Teacher Assistants – No Advanced Degrees, Plenty of Jobs

by Ainoura Oussenbec

May 9, 2019

Have you ever wanted to work with school kids but do not have advanced or the right degree? You can. Teacher assistants perform duties that are instructional in nature or deliver direct services to students or parents. They serve in a position for which a teacher has ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services.

In Oregon, there are 15,770 teacher assistants with 1,242 of them working in the Rogue Valley. For this occupation, a typical entry level education is a high school diploma or equivalent. Those with higher degrees will have a competitive advantage in the labor market.

Examples of work activities involved with this occupation are listed below, in order of importance:

  • Tutor students who need extra assistance.
  • Teach daily living skills or behaviors.
  • Teach life skills.
  • Supervise school or student activities.
  • Assist students with special educational needs.
According to OED’s employment forecast for 2017-2027, the growth rate for this occupation is only 7 percent, well below the average 12 percent for all occupations. However, in addition to these new jobs, many more replacement jobs will be available in the near future, due to retirements and people leaving the area or the field.

Of course, with low educational requirements the wages for teacher assistants are not the same as for teachers. In the Rogue Valley, teacher assistants’ wages start at about $23,539 or $11.33 per hour. The average wages are $38,759 annually or $18.63 per hour. Part time jobs are common in this occupation.

Working as a teacher assistant could be ideal in several situations. Stay at home parents can work part time hours at their local school to supplement family income. Young people out of high school are common among teacher assistants, as they are learning about the teaching field before deciding on college choices. It is also possible that professionals who took early retirement could work as teacher assistants in schools, to boost their income and make a difference for the next generations.

Guma from Eagle Point has a college degree from a different country. Raising a family in the Rogue Valley did not leave her time to pursue a local college degree. She now works as a teacher assistant at an elementary school and loves working with kids. Oftentimes, she can give her attention to one child at a time, and she does not have to worry about preparing the teaching content! This is a perfect job for her.

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