Preschool Teacher Assistant: Duties, Salary & Requirements

Preschool teacher assistants support the education and learning of young children. Learn about the typical job duties of a preschool teacher assistant, their annual earnings and the job requirements, to see if this could be the right career for you. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career at a Glance

A preschool teacher assistant works under the supervision of a preschool teacher, providing both administrative and instructional support. They play an important role in assisting in a child's learning and development. The following table provides a brief description of the requirements, salary and projected growth for this career.

Education Required Two years of college or associate's degree
Education Field of Study Education; early childhood development
Training On-the-job training typically required
Key Skills Patience, good communication skills, creativity, flexibility, organizational skills, judgment and decision-making skills
Median Salary (2019) $22,891 (preschool teacher assistant)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% (all teacher assistants)**

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Do Preschool Teacher Assistants Do?

Preschool teachers must create the right learning environment for young children as well as organize and carry out engaging activities and lessons. It is the role of a preschool teacher assistant to assist the preschool teacher in planning and performing lessons and activities. A preschool teacher assistant may be required to supervise all children and maintain their safety at all times. It is also expected they help with feeding, toileting, dressing and diapering infants and toddlers. A preschool teacher assistant must ensure that classrooms are kept clean and organized. They must also engage with parents to provide information regarding their children.

How Can I Become a Preschool Teacher Assistant?

To work as a preschool teacher assistant, you will usually need to have completed several years of college coursework. To improve employment prospects, you may want to complete an associate's degree in education, early childhood development or other related subjects. Entry-level jobs may also require prospective preschool teacher assistants to have previous experience working with children, such as internships, volunteering or babysitting. If you would like to work with special needs children, you will likely need to pass a skills-based test, depending on your state.

What Skills and Qualities Do I Need to Become a Preschool Teacher Assistant?

A preschool teacher assistant would be expected to have a patient character and a natural affinity to children. Working with children can be difficult as they may have a wide range of abilities depending on their age and background. A teacher assistant would also need good communication skills and the ability to converse effectively with children based on their level and develop a good relationship with parents and colleagues. Preschool teacher assistants also require creativity in order to plan and carry out lesson plans that are engaging for young children.

How Much Does a Preschool Teacher Assistant Earn Annually?

The BLS provides data on most occupations in the United States, however it does not provide detail for preschool teacher assistants. The BLS reported that in 2017 teacher assistants in general made a median salary of $26,260 annually. The BLS also stated that the middle 80% of teacher assistants earned between $18,460 and $39,780. In comparison, PayScale.com reported that preschool teacher assistants earned a median salary of $22,891 annually in 2019.

What Is the Career Outlook for a Preschool Teacher Assistant?

Teacher assistants are expected to see an 8% growth in employment opportunities between 2016 and 2026 according to the BLS. The projected percentage change is close to the average growth expected of all occupations at 7%. The BLS reported that in 2016 there were 1,308,100 teacher assistant jobs, which is expected to rise by 109,500 jobs in 2026 to 1,417,600 jobs.

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