Teacher's aides work under the supervision of teachers, helping them with a variety of clerical and instructional activities. They work in elementary, middle and secondary schools as well as in preschools and childcare centers. The qualifications to become a teacher's aide, also called a teacher's assistant, vary between schools, but typically at least a high school diploma is required. Sometimes college classes or a two-year college degree might be required, depending on the school district or childcare facility, and certificate programs that provide training for teacher's aides are also available. Coursework that will help you to become a teacher's aide includes classes in childhood education and development, classroom technology, interpersonal communications and others.
Some teacher's aides find jobs in the field with only a high school diploma, then they learn more on the job. Getting good grades in high school, especially in math and language arts, will help you find employment as a teacher's aide. Having some prior experience working with children and young people also might be necessary. Examples of previous experience that might help you find work in this field include acting as a volunteer teacher at your church, being certified as a babysitter or having previous work experience at a children’s summer camp.
If you plan to earn a two-year college degree or acquire a certificate to become a teacher's aide, strong grades in high school can help you get accepted into a program. Even with a post-secondary education, you still can expect to undergo some on-the-job training at the school that employs you. You'll learn how your school operates and the instructional methods of the teacher who you support. Having the ability to learn new things quickly will help you become a teacher's aide.
Most schools require their teacher's aides to undergo background checks. Training in first aid and certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation usually are also required; some schools might provide this training to new teacher aides. A current driver's license might also be required by some schools. In addition, proof of immunizations for tuberculosis and other illnesses is often necessary to become a teacher's aide.
An honest enjoyment of children and young people is a major prerequisite to be successful in this job. Strong reading, writing and verbal communications skills are important if you want to become a teacher's aide. Good problem-solving skills, a willingness to take responsibility and an ability to work with children from a variety of backgrounds is important. Having a patient, caring and gently assertive personality will be beneficial to you in this job. Knowing a foreign language, especially one that is prevalent in the community where you plan to work, also can be helpful.