A teaching assistant is hired to help a licensed professional perform his or her daily tasks. This position is common in public schools, where instructional assistants supervise classes and provide personalized attention to students with disabilities. Learn more about the steps you can take to become a teaching assistant.
Part 1 of 4: Take an Interest in Special Education
Step 1. Get some experience with children
Many paraprofessionals start out as babysitters or early educators. Others are parents of young children and are comfortable with the possibility of working with elementary school students.
Step 2. Learn basic administrative tasks
Take a basic computer course, typing or note-taking classes. Almost all paraprofessionals are asked to write reports, monitor discipline, and perform administrative duties for teachers.
Step 3. Use your personal experience
Special education aides may have experience working with people with physical or mental disabilities. Connecting with these people can help you understand the value of this role.
Part 2 of 4: Choose Study Options
Step 1. Earn your high school diploma or US General Education Development certificate
(GED). This is the minimum academic requirement for teaching assistants in general.
Step 2. Enroll in a certification program
If you know the area in which you will be performing, contact your local school district and ask if it provides training for people interested in working as a paraprofessional. If so, apply to the program.
Step 3. Enroll in a college of higher learning
Look for a diploma in training for paraprofessionals, special education aides, early intervention providers, or another discipline.
Step 4. Choose to become a Teaching Assistant while completing your 4-year degree
If you need to work and study at the same time, you can apply for a teaching assistant job while you study for your degree as a special education teacher or educational program administrator.
You can apply for a teaching assistant job after you enroll in college. Some states may require you to take a qualifying exam or have completed 2 years of college
Step 5. Take no additional studies and take a state-approved local assessment
If you have extensive experience teaching children with disabilities or in schools, you can study on your own and try to pass an assessment at a local school.
- The 2001 "No Child Left Behind" Law requires you to have 2 years of higher education (60 credits), obtain a higher technical diploma or pass a local assessment.
- The school district in which you work may have additional restrictions on the option you choose. Contact the district before choosing study options.
Part 3 of 4: Find a Teaching Assistant Job
Step 1. Call your local school districts
Ask them about open positions you can apply for.
Step 2. Make the job search between the months of April and August
During this period, schools renew contracts and are informed about vacant positions. Few schools need to hire staff during the first quarter.
Step 3. Apply for a part-time job
Instructional aides must occasionally work one or more part-time jobs, depending on the need for schools to hire special education aides.
Step 4. Be flexible
Work as a general teaching assistant while you get a special education job. You may be asked to support an elementary school teacher, supervise the computer lab, work with early childhood children, and work as an administrative assistant or teacher's aide at recess.
Step 5. Talk to your school district about job changes
Many schools decide to promote their staff to new positions. Find out if they will have a vacant special education aide position before the end of the school year.
Part 4 of 4: Focus on Special Education
Step 1. Look for programs that help you continue to specialize
Many states offer conferences or certification programs that will inform you about working with people with autism, visual, hearing, and physical disabilities, as well as learning and developmental disabilities. Take a program during the third trimester or on vacation from your teaching assistant jobs.
Step 2. Consider carrying out planning of educational materials, administrative work or other tasks that will increase your salary
In the US, special education aides earn between $ 17,000 and $ 39,000 a year. The more experience and responsibilities you have, the more you will earn.
Step 3. Enter a teaching certification program
Some states, such as Texas, provide paraprofessionals with more than 45 college credits to enroll in virtual training in special education and increase their qualifications.
- Research scholarship programs when you enroll in college or university. Some schools pay part of teachers' tuition to help them acquire more qualifications.
- Pay close attention to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Some programs are subsidized or assist instructional aides and special education teachers.