The Dress Code for Teaching Assistants

Starting a new career can leave you with a ton of questions, regardless what line of work you go into. One of the common questions that people have, when they start their new job is what the attire is. For teaching assistants you have a couple of dress codes you should know about.

The first is for your interview and the second is for when you start your new job as a teaching assistant. You have to be formal to get the job, yet practical when you’re on the job.

The following will give you a guideline on what the dress code for teaching assistants are, so you don’t feel overly dressed and out of place in the classroom, and/or at your interview.

The Dress Code for Teaching Assistants

What to wear to your interview

The clothes you wear to any job interview go a long way in making a first impression. You want to make an impression that lasts, but dressing too formally can add to your nerves. 

Every interview is a nerve-wracking experience, and people handle those differently. One thing that never fails to help you relax in your interview is getting your dress code right. You’ll be sitting with a panel of board members when applying for work in schools.

Normally 2 – 3 professionals and perhaps the head teacher may be sitting in too. You can expect every panel member to be dressed formally, therefore you should do the same. There’s a simple formula for formal dress, and that’s to keep your colours neutral.

Blacks, whites, beige, cream, browns etc. Dark goes with light, so if you’re wearing a pair of black trousers, go for a light coloured top. A cream or white blouse will suffice, and for men, the white shirt and tie will be just fine.

Suits are your safest dress wear though, as they’re made to fit the body, and cover you fully. You shouldn’t go with a top that’s low cut, or a dress that’s above the knee. For classroom/teaching assistants’ jobs, it could, or probably would be deemed as inappropriate. Make your first impression count, and dress to impress.

The dress code for teaching assistants in the work place

This is when your work clothes take a different direction, since most teachers aren’t going to be wearing suits to their work. The dress code needs to be practical, and you will have to be comfortable.

What’s meant by practically dressing?

Practical dressing means you will need clothing that will help you get through the day efficiently. You’ll be carrying stationery with you, so pockets are always going to be beneficial. Some things you may be carrying:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Rubber
  • Marker
  • Post-it-notes
  • Diary
  • Tissues

The more pockets you have, the easier your day will be as you’ll everything you need to hand, whenever you need it. Jeans or trousers are handy in that respect, and it’s what many a TA will choose. A pair of jeans, but don’t make the mistake of wearing trainers with them. Training shoes will be handy, but they aren’t professional looking.

There are going to be times when you’ll need to be quick on your feet, so a pair of smart shoes, that’s comfy with a firm sole on them, will help you run if/when you have to. Ballet pumps or boots with a cushioned insole would serve well for your footwear. On the top half, the most functional way to dress will be with layers. In the classroom, it’s going to be warm, so you probably won’t be needing a thick woollen cardigan.

When you’re going between classes though, some parts of the schools vary in temperature. An example could be the assembly hall, where there’s a large space, which takes a while to heat up.

The smaller space in the classroom will be warm, so a thin top for the classroom, and something to put over it, when you’re in colder spots around the school.

On a final note:

Always cover tattoos!

Whether you’re working as a teaching assistant, or attending the interviews to get a job, you should always try to cover any tattoos you have on your body. For some people, it’s considered as being unprofessional, if you were to turn up with ink all over your body, so any tattoos you have, try to have them fully covered, when attending your interview, and going to work.


This isn’t something that’s required, but it’s something that’s certainly worth considering when you’re going to work. In order to assist pupils with their education, you need their full attention. Think about the jewellery you’re wearing, and whether it’s suitable for your work. There are tons of people with a love for costume jewellery and dangly bangles. Those can be a distraction for some pupils, so you may want to leave the jewellery at home, if you feel it could be a distraction to your pupils.