Teaching assistants help classroom teachers, day-care providers and early childhood education teachers. The median salary for a teaching assistant is about £13,000 as of 2010. While some teaching assistants make much less than that, a small percentage make just under £19,500 per year. Teaching assistant job descriptions and requirements vary widely from school to school and centre to centre.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 per cent of teaching assistants work part time. Most teaching assistants, even those who work a full-time schedule during the school year, must find other work during the summer months when schools are closed.
Full-time teaching assistants often receive job benefits as part of their salary package. Benefits can include health, dental, vision and paid time off. Part-time workers, however, cannot expect to receive job benefits.
Teaching assistants can increase their earning potential both by gaining experience in the field and by getting higher degrees. They are given cost-of-living raises as well as merit raises.
According to PayScale's, a person with a high school diploma can work as a teaching assistant and expect to earn about £5 to £7 per hour, but with an associate or bachelor's degree that rate rises to a maximum of £9 per hour.
The job requirements and duties for teaching assistants vary widely depending upon the school, grade level and the education and experience that the teaching assistant brings to the job. Teaching assistants who work in child care or day-care environments may expect to make less than teaching assistants in K-12 classrooms, but education and expertise also affect the rate of pay.
Some teaching assistants do a lot of clerical work, while others provide direct assistance with students with disabilities or other special needs. The nature of the work will have a direct impact on the rate of pay.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that job outlook for teaching assistants is favourable. This is for two reasons, one being that this area of employment is experiencing growth and expansion. The other is that there is high turnover in this job. Working as a teaching assistant is challenging. Some teaching assistants burn out from working with difficult students, and others get bored with the clerical work.
Some full-time teaching assistants belong to unions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that "in 2008, about 37 per cent of teacher assistants belonged to unions or were covered by a union contract — mainly the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association — which bargain with school systems over wages, hours and the terms and conditions of employment." A full-time teaching assistant who belongs to a union is in the best position to make a teaching assistant salary that reflects her education and experience.