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Being a teacher's assistant and working with children can be a very rewarding job or career step. This position can be held by a mother with school-age children, or a student pursuing a teaching degree who has minimum experience. The main requirement is to become certified as a teacher's assistant.
A high school diploma or a GED is required but completion of some college courses is better. If you are taking education courses in college, some schools permit you to use time spent as a teacher's assistant toward an internship or extra college credit.
Many states classify a teacher's assistant as a paraprofessional, and require a preliminary screening tests, and expect a minimum of 48 hours of college credit in math, English, reading, child growth and development, and other areas. In addition, prior childcare experience may be required.
Community colleges routinely offer teacher's assistant courses that address topics like child development, student motor skills, child psychology, special needs, and how to manage a classroom. You can complete most certificate programs in less than a year.
On-the-job training teaches an assistant to help teachers with office work, grading papers, organizing the classroom, and special activities. The aide also learns how to assist in effectively disciplining children.
Other areas she may handle include playground activities, lunch room monitoring, field trip supervision, and one-on-one tutoring.
The experience helps her decide if she wants to further her educational pursuits or remain working as an assistant.
Teacher certification classes are available online for a reasonable fee. The downside is the lack of on-the-job training opportunities. Work at a local daycare, YMCA, church nursery or summer camp to gain valuable experience working with children.
After receiving your certification, apply at your local school district and private schools in your area. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for teacher assistants to work with special education students and students with minimal English language skills is expected to grow between 2008 and 2018.
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