How To Become a Teacher's Aide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A teacher's aide can be a rewarding career for people who love working with children and helping others. It's one of the most popular jobs for those who want to start a career in teaching or education. Teacher's aides help teachers in the classroom by providing them support with the students. The road to becoming a teacher's aide involves qualifications, clearances and placements to be completed.

In this article, we discuss how to become a teacher's aide and explain a teacher's aide's responsibilities.

What is a teacher's aide?

A teacher's aide supports teachers in the classroom with teaching, administration tasks and supporting students. They're also known as a teacher's assistant or education aide. The lead teacher is in charge of the class and the teacher's aide works under the lead teacher's supervision to help them fulfil the tasks they assign to the class. Being a teacher's aide can be an excellent way for undergraduate education students to gain some school work experience while getting paid. It can also suit parents and other people who are experienced with working with children.

If you start out as a teacher's aide, you can be in an excellent position if you decide to go to university to study education. Working as a teacher's aide can offer many great benefits without having to lead a classroom on your own. You get to work with children and support them in their growth and learning, which can be rewarding. The workday is the same as a school day, which is relatively short, typically six hours a day. A teacher's aide also benefits from a lot more time off throughout the years compared to other professions.

Related: Teacher Aide Job Description: Skills and Responsibilities

How to become a teacher's aide

Below we discuss five steps for how to become a teacher's aide:

1. Earn a qualification

To become a teacher's aide, you'll need to gain a formal qualification in education. There are a variety of different qualifications you can go for. The entry-level qualification is Certificate III in Education Support. It is excellent for budding teacher's aides without any experience. More than a third of teacher's aides and teaching assistants have a Certificate III. If you already have experience in an education support role, you can undertake a Certificate IV in Education Support for a more advanced qualification. Gaining either of these qualifications can widen your career prospects among today's employers.

You'll learn how to perform the essential tasks of a teacher's aide on these certificate courses. The course can take up to 12 months to finish, but you can get your qualification sooner in an online self-paced class.

2. Apply for your clearances

There are clearances you will need to have approved for to work with children. While they can differ depending on which state you live in, the Working With Children Check is common for most areas of Australia. You should submit these near the beginning of your course so that they have time to be approved by the time you start your placement.

You can find all the information required to apply for these clearances online. Follow the instructions provided and contact the government department if you have any questions about your applications.

3. Gain work experience

As part of your course, you'll be required to complete a teacher's aide vocational placement. Vocational placements are periods of work experience in the area of your study. This placement is a government requirement to become a teacher's aide. It's designed to help you develop your skills and applications in a real-world environment while under the supervision of a teacher.

Your placement can also serve to enhance your job prospects. Many teacher's aides go on to work at the school where they undertook their placement. Developing positive relationships with the teachers, and other school staff can help you gain employment with them after your studies. This is why it's important to get a placement at a facility that suits you and you're interested in working at.

You may have the following registered facilities to choose from:

  • Government or private schools (pre-primary, primary and high school)

  • Special needs aide within government or private schools

  • Education centres

  • Kindergarten

  • Special education centres

  • Community educational centres

Placements are an excellent way to help students become familiar with the work before they finish their studies. The main benefits of a teacher's aide vocational placement are:

  • You can carry out actual work tasks and gain real-life experience.

  • It can help your employability when applying for a job as employers may prioritise those with actual work experience.

  • You can get references from professionals that can help with your job applications later on.

  • You can expand your network and relationships within the education industry. This means that you can seek out education support roles at the organisation after you finish the placement.

4. Update your resume

One of the more logistical steps to becoming a teacher's aide is to ensure your resume is up to date. After you've gained your qualification, clearances and completed your placement, you will have lots of relevant details to add to your resume.

You may need an accurate and professional resume to become a teacher's aide and apply for a position at an Australian school. If you already have a resume, you can add your newly gained certifications. You can also tailor it to work in school and with children. You can highlight skills such as communication skills, interpersonal skills and teamwork, which can be important in a teaching environment. If you've worked with children before, you can include this on your resume to impress the employer.

