Teacher Assistants

What Teacher Assistants Do

Teacher assistants work with a licensed teacher to give students additional attention and instruction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDuhh_0d5XI

Work Environment

Teacher assistants typically work in schools, at childcare centers, and for religious organizations. Some teacher assistants work part time. Most do not work during the summer.

How to Become a Teacher Assistant

Teacher assistants typically need to have completed at least 2 years of college coursework.

Pay

The median annual wage for teacher assistants was $27,920 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of teacher assistants is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Rising student enrollment along with state and federal funding for education programs should affect growth.

Teacher assistants work with a licensed teacher to give students additional attention and instruction.

Duties

Teacher assistants typically do the following:

  • Reinforce lessons by reviewing material with students one-on-one or in small groups
  • Follow school and class rules to teach students proper behavior
  • Help teachers with recordkeeping, such as taking attendance and calculating grades
  • Get equipment or materials ready to help teachers prepare for lessons
  • Supervise students outside of the classroom, such as between classes, during lunch and recess, and on field trips

Teacher assistants also are called teacher aides, instructional aides, paraprofessionals, education assistants, and paraeducators.

Teacher assistants work with or under the guidance of a licensed teacher. Reviewing with students individually or in small groups, teacher assistants help reinforce the lessons that teachers introduce.

Teacher assistants may provide feedback to teachers for monitoring student progress. Some teacher assistants meet regularly with teachers to discuss lesson plans and students’ development.

Some teacher assistants work only with special education students.  When special education students attend regular classes, these teacher assistants help them understand the material and adapt the information to their learning style. Teacher assistants may also work with students who have severe disabilities in separate classrooms. They help these students with basic needs, such as eating or personal hygiene. Teacher assistants may help young adults with disabilities to learn skills necessary for finding a job or living independently after graduation.

Some teacher assistants help in specific areas. For example, they may work in a computer laboratory, helping students use programs or software. Others may work as cafeteria attendants, supervising students during lunchtime.

Teacher assistants in childcare centers work with a lead teacher to provide individualized attention that young children need. They help with educational activities, supervise the children at play, and help with feeding and other basic care.

Teacher assistants held about 1.4 million jobs in 2019. The largest employers of teacher assistants were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; local 70%
Child day care services 11
Elementary and secondary schools; private 8

Teacher assistants may spend some time outside, when students are at recess or getting on and off the bus. They may need to lift the students at certain times.

Injuries and Illnesses

Teacher assistants sometimes get injured on the job. They actively work with students, including lifting and otherwise assisting special education students, which can place them at risk for injuries such as strains.

Work schedules

Some teacher assistants work part time. Some monitor students on school buses before and after school. Although many do not work during the summer, some work in year-round schools or assist teachers in summer school.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of teacher assistants.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Career and technical education teachers instruct students in various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts.

Bachelor’s degree $58,110

Childcare Workers

Childcare workers attend to the basic needs of children, such as dressing, feeding, and overseeing play.

High school diploma or equivalent $24,230

High School Teachers

High school teachers teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Bachelor’s degree $61,660

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects in order to prepare them for future schooling.

Bachelor’s degree $59,420

Library Technicians and Assistants

Library technicians and assistants help librarians with all aspects of running a library.

See How to Become One $30,560

Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades.

Bachelor’s degree $59,660

Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.

See How to Become One $59,200

Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten.

Associate’s degree $30,520

Special education teachers

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities.

Bachelor’s degree $61,030

For more information about teacher assistants, visit

National Education Association

American Federation of Teachers

National Resource Center for Paraeducators

O*NET

Teacher Assistants


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Teacher Assistants,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/teacher-assistants.htm (visited ).