Teaching Assistant Careers

The job of a teaching assistant is ideal for parents with kids in full-time education. Because there’s no set qualification required to enter the field, it’s a job that’s in high demand. However, working as a TA isn’t just about doing the job. You can make a career out of it, as there are further education courses you can take to become a higher-level teaching assistant. (HLTA)

Become a Teaching Assistant

The job itself is pretty demanding, as you’ll be a part of the classroom and highly involved in the activities. You’ll be required to assist the teacher in setting the classroom up for activities such as arts and crafts, as well as creating displays of the children’s work. There will be differences in the work you entail, depending on the age of the children you work with.

That’s also something to note in the job descriptions for open vacancies.

  • A teaching assistant is the main job title for primary schools
  • Secondary schools often refer to the role as a learning support assistant, or a classroom assistant.

Within a secondary school, most positions will be to assist pupils with learning difficulties, or perhaps a disability.

Within a primary school, the teaching assistant may be required to assist if a child becomes upset, so the teacher can continue the lesson with other pupils, while the TA focuses on the individual child.

The majority of schools will have support staff to assist their teachers, especially in the early primary years. Entry requirements will differ with each Local Education Authority (LEA) therefore it’s best to check with the LEA in your area to find out what their current requirements are for teaching assistants. A good way to identify the skills gap is to take a look at the positions being advertised in the local press, and on job boards. While there’s no formal qualifications required to enter the profession, there are skills you must have in order to be considered for this line of work.

Essential skills include:

  • Organisation
  • Communication
  • Numeracy
  • Reading
  • Writing

Above all, you’ll need to have patience and a sense of humour will go a long way in helping you develop a rapport with the pupils you’ll be assisting in their learning.

Depending on the needs of schools near you, there may be additional opportunities for those who can speak a second language, which will support pupils who aren’t native English speakers.

For learning support training, not all training is always directly associated with the line of work, as you could train on sign language, which would be beneficial for working in an educational setting, assisting pupils with hearing problems. Naturally as you are applying to schools to work with children, you will be required to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Teaching Assistant Training

What kind of training is required to become a teaching assistant?

While training isn’t mandatory, and sufficient work experience with children is beneficial, having recognised accreditation will help secure employment in the field.

An entry-level award at Level Two in Support Work in Schools will cover the fundamentals on what you need to support the educational curriculum in schools. Further training can be done to study towards a Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning within Schools.

For the most part, when you’re applying for paid work, those qualifications will sometimes be a requirement, however, for voluntary work experience, good numeracy and writing skills can be sufficient to begin work voluntarily.

Once you get into paid work as a TA, there may be formal induction training or vocational training required as part of your job. That could see you studying towards certifications, such as the Level Three Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools.

As mentioned previously though, the training and qualifications will differ between Local Education Authorities. However, in most areas, you’ll likely find the above courses widely available, giving you the opportunity to study in order to support your job applications.

For those who are looking to further their career, there is scope to progress and become a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, which will require formal education, as well as the support of the school you’re employed with.

Teaching Assistant Jobs

If you think of working in schools, the number one job that will come to mind is that of a teacher. But there are other positions to be filled too, and one of these is that of a teaching assistant.

This position can be ideal for everyone from a young person thinking of progressing into teaching proper later on, to a mum who wants to get back to work and work with kids at the same time. If you want to find out more about this position, read the information below.

Teaching Assistant Jobs

What do teaching assistant jobs involve?

This job is what it says – it means you will be helping a teacher during class. You will be working alongside all kinds of children, some of whom may need extra assistance that you will be able to provide.

You will also be able to help in many other ways. You can set up a classroom in preparation for the lesson ahead. You can identify needs or issues with particular pupils and make sure the teacher is aware of them. Numerous other tasks and responsibilities will also come into play.

What practical skills do you need to get teaching assistant jobs?

In terms of education, all you need to display is a reasonable grade in both English and Maths. Ideally you should have a wide range of suitable GCSE grades, but these two subjects are understandably the most important to have done well in.

Aside from this there are no other educational requirements. You do not need to get a degree, unless of course you are planning to become a teacher later on. Some people go into a teaching assistant’s job to get experience and to see whether the environment is right for them.

What life skills do you need to succeed in a teaching assistant’s job?

You must enjoy working with children. You don’t necessarily have to be a parent to do this job, although the experience would no doubt come in handy. The position is not just open to younger people either. Older people – perhaps those who want to return to work after having children and are looking for something in term time only – are also considered for these roles.

It is very much a case of experience and the knowledge you have to offer rather than looking for anything above the normal GCSE qualifications. You may also flourish in this position if you are patient and are good at engaging with children of all ages.

There are lots of possibilities for becoming a teaching assistant no matter whether you want to work in a primary or secondary school. Wherever you end up working as a teaching assistant, you will have the opportunity to help lots of different pupils get the most from every day.

Thanks to the internet, teaching assistant jobs are now easier to find than ever. But there is still a lot of competition for teaching assistant positions. This means it is worth putting some effort into finding the best possible positions you can online. This article will give you some advice on doing just that.

Use the search engines to find a wealth of different job sites

This is by far the best way to find the widest range of teaching assistant jobs around today. There are lots of job sites available online, many of them widely known. But don’t stick solely to the best known ones. There are some more focused job sites that only list jobs involved in the teaching arena, including the position of teaching assistant. This might be your best bet when looking for the largest array of positions you can.

Search for positions in your local area

You can also narrow down your online search by adding the county you live in to your search query. For example you could type in ‘teaching assistants London’ or something similar depending on where you live or want to find work.

Many sites will also have a facility to notify you if suitable jobs become available. If you can request this it is worth doing so, as it saves you having to remember to go to the site to comb through all the latest listings all the time.

Create a CV to help you win teaching assistant jobs

A good CV can make all the difference to getting a job or not. Many online job sites allow you to upload your CV. This enables potential employers to take a look at your CV to see whether you would be right for the position they have available. You will need to get an account for each website you want to do this for, but it is worth doing and it will usually be free of charge.

Narrowing down the field

You may be surprised at just how many teaching assistant jobs you will find in this manner. But it is important to take a closer look at those you find so you can narrow down the field to the positions that would be best for you to apply for.

The secret to maximising your chances of successfully becoming a teaching assistant is to keep on looking and keep on applying. Don’t expect to be successful on your first application. You must persevere and remember why you want to apply for the position in the first place. Becoming a teaching assistant can be a rewarding job, as you will see when you finally succeed in getting the position you want.