How to become a teaching assistant

Written by tiesha whatley
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A teaching assistant aids the teacher, professor or instructor on various duties and teaching responsibilities. These individuals can be found in every type of academic setting, from preschool to graduate school. The higher the educational level the more responsibilities that the teaching assistant will have. On the graduate level, teaching assistants can take over the entire role of instructor for a couple of classes each semester. Becoming a teaching assistant requires a certain amount of education based on the academic level of the class that will be assisted. For the undergraduate and graduate courses, teaching assistants are usually students who the professor has handpicked based on their knowledge of the subject matter. For the lower levels, some college education is required. In this article, we will discuss how to become a teaching assistant.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Ensure you have the necessary skills. Working with children can be very stressful. This is why teaching assistants need to assert a certain level of patience. Other skills that a teaching assistant must acquire are the ability to multitask, interact with children and manage time.

  2. 2

    Research the educational standards in your state. Every state has its own education requirements for teaching assistants. Some will require only a high school diploma while others want 45 to 90 college credits. Now that community colleges and technical schools are offering 2-year degrees for teaching assistants, states are starting to require some type of teaching assistant certificate or degree.

  3. 3

    Check the licensing and certification requirements for your state. You may be required to be state certified before being eligible for a teaching assistant position. Often this will be posted in a job posting for teaching assistants.

  4. 4

    Visit your state's Department of Education website. Any open teaching assistant jobs will be posted there. You can also get more information about the licensing and certification requirements, along with any information that you need to take the tests.

Tips and warnings

  • Teaching assistants can be hired for full-time, part-time or on-call work schedules. Make sure you can handle the schedule before taking any position. On-call positions can be unpredictable, so you will have to be on your toes at all times.
  • To be a teaching assistant for a day care or preschool, check with the school. Most of the time, the school hires these individuals instead of the board of education.
  • Teaching assistants are usually hired for special education courses. It is difficult to teach students with learning disabilities. Volunteer to help out a class for a week to see if you could handle this on a daily basis.

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