Career Profile: Educational Assistant...

Career Profile: Educational Assistant (French version available)

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Suppose that you wanted to work in education but not as a teacher. Another option is to become an educational assistant. This trade can be a good choice for people who enjoy working with students but prefer not to take the professional route.

Becoming a teacher can be a long and difficult process with uncertain results. Normally, teachers need to finish a four-year degree, and they might not be able to find work at the end. Becoming an educational assistant is a much shorter process. This trade involves an apprenticeship that takes about a year and a half to complete. Of the 2,700 hours required to complete the apprenticeship, 432 hours are spent on learning the theory, while the rest of the time is practical work on the job. Child psychology, group management, and other courses might be part of the theoretical work, and apprentices can also take courses related to their own particular interests.

Many different types of work can be part of an educational assistant’s job. The work can involve helping individual students with their studies, working with sign language or braille, assisting teacher with running audiovisual equipment, supervising students in the library or on the playground, or sometimes helping in the school office. Having a special skill like the ability to understand a different language can be helpful.

Working as an educational assistant can be stressful but rewarding for people who enjoy working with students. Some educational assistants might choose to specialize in one type of work, such as assisting students with physical disabilities, but others might decide to work with any students who require assistance. Having a calm and organized personality can be very helpful in this trade.

Finding a job as an educational assistant might be difficult in small school districts or in low-income areas, but job prospects are likely to increase as people retire in the next few years. Cities are generally better places than small towns for finding work in this trade, but jobs can be available anywhere, depending on the needs of the community. Most educational assistants earn between $16 and $27 per hour, or between $32,000 and $56,000 per year.

Normally, the work of an educational assistant is not very physically difficult, but it can be stressful. Being able to deal with children and their parents is important, and the job can become more difficult as people age, especially if they are working with young children. However, educational assistants can often continue in this work until retirement if they are reasonably healthy.

In most classrooms, the teachers lead most of the classes, but they might sometimes ask the educational assistant to teach a lesson. If that happens, the assistant might need to do some preparation at home before the next day’s classes. Other preparations may also be necessary, but educational assistants generally are finished for the day once classes end and the students have gone home. However, people in this trade should be prepared for some irregular hours, especially if they need to go with a student to a school concert or other event.

Working as an educational assistant can be a good alternative to being a teacher. If you enjoy working with students and helping them succeed, why not become an educational assistant?


ALIS. “Educational Assistant.” https://alis.alberta.ca/occinfo/occupations-in-alberta/occupation-profiles/educational-assistant/.

Job Bank. “Educational Assistant in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/occupation/25517/ca.

Payscale Canada. “Average Educational Assistant Hourly Pay in Canada.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Educational_Assistant/Hourly_Rate.

Skilled Trades Ontario. “Educational Assistant.” https://www.skilledtradesontario.ca/trade-information/educational-assistant.


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