Do you like to work with children in the classroom setting but don’t want to spend 4 years in college and possibly grad school to become a teacher? Then, becoming a teaching assistant may be the career for you. Teaching assistant positions are available in the private and public sectors and you usually have a choice of full-time or part-time positions.
You’ll need to have a high school diploma or GED. You’ll need to have a background check and drug screening done before you can be hired by a school so keep that in mind. Best to have a background check done early in case there is a problem. You might consider getting some work experience with children under your belt and find out what coursework is available for teaching assistant before you try to get into a program. Many schools don’t require that you have schooling for a teaching assistant position (you must have a high school diploma/GED), however you’re better off if you do. More jobs will become available to you and at a higher salary.
Take a look at educational programs in your area for teaching assistant. One good place to look is in your local junior college. These colleges generally have coursework for this. Do keep in mind that some schools require an associates degree in teaching curriculum or you may need to take a state exam in teaching and pass it. Find out which schools you’re interested in being a teaching assistant (private or public) and find out what their requirements are before you enroll in a program. Keep in mind that if a school doesn’t require an associates degree (just a high school diploma), take advantage of this and get some experience from those schools. You might want to consider a child care facility (preschool) experience if you are planning on becoming a teaching assistant for the lower grades. This is a great opportunity! If necessary, volunteer your time in schools in your neighborhood. Then, later you can get an associates degree and move up to better teaching assistant positions if you like. Another avenue of attack is to go to seminars in the field of teacher’s assistant. These are often available at local public schools and community colleges. These presentations are not only enlightening but the people you meet can help you get started with your career (networking).
As a teaching assistant, you’ll do more than work with children in the classroom as you will be required to have office skills. Yes, paper work! You’ll need to have expertise in filing, coping, faxing and computer skills. Grade school children are using computers today so if you are older and not familiar with the computers, you need to learn fast and that would be now.
Make sure to keep a record of any seminars you attend, volunteer work, paid work and any college you may have. Make sure you have some good references from your employers and/or teachers in college. This will be needed to put your resume together. Start your resume as early as possible and continue to add to it. Make sure you dates are correct and any other pertinent information. When you’re ready, apply to local schools (public and private). This is when you will submit your resume, letters of recommendation and an application to that school. If they are interested in you, they will call you for an interview. Make sure you go to your interview properly dressed and well behaved and hopefully you’ll land that position