Are you looking for a change from the 9-5 job? Would you like an active role in shaping the minds of our future generation but are unsure where to start? Here’s how to launch your new career as a teaching assistant!
Taking the First Steps to Become a Teaching Assistant
In the UK, there are currently no formal qualifications necessary to become an entry-level teaching assistant. The only requirements currently needed are GCSEs in English and Maths.
As you can imagine, schools have multiple candidates applying for the position of their classroom teaching assistants. So, to stand out and increase your chances of getting hired, it’s a smart idea to look for teaching assistant courses to get certified.
Opting to get certified not only benefits both yourself and the school from the skills you’ll learn in specialised areas, but it also proves your dedication and determination to succeed in the education sector.
If you have plans to become a qualified classroom teacher, these certifications also give you the essential experience needed to become a professional educator. You could progress to becoming a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) or take your education even further by becoming a class teacher.
Why Consider a Career in the Classroom?
Teaching assistants make up approximately 30% of a school’s workforce. They provide essential support to both the students and the classroom teacher. Working as a teaching assistant is more than just another job, you’ll be helping children and young people build up their self-confidence, independence, and help them learn the skills they’ll benefit from in the years to come. How many other careers can you say that about?
When asked about their role in a recent Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) survey, 89% of teaching assistants felt their work makes a real difference and 92% felt satisfied and secure in their role.
Alongside career satisfaction, there are many other perks to becoming a teaching assistant, including career flexibility, progression and plenty of holiday time.
If you’re worried you won’t have the time to commit to studying for your new classroom career, many training providers now offer flexible online learning, so you can study at a time and pace that suits you. This is especially handy if you have a young family of your own to look after.
What Does a Teaching Assistant Course Cover?
When searching for a teaching assistant course to prepare you for life in the classroom, look for a comprehensive course that covers the essential skills you’ll need to be a success.
Here at learndirect, we offer a Level 3 Diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning. This course helps you develop your professional and technical skills and build your understanding of the importance of positive relationships throughout the classroom and the school. The course leads to the full RQF qualification and will give you the education evidence you’ll need to get hired ahead of the large number of applications that schools receive each year.
As part of your training, you’ll be required to complete a work placement with a minimum of 50 hours in a school setting. This can be in a primary school, secondary school or Special Education Needs (SEN) school.
Completing a placement in a school not only helps you to better understand how to support the pupils in their studies, but it also benefits you when it’s time to apply for a role as you’ll already have 50 hours of classroom experience under your belt. This will make your application far more valuable to schools as they will know you can hit the ground running.
Not only will you receive specialised training in areas such as ADHD and autism awareness as part of the course, but you’ll also have the opportunity to increase your earning potential by studying our additional certification in Special Educational Needs.
What Does a Special Educational Needs Teaching Assistant Do?
Special Educational Needs (SEN) teaching assistants help children and young people who need extra support with their learning.
They often hold 1-2-1 lessons or help small groups with studies such as language, reading and writing. The students may have mild to moderate learning difficulties and as a SEN teaching assistant, you’ll be on hand to support students with disabilities such as dyslexia, hearing or visual impairment, or behavioural problems.
The key skills you’ll need as a SEN teaching assistant are:
- Interpersonal skills
Once you’ve gained a SEN certification, you’ll be able to work in special needs schools throughout the UK.
Keen to get your career as a teaching assistant started? Check out our range of online teaching assistant courses on our website.