Career Profile: Teacher Assistants
In your classes at school, you probably have a regular teacher and maybe an assistant who helps with some of the lessons or with students who need personal attention. Teacher assistants help to provide students with the help that they need while relieving some of the pressure on teachers. For people who enjoy helping others with their work, the job of teacher assistant could be a good choice.
As the job title suggests, teacher assistants work to help teachers in their classes. The exact job can vary, depending on the teachers and the courses. A teacher assistant in a math course, for example, might help student with multiplication or division problems. In a history or English course, the assistant might give presentations on various topics like Canadian prime ministers or on poetry. Sometimes, teacher assistants photocopy exercise sheets or hand out textbooks, or do whatever else the teacher needs.
Educational requirements for teacher assistants can vary, but normally a high school diploma is the minimum level. Many people in this field also have a university degree or a community college diploma in a field such as English as a Second Language teaching. Teacher assistants who want to work in a specific subject, such as mathematics or biology, should have post-secondary training in that subject.
One aspect that educational assistants need to consider is the grade level where they want to work. Assisting in high school requires a deeper knowledge of the subject matter than in elementary school, but working with younger children requires special techniques to be able to speak at their level. Many people in this career specialize in one age group, but some people may be able to switch between the very young students and older ones. Being able to work with a variety of age groups can help people in this field to find jobs more easily than if they are confined to one or two grades.
Working conditions for teacher assistants can vary, depending on the school and the help that the teacher needs. Often, the job requires some outdoor work, but most of the work is indoors. Some classes are large and others are small, and some are easier to deal with than others. In some cases, educational assistants might spend much of their time just keeping the class orderly. In other cases, people in this job might have the chance to teach lessons or to grade assignments.
Jobs for educational assistants can be available in almost any public or private school. However, large schools are more likely to have the money to pay for people in this field. Educational assistants with special skills, such as in mathematics, languages, or music, are likely to find jobs more easily than people with a more general background. Salaries start at about $26,000 per year and can rise to $42,000 with experience. Taking additional courses can help people gain new skills and higher salaries in many cases.
Working as an educational assistant can be a busy and sometimes stressful job, but it can also be very satisfying. If you enjoy helping others with their studies, it could be a good choice for you.
Job Bank. “Educational Assistant in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/occupation/25517/ca.
Job Bank. “Educational Assistant in Canada: Prevailing Wages in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/wages-occupation/25517/ca
Ontario Colleges. Education / Teaching / Teaching Assistant. https://www.ontariocolleges.ca/en/programs/education-community-and-social-services/education-teaching-teaching-assistant.
Work BC. “Elementary and Secondary School Teacher Assistants.” https://www.workbc.ca/career-profiles/elementary-and-secondary-school-teacher-assistants.