careers teaching assistant

Teaching Assistant Jobs

Teaching assistant jobs… did you know?

Similar jobs: Classroom assistant, learning support assistant

If you believe children are the future, you could help support teachers in schools as a teaching assistant. Most often working with young children or older children with special needs, your day will be filled with variety. From playing games and encouraging early learning and communication to supervising children on school trips or comforting them when they are upset, your job is to both care for children and support their education at a really important time in their life.

Life is a learning process, and for some lucky children out there, their process could start with someone smart and caring like you!

You could be working in:

  • Nursery and primary schools (this is most likely)
  • Special schools
  • Secondary or independent schools and academies

Industry: Childcare and Education

Teaching assistant job trends

How much money can you make as a teaching assistant?

£11,000 – £23,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £11,000 and £23,000 a year as a teaching assistant in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a teaching assistant will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience. Your salary can also vary according to the work hours involved – being a teaching assistant can be a full-time or part-time position.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

In order to take on a teaching position, you’ll need to have a good standard of general education – so GCSEs at grades 9-4 (A*-C) or the equivalent will be useful, particularly in English and maths. A-levels and higher education on your CV will also help you stand out to employers.

Your CV can really shine if you have extra qualifications in childcare or youth work, and you will usually also need experience of working with children.

You will also need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to prove you are safe to work with children and safeguard them.


You can get into this job through an apprenticeship. Teaching assistant apprenticeships are available throughout the UK. You’ll mix on-the-job training with classroom learning. You’ll be paid a salary and your training will lead to a nationally-recognised qualification.

Depending on your employer, some teaching assistant apprenticeships may also give you the opportunity to progress to a foundation degree in supporting teaching and learning and/or assessment to achieve Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) status. Level 4 qualifications may also be open to you to as a result of your apprenticeship.

There are two types of teaching assistant apprenticeships that can help you train in the following roles:

Intermediate apprenticeship

  • Teaching assistant
  • Classroom assistant
  • Learning support assistant

Advanced apprenticeship

  • Teaching/classroom/learning support assistant
  • Behaviour support assistant or co-ordinator
  • Pastoral/welfare support assistant
  • Bilingual support assistant
  • Team leader

Career progression

With time and experience you could become a senior teaching assistant or apply for a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) role.

You could also train as a teacher. Visit Get into Teaching for more information.

What experience do you need for teaching assistant jobs?

Work experience

Your application for this role is more likely to be successful if you already have experience of working with children, such as nursery nursing, youth work and playwork. As well as gaining work experience through childminding and similar roles, you could explore summer jobs where you might work with children, such as crewing at a holiday camp.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work placements on a degree course


Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain experience of working with children, as so many volunteering opportunities can involve early youth community work. When you volunteer with children you’ll need to get a DBS check to prove you can safeguard children appropriately, and this DBS check is what you’ll need as a teaching assistant, too – so it’s all good experience.

You may be able to volunteer to help part-time in a local school. Check with local schools in your area for opportunities.

What skills do you need for teaching assistant jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for jobs like this one include:

  • You’ll need excellent communication skills to build good relationships with children, parents and other teachers
  • You’ll need organisational, planning and general IT skills, which are known as self-management skills – because no-one expects someone in a teaching position to be disorganised!
  • You’ll need teamwork skills to take instruction from the teachers you are supporting and fit into the classroom culture in a positive way
  • You’ll need a creative spirit to help you design activities that are fun, inspirational and educational
  • You’ll need a cool, calm head to manage children and cope with any challenging behaviour.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a teaching assistant do?

Your activities might vary if you’re working in a nursery or primary school, or if you’re working in a secondary school. If you’re working in a secondary school, you will most often be working as a special needs assistant.

Some day-to-day job responsibilities for nursery and primary schools include:

  • Getting things ready for lessons, e.g. setting up equipment
  • Reading to children or listening to them read
  • Playing counting games or teaching times tables to help children with numbers
  • Helping with arts and crafts activities and displaying children’s work
  • Supervising playtime and dining areas
  • Escorting children on outings, special events (like sports events) and between classes
  • Helping children with co-ordination activities like holding pencils or tying shoelaces
  • Supporting the teacher in keeping up-to-date and accurate records
  • Acting as a liaison with children, parents, carers, and other professionals

Some responsibilities for assisting with special needs in secondary schools include:

  • Accompanying students around a school
  • Taking notes for students in lessons
  • Helping to carry equipment, books and bags
  • Working with individuals or small groups of pupils.

You may work full-time during regular school hours in term time. You may also work part-time, like many teaching assistants.

Your first steps into teaching assistant jobs

Teaching assistant jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Apprentice teaching assistant
  • Teaching assistant apprentice
  • Teaching assistant
  • Classroom assistant
  • Learning support assistant

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