and strong communication skills are necessary for teacher's aides, regardless of whether they're helping small children follow instruction or assisting high school students with equipment in computer labs.

Many people who work as TAs do so only temporarily while completing the training needed to become a full teacher, but this does not always have to be the case.

Teacher's Aide Education Requirements

The lowest level of education required to work as a teacher's aide is a high school diploma or its equivalent, although this is often merely a starting point. Some states require postsecondary education, which can range from a few credit hours to 2 years' worth of courses.

To work as a teacher's aide at a school with a large percentage of low income students, referred to as Title I schools, it is a federal requirement that teacher's aides complete at least 2 years of college-level coursework, hold an associate's degree, or pass a special assessment designed by national organizations or state and local school boards.

Training Options

Postsecondary education geared towards becoming a teacher's aide exists as certificate programs, diplomas, and teacher assistant associate's degrees. Associate's degree programs in education can also be used to work as a teacher's aide but are typically designed as a step towards a bachelor's in education to become a fully licensed teacher. Certificate and diploma programs are shorter and more focused on obtaining a position as a teacher's aide directly. Teaching aide courses may include subjects such as:

  • Child growth and development
  • Classroom management and professionalism
  • Teaching strategies for reading, writing and math
  • Introduction to special education

To ensure that you meet the educational requirements in your state, consult the state board of education's website for a detailed list of requirements prior to enrolling in an education program.

Teaching Aide Certification

In many states, work as a teacher's aide requires some form of state-issued permit or certificate. This process is often less strict than the licensure requirements for full teachers, but may still have highly specific qualifications that must be met. Applicants for certification typically have to submit transcripts proving they have met education or exam requirements. A preexisting employment agreement with a school district is sometimes required before an individual can apply, and experience with children through summer camps, youth groups, etc. is encouraged. Background checks are commonly required in this first stage as well. After being accepted, special training and workshops for teacher's aides may be required to bring them up to speed on issues they may face, like child abuse and bullying.

Certification for teacher's aides may be available at several different levels as well, with names like Educational Aide I/II or Level 1 Teaching Assistant. Higher levels of certification may last longer and require more education, more experience, or both. Certification through the state requires renewal and is often valid for only one year at the basic level. Check with your state's board of education to find out what teacher's aide qualifications you will be expected to meet.

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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