Teaching assistants support teachers and help children with learning activities and social development. Teaching assistant jobs are sometimes advertised as Classroom Assistant jobs or Learning Support Assistant jobs but the job role is the same.
There are five ways to get a job as a teaching assistant; 1) a college course, 2) an apprenticeship, 3) volunteering, 4) applying directly, and, 5) the government kickstart scheme.
The best option for you will depend on your personal circumstances including;
- Your existing qualifications and experience
- How high competition is for teaching assistant jobs at your local schools
- How quickly you’re planning on becoming a teaching assistant
- Whether or not you’re happy (or can afford) to start on an apprenticeship wage
There are no guarantees you’ll be able to get a teaching assistant job because demand is so high. Especially among parents of children in school looking for a job that matches school hours. However, you can greatly improve your chances by improving your CV with the skills, knowledge and experience
How to become a teaching assistant with a college course
There are a range of level 1, level 2 and level 3 qualifications that will improve your chances of getting a teaching assistant job. These teaching assistant courses will help you improve your knowledge on topics including;
- Schools as organisations
- Children and young people's development
- Equality, diversity and inclusion
- Health and safety
- Maintaining relationships with children and young people
- Supporting positive behaviour
Teaching Assistant Courses
- Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning
- Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools
- Level 3 Diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning
- Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning
- Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning
Childcare & Education Courses
- Level 1 Award in Understanding Safeguarding in Education and Childcare Settings
- Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education
- Level 3 Certificate in Childcare and Education
- Level 3 Award in Childcare and Education
- Level 3 Applied General Certificate for Early Years, Childcare and Education
- Level 3 Applied General Award for Early Years, Childcare and Education
T Level Courses
- Level 3 T Level Technical Qualification in Education and Childcare
- Level 3 Technical Diploma in Early Years Education and Care
Entry requirements for teaching assistant college courses
Entry requirements vary depending on the level of the teaching assistant course. The best way to find out what the entry requirements are is to apply for a course and ask during the initial assessment and guidance.
If you don’t have the qualifications required, the college or training provider may be able to help you with GCSE 9 to 4 (A* to C) equivalent qualifications in maths and English.
You may need the following qualifications:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
How to become a teaching assistant with an apprenticeship
You could start a role as a Teaching Assistant through a teaching assistant advanced apprenticeship.
Entry requirements for a teaching assistant apprenticeship
You may need the following qualifications to start a teaching assistant apprenticeship:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
If you don't have GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths get in touch with an apprenticeship training provider. They’ll be able to offer you equivalent Functional Skills Maths and English Level 2 as part of the apprenticeship. Or refer you to a training provider who offer free Functional Skills courses.
How to become a teaching assistant by volunteering
You may be able to get experience by volunteering in a local school or community organisation. When applying for teaching assistant jobs, experience is sometimes more important than having the relevant qualifications. You’ll also have the opportunity to get some teaching assistant qualifications while you're working as a volunteer.
How to become a teaching assistant on the Kickstart scheme
Are you aged between 16 and 24 and claiming Universal Credit? You may be eligible to apply for jobs on the Kickstart scheme. Speak to your work coach at the Jobcentre and express an interest in getting a job as a teaching assistant. Your work coach may be able to recommend free teaching assistant courses and/or shortlist you for interview for a teaching assistant jobs on the Kickstart scheme.
How to become a teaching assistant by apply directly
You can apply directly for teaching assistant jobs through schools, local authorities and academy trusts. Schools usually set their own entry requirements but it’s likely you’ll need GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths.
To improve your chances of getting a job interview or a job offer, gaining some experience volunteering and/or teaching assistant qualifications will greatly improve your chances of getting a job. Good luck!