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Teacher Aides

At a Glance

  • Provide assistance to teachers in the classroom
  • Some perform clerical duties
  • Usually have summers off
  • Training ranges from a high school diploma to an associate degree
  • May need a license

Career summary

Teacher aides provide teaching and clerical support for classroom teachers.

Teacher aides may also be called teachers' instructional or educational assistants, instructional aides, educational paraprofessionals, and paraeducators.

Teacher aides help children learn lesson material. Some aides work with groups of children, while others work with a single student. Aides may listen as students read or help them find information. Teacher aides provide extra attention to students who are having trouble in school.

Some teacher aides prepare lesson plans for subjects such as math or science. Many teacher aides grade homework and tests. Under the direction and guidance of teachers, aides may sometimes instruct children.

Teacher aides assist and supervise students in lunchrooms, on school grounds, and on field trips. In high schools, teacher aides supervise study halls, libraries, and computer labs.

Some teacher aides work with students who have disabilities or special needs. They may:

Aides help students who speak English as a second language. They may help students and families who have financial needs locate social services in the community. Aides help with student behavior problems and report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.

Teacher aides are usually required to take courses or training to keep their skills up to date.

Teacher aides provide clerical support by preparing class handouts and setting up audio-visual equipment for presentations. They make sure equipment is working properly. Other clerical duties include:

Related careers

This career is part of the Education and Training cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to teacher aides.

Common work activities

Teacher aides perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, teacher aides:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Teacher aides frequently:

It is important for teacher aides to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for teacher aides to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Teacher aides need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a teacher aide, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Education requirements for teacher aides vary widely. Teacher aides who mainly do clerical work need only a high school diploma or equivalent. If you want to work with children, most schools require you to complete at least two years of college courses or have an associate degree.

Helpful college courses include counseling, early childhood education, and special education. Teacher aides who speak a second language, such as Spanish, are in great demand.

Work experience

Experience working with children as a summer camp counselor or a babysitter may help you get a job as a teacher aide.

On-the-job training

Teacher aides who do clerical work usually receive training on the job from an experienced worker. Training covers computer and other equipment use and orientation to school policies. This type of training may last up to a month.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers look for applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent when hiring teacher aides who do clerical work. Aides who work in the classroom may be required to have completed college courses or have an associate degree. Employers prefer applicants who have experience working with children.

Employers look for applicants with good communication and writing skills. Knowledge of a second language such as Spanish is very helpful in getting a job. Employers may require applicants to take a written exam and submit to a background check.

Some school districts may require workers to obtain a valid first-aid certificate and take HBV (Hepatitis B) and AIDS/HIV training. Many employers look for applicants with some computer experience.


Courses in early childhood education and child development, psychology, and education are helpful. Volunteer work with school-aged children in your local district provides valuable experience. Bookkeeping and organizational skills are helpful. Substituting as an aide is a good way to get experience and be hired full time.


In Washington, teacher aides must meet their school district employer's education or examination requirements for employment. These requirements generally follow Federal guidelines. Workers who have regular unsupervised access to children are required to pass a criminal background check. For information on State certification options see the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website (external link).


Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


For aides in public schools in Washington, the average base salary is $38,797 per year (including part- and full-time workers).

#Updated OSPI info from School District Personnel Summary Report, Table 7 4/9/12 lh & 5/7/13, 4/13/15 cj. lh 4/11/16. OSPI 4/3/17, 3/12/19 cj.

Teacher assistants (SOC 25-9041)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $25,980 $29,480 $34,430 $39,010 $46,300
    Bellingham Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $28,692 $33,022 $36,046 $39,070 $41,368
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $27,656 $33,387 $36,789 $40,191 $46,147
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $21,051 $25,428 $30,309 $36,176 $39,734
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $25,605 $28,162 $32,146 $36,612 $39,397
    Longview Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $25,476 $27,655 $31,667 $35,984 $38,776
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $27,579 $31,661 $35,707 $39,196 $41,320
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $26,366 $31,419 $35,163 $38,535 $40,971
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $27,629 $32,275 $37,250 $43,500 $50,121
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $25,648 $27,440 $30,440 $35,929 $41,412
    Vancouver Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $25,212 $29,455 $34,838 $39,072 $44,925
    Walla Walla Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,969 $26,776 $31,287 $35,984 $38,976
    Wenatchee Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $25,318 $27,640 $31,405 $36,369 $39,802
    Yakima Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $26,812 $29,268 $33,137 $37,304 $39,840
United States Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $18,670 $21,940 $26,970 $34,190 $41,020

(1) Wage estimate is not available.

Wages depend on duties performed. Those with teaching responsibilities earn higher wages.

Benefits may include health insurance and sick pay. Some school districts pay tuition and provide time away from the job to get more training. Some teacher aides are covered by a union contract. They may have a retirement plan and other benefits.

Because teacher aides usually work a ten-month year, their wages are reported annually.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Teacher Assistants (SOC 25-9041)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 47,228 16.9% 16.1% 6,753
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 2,049 17.3% 13.4% 294
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 2,578 3.5% 8.6% 281
    Benton and Franklin Counties 2,210 18.3% 15.0% 323
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 1,688 12.1% 11.9% 220
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 3,849 18.4% 15.2% 564
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 3,925 18.9% 14.1% 580
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 3,016 17.7% 14.6% 437
    King County 12,944 19.5% 19.6% 1,935
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 2,564 18.3% 13.8% 375
    Pierce County 4,386 17.1% 15.2% 630
    Snohomish County 3,405 19.0% 12.4% 505
    Spokane County 3,087 10.1% 13.9% 387
United States 1,380,300 4.0% 5.2% 153,900

National employment

Most teacher aides work at elementary, middle, and high schools.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation is growing about as fast as average. Student enrollments are expected to continue to grow. There are more special education students and students who speak English as a second language. Teacher aides work mainly with these two groups of students. School budget cuts may increase the number of pupils in each classroom. All these factors increase the need for aides.

Many job openings occur as people leave the occupation for other jobs.

Other resources

American Federation of Teachers (external link)
555 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
Council for Exceptional Children (external link)
3100 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 600
Arlington, VA 22201-5332
National Education Association (external link)
1201 - 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Holland occupational cluster