5. Apply for a teacher's aide job

The final step in discussing 'how to become a teacher's aide' is to find a job. Once you've completed your course and the required vocational placement, you'll be ready to apply for a teacher's aide job. As well as searching on job boards, you can also email schools and facilities in the local area. Be sure to attach your CV, certificates and clearances to the email. Explain why you think you would be an excellent fit for their school and outline your skills and strengths.

Persistence is key when searching for a position. You may want to consider taking a job further away from home or with a different age group than you'd wished to. This can be a great way to enter the work field and show that you're adaptable. Once you enter the work field, it can be easier to move into the exact area you're interested in.

What does a teacher's aide do?

Teacher's aides help teachers run their classroom more efficiently. They commonly work with younger students and year groups. Younger groups that are new to the schooling world can have some trouble with staying focused and understanding. Teachers can need additional support to manage their classroom and help the students with their learning. However, there is a demand for teacher's aides who work with high-school classrooms and primary school settings. Teacher's aides usually work full-time to support the lead teachers every day, but schools can need them in a part-time role in some situations.

Teacher's aides' responsibilities can vary depending on what teachers require of them. Usually, their role includes the following tasks:

  • Supervise, assist and tutor individual students

  • Observe and record students' school performance

  • Provide extra assistance to students with special needs

  • Enforce classroom rules and policies

  • Help with discipline and monitoring student behaviour

  • Keep track of student attendance

  • Monitor students outside of the classroom during breaks, lunchtime and excursions

  • Reinforce the teacher's lesson plan

  • Assist in creating a lesson plan

The role of teacher's aides is different depending on their speciality of work. Below are the three most common teacher's aide specialities:

Types of teacher's aides

The role of teacher's aides is different depending on their speciality of work. Below are the three most common teacher aide specialities:

Early childhood education

Teacher's aides in early childhood education work with children younger than pre-primary age. This means that they assist in pre-schools and kindergarten, where young children attend before they begin school. The focus for these teacher's aides is child care and safety.

Primary education

Primary school teacher's aides work in school classes from pre-primary to year seven. For this age group, teacher's aides can focus less on child care since these children are older and more used to school. Instead, they support the teacher with their needs and help provide individual support during learning exercises.

Special education

Another typical teacher's aide speciality is within special education. These teacher's aides can help students with special needs with their classwork in any school year, from kindergarten to high school. Becoming a teacher's aide in special education can require the most training because you need to be able to work with children who have various special needs and abilities. People who have patience in good communication skills can make excellent special education teacher's aides.

Skills needed to be a teacher's aide

Teacher aides can benefit from having some specific skills that help them succeed in their role. Hard skills may be required for teacher aides working in specific classrooms, however, the following four soft skills are relevant for all teacher's aides:

Communication skills

Teacher's aides have the delicate task of communicating with children. Many school children haven't built the communication skills that most adults possess. This means that teacher's aides need excellent communication skills to facilitate conversations with students.

Interpersonal skills

Students can still be developing social skills and can be shy working with others. It can be important for teacher's aides to possess interpersonal skills to help children feel comfortable working with them.

Organisational skills

Running a classroom and supporting students efficiently requires organisation. A significant part of a teacher's aide job is assisting in the class plans and managing the activities. Teacher's aides can benefit from organisational skills to ensure the class operates smoothly and students are equally supported.

Patience and understanding

The teacher aide's role of supporting students can mean that they help struggling students to stay on track. These students may have learning difficulties and teacher's aides may need to use patience to provide them with the support they need. Understanding the struggles of the school world and keeping up with others can help teacher aides to be successful.

Is a teacher's aide a good job?

Being a teacher's aide can be a great job for people that want to make a difference. Teacher's aides work with children every day to help them get the most out of school. Working as a teacher's aide can be immediately rewarding as you notice the positive impact you're having on students. It can also provide a broader sense of purpose. Helping students today can set them up for success for the remainder of their schooling life. Teacher's aides help students achieve success and go on to impact our future society.

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