How Do I Become a Teacher's Assistant?
In order to become a teacher’s assistant, you will need to research your jurisdiction’s teaching assistant requirements, then locate and apply for jobs. Most jurisdictions require prospective teaching assistants to take a certification exam. Sometimes, prior teaching assistant experience or college education can take the place of certification, but not always. Once you have met your jurisdiction’s requirements to become a teacher’s assistant, look for jobs in school districts and in individual schools in your area.
Becoming a teacher’s assistant does not usually require any formal training. So long as you have a high school diploma or an equivalent degree, there is usually little that you must do to be qualified. Most teacher assistants work in elementary-level classrooms or with special needs children. You will probably not be required to teach anything complex, and all of your lesson plans will be prepared by the teacher.
Nevertheless, some jurisdictions require that a teaching assistant be able to demonstrate certain core knowledge. In these places, you may be required to sit for a teaching assistant certification before you can become a teacher’s assistant. Certification exams are often broken down by grade level and subject matter, and you will usually only have to take the exam that correlates with the sort of work you want to do. Certificates are usually valid for a certain number of years after issuance, but can be renewed.
Instructions on whether or not you need certification, as well as any exemptions to the certification requirement, should be available from your local government’s board of education. This office should also be able to provide you with more specific information about what it takes to become a teacher’s assistant and what sorts of career advancement prospects there are in schools in your area. Information is also usually available from any school district that advertises teaching assistant positions.
No matter where you are looking to work, you will in all likelihood be subject to a criminal background check before you can become a teacher’s assistant. Who may or may not work in close proximity to children is something that local governments frequently regulate. Most of the time, you must indicate your willingness to be investigated at the time that you apply, and sometimes even include an official fingerprint.
Teaching assistant jobs are almost always available, but finding the right position for you might take a bit of research. While teachers are often hired predominantly in the late spring, school districts advertise teaching assistant positions throughout the year. Jobs are usually posted on school district bulletin boards, which are most easily accessed online. It is important to keep a constant eye out for available positions that align with your interests and goals.
Most teaching assistants are hired by school district representatives, then assigned to a certain classroom in a certain school. Depending on your locality, jobs might be advertised by individual schools, but this is not normally the case. If you have a strong preference about the school in which you would like to work, be sure to note this in your application.
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