Educational assistant jobs can be found at all levels of education and require the completion of a variety of different types of tasks throughout the workday. In most nations, educational assistants have received some college education and often an undergraduate degree. They may be required to pass certain competency tests or take pedagogy classes that give them a better knowledge of education. All of the types of educational assistant jobs involve interaction with students under the observation of a teacher, instructor, or professor.
One of the most common types of educational assistant jobs is found at the primary school level. In primary school classrooms, educational assistants are often referred to as paraprofessionals or teacher's assistants and most have received at least some instruction in educational methodology. Educational assistant jobs in primary schools can be full- or part-time and may involve educating students individually or in small groups or the management of an entire classroom alongside the teacher. These educational assistants may also help monitor school children while they are at recess, lunch, or on field trips. Classroom teachers also use assistants to help with the clerical work involved in education.
Other types of educational assistant jobs are found at the secondary school level. In these settings, assistants may be involved in many of the same tasks as their counterparts in primary schools. It is common to find educational assistants in special education classrooms, where a higher teacher to student ratio is required to provide the proper attention to students. Many schools, however, do not budget for these positions and instead rely on the help of students, who are able to use one of their class periods, to assist a teacher with clerical work or organization. Though these students function as assistants, they do not hold educational assistant jobs.
At universities, educational assistant jobs are often given to university students. These students may be graduates or undergraduates, and in many cases, the level of education the student has received dictates the extent of the responsibilities given to the student. Undergraduate educational assistants may provide help to struggling students and may assist a professor with record-keeping. Graduate level educational assistants may be allowed to give lectures, grade papers, and plan some of the curriculum alongside a supervising professor. Both undergraduate and graduate level educational assistant jobs are usually paid positions and often help give students experience teaching in order to prepare them for future careers as educators.