Supporting students and teachers efficiently is hard work, but very rewarding. The government defines the job as an assistant who supports children with learning, collaborates with teachers to facilitate effective learning experiences, and prepares displays and activities or the classroom. If you are the kind of person interested in the grassroots of education, online Teacher Assistant programs may be an option to explore.
For the most part, teaching assistants have a Bachelor of Education degree. Depending on the grade you would consider teaching, you might specialize or minor in Primary, Elementary, or High School Education.
Typical Requirements for an Online Teacher Assistant Program
No teaching certificate is required to be a teacher’s assistant, but some states require additional training, college courses, or a paraprofessional certificate. The position of a teacher assistant may be held by a student who is pursuing a teaching degree or a parent with school-age children. The primary requirement is to be certified. A GED or high school diploma is required. Having some college credit is an advantage. Just as the roles of teacher assistants vary, so do the requirements.
Some schools allow the time spent as a teacher’s assistant to be used toward extra college credit or an internship. Some states classify the position as a paraprofessional and expect a minimum of 48 college hour credits in child development and growth, reading, English, math, and other areas. They may also require a preliminary screening test. Prior childcare experience may also be a prerequisite. Working at a summer camp, church nursery, YMCA, or a local daycare helps teacher assistant candidates gain valuable childcare experience.
Having related field experience is nearly always required or preferred to work as a teacher’s assistant. On-the-job training teaches assistants to help teachers with special activities, organizing the classroom, grading papers, and office work. Being multilingual or bilingual may be an asset in areas that have students for whom English is a second language.
Some states require passing a rigorous local or state assessment and possession of a valid driver’s license. If a paraprofessional works in a Title I school, he or she has to meet specific requirements.
To be eligible for hire, and individuals must complete 48 college credit hours; complete an assessment that demonstrates competency in math, writing, and reading; or have an associate degree. Over the next two years, 96 continuing education hours must be completed.
Paraprofessionals who work with ESL and special education students must meet additional requirements in some states. California requires completion of two years of college, a clinical training program, and passing a test that is administered by the California Speech-Language Pathology, and Audiology Board.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, those who work with special needs students typically have to pass a skills-based test. Teacher assistants may be required to provide proof of a recent tuberculosis test and physical exam. Some schools have individual requirements, such as being certified in CPR and First Aid. Most communities require a background check for anyone who works in a school, regardless of the role.
Teacher assistants have to possess the knowledge required to manage and instruct children. They also must have a basic understanding of social studies, science, language arts, and math at the level they will assist. Knowing how to operate office and classroom equipment such as copy machines, computers, and overhead projectors is also necessary. Excellent communication skills are a must.
Working with children requires patience and mental and physical stamina. Teacher assistants need to work as part of a team. A teacher’s assistant must be willing to work with students as well as other education team members.
Respected Online Teacher Assistant Programs
Ashworth College – Teacher Assistant Course Online – If you are interested in providing support for children as they grow and learn, an online teaching assistant course from Ashworth College may be the start to a successful educational career. Enrollment has no prerequisites. Learning takes place on your schedule at your pace. You could graduate in as little as four months. The course includes study guides and a comprehensive textbook. Content is delivered through interactive online lessons. You will be given guidance on how to be a capable assistant in diverse classrooms. How to interact with administrators, parents, teachers, and students are taught. Students learn essential professional, ethical, and legal standards of conduct. Successful students receive a Career Diploma. They have the option of participating in a live commencement ceremony.
Century College – Paraeducator Certificate – The online option is a program that provides essential core educational courses and field experience. The courses are included in an associate degree in education. It is advised that students take a ParaPro Assessment that deems them ‘highly qualified’ for Title I schools. Scholarship opportunities and financial aid make the program extremely affordable. The college earned accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The program qualifies for Federal Direct Loans, Pell Grants, and others.
Genesee Community College – Teaching Assistant Certification – The Teaching Teaching Assistant certification is completed 100 percent online. Courses are directly relevant to typical responsibilities assigned to teaching assistants for grades K-12. The college has a transfer of credit agreement with a list of colleges. Tuition differs for students living in New York and non-residents. Scholarships, grants, and loans are financial aid resources offered.
Finger Lake Community College – Teaching Assistant Certificate – This program is for those who envision themselves working in a classroom. It includes courses that prepare students to test for the New York State Department of Education certification. Two of the required courses, EDU 101 Teacher Assistant and the course that follows, EDU 102 Teacher Assistant II, focus on state and federal regulations and laws as you prepare for a teacher assistant position in public education. Other areas of study include child and adolescent learning and development, instructional strategies, and behavior and classroom management. The program is available entirely online, meaning you earn an education flexibly and conveniently. Financial aid for online students is available. There are scholarships, grants, and loans offered.