Jobs in Demand: Teaching Assistants

Teacher and Student sitting at desk with computer monitor and pencils and paper

Schools are getting ready to re-open in various forms this fall, in-person classes, distance learning and a hybrid of the two. Demand will be high for Teaching Assistants to help facilitate a safe return to the learning environment.  Also known as Paraprofessionals or just “Paras”, Teaching Assistants play a vital role in the success of students and schools.

Teachers are already busy having to juggle lesson plans and facilitate instruction to youngsters all while trying to maintain students’ focus and attention. Then there are students who may need a little extra help to absorb and comprehend all of the information that is being relayed to them. This is where Teaching Assistants come in, providing needed support in and out of the classroom. In Minnesota, there were 36,020 people employed as teaching assistants in 2019, making it one of the largest occupations in the state. 

Teaching Assistants have a wide variety of tasks, including individual or small group tutoring, teaching social skills, providing classroom supervision, assisting students who have special needs, observing and recording student performance, enforcing rules and policies, grading exams and homework, and presenting on subjects deemed necessary by the head teacher. This may require technology skills such as children’s educational software, email, and spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel. 

More importantly, soft skills such as active listening, social perceptiveness, active learning, and critical thinking are necessary to be a well-rounded Paraprofessional. Teaching Assistants also need to have solid communication skills since much of their day is spent talking with students and teachers. Finally, there are personality traits including generosity, empathy, friendliness, and especially patience that are important to success in the job.   

Teaching Assistants are currently one of the Top 30 Jobs in Demand in Minnesota and they have consistently shown high demand, ranking among the top 25 most in demand occupations in all six planning regions. However, that demand follows the school year – meaning 64% of the openings were temporary or seasonal, and 69% were part-time. While that schedule might be great for parents who want the same hours as their school-aged children, it may not work for job seekers needing a full-time, year-round position.

Wages for Teaching Assistants range between $27,239 and $38,292 according to DEED’s Occupational Employment Statistics data, with a median wage of $32,290. Similarly, the median wage offer for these job openings was $14.89 per hour, but entry-level wages for Paraprofessionals are closer to $11 per hour. The typical education requirement needed to become a Teaching Assistant in Minnesota is a high school diploma, according to DEED’s Educational Requirements for Occupations. However some schools may value a vocational award or even an Associate’s degree when hiring.

If you are interested in more information about opportunities as a Teaching Assistant, check out Jobs in Demand here on the website for wage ranges, educational and training requirements, current open positions in Minnesota and more.  

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