Nearly 1.4 million workers are employed as teacher assistants in the United States. Some teacher assistants work part time. Aides can find work in just about any preschool, elementary, or secondary school in the country. Teacher aides also assist in special education programs and in group-home settings. Aides work in both public and private schools.
You can apply directly to schools and school districts for teacher aide positions. Many school districts and state departments of education maintain job listings, bulletin boards, and hotlines that list available openings. Teacher aide jobs are often advertised on the Web sites of school districts. Once hired, teacher aides spend the first months in special training and receive a beginning wage. After six months or so, they have regular responsibilities and possibly a wage increase.
Teacher aides usually advance only in terms of increases in salary or responsibility, which come with experience. Aides in some districts may receive time off to take college courses. Some teacher aides choose to pursue bachelor's degrees and fulfill the licensing requirements of the state or school to become teachers.
Aides who find that they enjoy the administrative side of the job may move into school or district office staff positions. Others choose to get more training and then work as resource teachers, tutors, guidance counselors, or reading, mathematics, or speech specialists. Some teacher aides go into school library work or become media specialists. While it is true that most of these jobs require additional training, the job of teacher aide is a good place to begin.
Tips for Entry
Join professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Join the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers to increase your chances of landing a job and receiving fair pay for your work.
Contact schools districts directly regarding potential job openings.