Nursery school teaching assistants provide support to teachers of preschool pupils. They assist with planning classes, setting up and supervising activities, and providing children with a safe environment in which to learn and express themselves. Teaching assistants may supervise playground and dining areas of the nursery school, or work with pupils who have special educational needs. Salary levels for the occupation are comparable with those of teaching assistants throughout all levels of the education system.
In May 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gathered wage data from more than 1.3 million individuals working as teaching assistants throughout the educational system, including those at nursery school level. It concluded that the average annual salary for the occupation was £15,782, equivalent to a monthly income of £1,314. The highest earners received in excess of £22,977, while those in the bottom 10 per cent earned an average of less than £10,315.
Salary by Industry
Among the sectors of the education system assessed by the bureau, nursery school teaching assistants may be employed within child day care services and individual and family services. The bureau listed the average yearly wage for a teacher assistant in these sectors as £13,312 and £14,592, respectively.
Salary by Geography
The geographical location in which a nursery school teaching assistant works will affect her salary. Across all industry sectors, the bureau placed Alaska and California on top of states in which a teaching assistant was likely to secure the best pay rates, with averages of £22,938 and £19,396, respectively. Kansas was listed at just £13,734. At the level of metropolitan districts, State College, Pennsylvania headed the list at £23,887, while, in contrast, Kingston, New York State was listed at £15,249. In its 2011 survey of teaching assistant salaries in major cities, pay comparison website SalaryExpert.com found that Boston and New York had the highest rates -- £22,291 and £20,610 -- while Atlanta was reported at just £15,440.
With a projected job growth of around 10 per cent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' predictions for teaching assistant employment opportunities is roughly in line with those for the country as a whole. The BLS expects to see a growth rate across all occupations of between 7 and 13 per cent over the decade between 2008 and 2018. As such, wage rates should remain competitive. However, while teaching assistants should find favourable job prospects, the bureau cautions that many new positions are likely to be part-time.