What are the Typical Teacher's Assistant Qualifications?

G. Wiesen

There are different teacher’s assistant qualifications that must be met to become a teacher’s assistant (TA), and these can vary depending on the school at which someone wishes to be a TA. In most areas, a person typically needs to have at least finished high school or received a general educational development (GED) certification. Some schools and districts may also require some college education, usually at least two years, though some areas may require a four-year degree. There are also different teacher’s assistant qualifications for someone who wishes to become a TA at a college or university.

A teaching assistant may help students with academics and behavior.
A teaching assistant may help students with academics and behavior.

Teacher’s assistant qualifications are those minimum requirements that must be met by someone interested in working as a TA. A teacher’s assistant is a person who works in a classroom alongside a teacher, often providing assistance with individual student coaching, grading papers, or helping with special needs students. Since a TA may be responsible for different tasks and may be needed for different reasons, the teacher’s assistant qualifications in various situations can vary quite widely. In general, however, someone typically needs at least a high school diploma or GED certificate to become a TA.

Teacher's assistants must be able to grade student assignments.
Teacher's assistants must be able to grade student assignments.

If someone wishes to become a basic TA, assisting with daily routine and classroom management, then the teacher’s assistant qualifications he or she must meet can be fairly simple. Many districts require that someone have at least part of a college education, often at least two years in college. A two-year degree may be required. The teacher’s assistant qualifications for someone who wishes to assist with special needs students can be quite a bit higher. Someone may need a four-year degree, often in developmental psychology or a foreign language, to be able to assist a teacher with students who have learning disabilities, speak another language, or present special behavioral challenges.

Teacher's assistants may need to demonstrate their ability to work with students in the classroom to become qualified.
Teacher's assistants may need to demonstrate their ability to work with students in the classroom to become qualified.

There are also TA positions available in colleges and universities, and the teacher’s assistant qualifications for such positions are quite different. This type of TA is usually a graduate student who has completed a four-year degree, like a bachelor’s degree, in a related subject area. While he or she is working on his or her postgraduate degree, such as a master’s degree, he or she will work as a TA for another professor in a lower level course in that field. This work often involves teaching classes, grading papers, and assisting students with questions or help they may need outside of class.

Teacher's assistant qualifications can vary from one school system to the next.
Teacher's assistant qualifications can vary from one school system to the next.
College teaching assistants typically grade papers and sometimes teach classes.
College teaching assistants typically grade papers and sometimes teach classes.

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