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Public Service Teacher Assistant
Salary Range Jobs Available
$23,400 - $44,100 137,000+

What Does a Teaching Assistant Do?

Keeping a class of students engaged is no easy task, which is why many teachers rely on the help of teaching assistants or TAs. 

Assistants are also known as teacher assistants, teacher aides, instructional aides or paraprofessionals (at the elementary school level). No matter what title they go by, they help classes run smoothly by reinforcing the lead teacher’s lesson plans and performing any necessary classroom tasks.

A teaching assistant’s goal is to reinforce student learning and to free up the teacher to spend as much time as possible instructing students.

Teacher assistants may also provide additional assistance to students who need extra help in completing classwork.

They work at public, private or charter schools and childcare centers. 

No matter what kind of classroom they work in, teaching assistants can make an impact. 

If you love working with kids and want to learn more, keep reading to learn about training requirements and what it’s like to do this job. 

A teacher assistant helps two students with classwork
Teacher assistants often work one-on-one or with smaller groups to reinforce a teacher’s lesson plan. (Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)


  • Provide support for lead teacher
  • Give one-on-one or small group instruction
  • Help teacher with taking attendance, grading tests and other tasks
  • Help prepare lesson plans, including gathering materials and setting up the classroom
  • Help supervise students during class, lunch, recess, between classes and on outings
  • Read to students or listen to them read 
  • Meet with lead teacher to discuss students’ progress

How To Become a Teacher Assistant: FAQs

The bottom line:

For someone who knows they want to work with children, being a teaching assistant is a smart way to be in the classroom with two years of training or less. Most teacher assistants know they love kids but may not know if they are cut out for this line of work. For the right person, it’s a deeply rewarding career. If this sounds like you, check out training options near you.

Patrice Hayes, teacher assistant ambassador

Being a teaching assistant

Patrice Hayes has been a teaching assistant for 14 years, but she never tires of engaging with kids and learning their personalities.

“I like that I am a big part of their life at a pivotal time in their life,” she says. “I love to see their personalities shine.”

She says there are many necessary qualities needed to do her job well. “You have to have patience. You have to be positive,” she says. 

The most important quality? “You have to be able to handle the unexpected.”

Find Teacher Assistant Training In Your Area


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