How do you become a Teaching Assistant?

Do you like working with children and teaching them new skills? Then working as a teaching assistant might be something you like. In this article we've gathered information about the teaching assistant job description, salary, education and more. Want to get to work directly? Check out our teaching assistant vacancies.

What does a Teaching Assistant do?

Working as a teaching assistant, your roles in the classroom can change on a daily basis. From helping out on group activities to clearing away equipment after lessons. As a teaching assistant you will find yourself constantly busy.

For example, starting early to prepare classrooms with the activities and lessons for the day and managing the workload given to you by the lead teachers. You will be tasked in helping plan learning activities with lead teachers and understanding the curriculum to educate children of all ages. You will also be entrusted with aiding children who need extra support in some topics and studies.

Furthermore, you may also be assigned other teacher assistant duties, such as managing the behaviour of the class for and with the lead teacher. A teaching assistant is also responsible for monitoring sporting activities and outings with other teachers and assistants.

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Qualifications to be a Teaching Assistant?

Education & Work Experience

There are three different courses which you can take to become a teaching assistant, these courses you complete at college. Courses are an accessible way to learn and develop knowledge with childcare and teaching to put into practice.

  • The first option is a level 2 or 3 of Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Your second option is a level 3 diploma in Childcare and Education.
  • And lastly, T level in Education and Childcare.

However, there are two other methods to gain work experience. One way is getting a teaching assistant advanced apprenticeship, this encourages academic growth, development of skills and practical work. These apprenticeships last around 2 years, but differ depending on the study. Another method to use is volunteering for local schools or community organisations, these can also lead to paid employment or an offer of a contract.

Skills of a Teaching Assistant

Lesson Planning

This type of skill is a necessary attribute to have as both a teacher and teaching assistant. Listing this as a skill you have demonstrates your ability to plan, prepare and execute lessons or activity plans to develop children's knowledge of a subject.

Interpersonal Skills

Your interpersonal skills are vital when working anywhere. Being able to form and maintain healthy and personal relationships with colleagues, students and the parents helps the promotion of positive interactions with one another. Further, helping children's interpersonal development.


Multitasking is one of a teaching assistant's main responsibilities. These may be needed to be completed quickly or whilst looking after children, so having the multitasking skill is crucial when working with children. Being able to adapt to the daily plans whilst helping monitor and complete the lesson plan can be challenging.

DBS Checks

When working with children of any age, it is a requirement for you to be DBS checked. This is a way for employers to check your criminal record, and to see if you are legally allowed to work with children or vulnerable adults. DBS checks normally show convictions, warnings and cautions throughout your life.

First Aid

Employers look for people who have experience in first aid and CPR certificates. As a teaching assistant, you may have to deal with health conditions from students. Having first aid experience is a valuable skill to display, as being prepared to react to situations where a student may become ill or suffer an injury.

Average Teaching Assistant Salary in the UK

With any job your location can really alter your salary, however the average salary for teaching assistants in the UK is £21,785 per year. As a teaching assistant a full-time level one salary is typically £18,300, whilst level two is around £19,000. These are starting salaries for teaching assistants, but experienced level three have additional duties, where the potential earnings is up to £25,000.

Average Teaching Assistant Salary in the UK

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Overview of Teaching Assistants

Profession Group Teaching
Minimum Age N/A
Education Requirements GCSEs or Certificate for Teaching
Salary Indication £18,000 to £25,000
Related Jobs Tutor or Training

FAQs about Teaching Assistants

  • Can you be a teaching assistant with no qualifications in the UK?

  • No in the UK, the minimum qualifications needed to become a teaching assistant are GCSEs in Maths and English. A skill which employers look for is showing how well you work with children.

  • What is the salary of a Teaching Assistant in London?

  • The average salary for a teaching assistant position is around £24,570 per year, or £12.60 per hour.

  • Can you be a teaching assistant at a University?

  • Yes, of course. As a teaching assistant at university, you will aid the professor with instructional responsibilities, and creating and delivering learning materials in a course.

See more of our professions guide