Assistant Teacher Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: July 28, 2022


An Assistant Teacher, or Teaching Assistant, provides classroom support for a lead teacher as they guide the class through a lesson by preparing materials, interacting with students and supervising projects. Their duties include preparing lesson plans, tutoring students one-on-one or in groups, taking attendance and monitoring student progress.

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Assistant Teacher duties and responsibilities

Assistant Teachers oversee students in non-classroom settings like lunch, recess and field trips, and they work in small groups or one-on-one with students in the classroom to reinforce instructional material. Their exact duties can vary widely depending on the particular circumstances of the classroom they’re in, but some common duties and responsibilities include:

  • Prepare classroom equipment and instructional materials for lessons.
  • Perform recordkeeping duties associated with the classroom including attendance and grade calculation.
  • Instruct students in proper classroom procedures and behavior.
  • Collaborate with teachers and parents on a regular basis regarding student progress.
  • Adapt instructional materials as necessary to meet special education guidelines.
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What does an Assistant Teacher do?

Assistant Teachers work in a range of educational environments including schools, daycares, non-profit organizations and tutoring centers. They collaborate with Lead Teachers, Administrators and Classroom Aides to provide students with an enriching and productive educational environment. Assistant Teachers also get to know students and provide individualized assistance to help them understand course material and resolve issues. They supervise the class when the lead teacher is unavailable, help prepare the classroom each day, assist with cleaning up projects and coordinate student pickup and drop-off. Assistant Teachers maintain contact with parents and caregivers, acting as a liaison between the school and families.

Assistant Teacher skills and qualifications

Assistant Teachers hone many of their skills on-the-job or in related work settings like daycares. Since they work with a licensed Teacher, they may not be required to have as many qualifications. However, some typical skills and qualifications they should have include:

  • Two years of college classes or an associate degree in education or related program
  • Certification in CPR and first aid
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Patience when dealing with students of varying abilities and backgrounds
  • Resourceful and able to modify instructional materials as needed for students
  • Excellent at recordkeeping and highly attentive to detail
  • Able to work with teachers and parents to develop instructional strategies for students
  • Able to maintain focus and control in chaotic environments

Assistant Teacher salary expectations

The average Assistant Teacher salary in the United States is $11.71 per hour. The actual salary for a qualified Assistant Teacher candidate may vary from this average depending on their special skills, educational background and years of experience. 

Assistant Teacher education and training requirements

Assistant Teachers must have two years of college classes or an associate degree in education or a related field. If your organization is part of the Title 1 program, a state or local assessment may be used in lieu of educational requirements. If working with students with any kind of disability, job seekers should have coursework and/or additional training specific to the needs of disabled students. Experience with basic computer word processing and spreadsheet programs is typically required.

Assistant Teacher experience requirements

The job of an Assistant Teacher may be considered an entry-level role in certain organizations. In this case, the Assistant Teacher will receive on-the-job training to prepare them for their day-to-day tasks. In general, job applicants should have experience working with students of various ages, backgrounds and ability levels. Experience working in a related position like tutoring or childcare could be helpful.

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Frequently asked questions about Assistant Teachers

What is the difference between an Assistant Teacher and a Student Teacher?

Assistant Teachers and Student Teachers have similar positions, but there are key distinctions between the two teaching roles. Many teaching certifications require students enrolled in the program to spend time as a Student Teacher, where they observe a certified, experienced teacher and slowly take on more responsibility in the classroom. Student Teachers have the goal of growing their role over time and spend a large portion of time reviewing assessments with the Lead Teacher to improve their skills. Assistant Teachers are focused on providing classroom support and do not need to take on additional responsibilities or plan on eventually teaching the class.

What is the role of an Assistant Teacher?

Assistant Teachers work in a direct support role, providing assistance to students and Teachers. Assistant Teachers usually have entry-level positions and may use their Assistant Teacher position as on-the-job training for a future Lead Teacher role. They give classrooms the hands-on support they need to successfully educate students, taking care of certain tasks so that Lead Teachers are able to properly instruct the students. They have a key role in adjusting lessons to help each student learn the content by giving them the one-on-one guidance they need after a group lesson with the Lead Teacher.

What makes a good Assistant Teacher?

Good Assistant Teachers are highly communicative and can closely follow instructions to carry out lessons as part of a team. They should be optimistic and maintain a helpful attitude to support students as they learn how to problem-solve on their own. Intuitive, empathetic and detail-oriented people can make great Assistant Teachers because they notice student behavior and adapt their teaching strategy to help them succeed.

What are the daily duties of an Assistant Teacher?

Assistant Teachers can start the day either preparing the classroom for students by passing out papers, organizing materials, setting up any technology needed for the lesson or helping students find their correct classroom. Throughout the day, Assistant Teachers supervise breaks, including passing out snacks or watching young students during lunch or recess. They walk around the classroom to check up on students and report back to the Teacher when necessary.

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