The answer to this question, as you may have guessed, is both yes and no.
It’s not always essential to have formal teaching qualifications in order to become a Teaching Assistant, but it’s much easier if you do. So, whether you’re looking to get your foot on the ladder of the teaching world, or you have the qualifications but just want more experience, read on to find out how to become a Teaching Assistant.
Do I need any qualifications to become a Teaching Assistant?
Becoming a Teaching Assistant is an incredibly rewarding role, helping to boost children’s learning by giving them one-on-one support in school. Recent statistics estimate there are currently around 275,000 people working as Teaching Assistants in state schools across the UK as of June 2022, a steady increase from last year’s count.
If you want to become a Teaching Assistant but don’t have any qualifications or experience, you may be wondering whether it’s possible. The good news is that you can become a Teaching Assistant with no qualifications – although it will require some dedication and hard work on your part! In fact, many employers prefer their new Teaching Assistants to come without previous experience, so long as they’re willing to learn.
Working as a Teaching Assistant
A Teaching Assistant (TA) is an entry-level position, so you do not need any formal qualifications or training. However, as well as these essential requirements, many schools also look for mature Teaching Assistants or those willing to undergo professional training before they begin.
But before you decide to apply for a Teaching Assistant role, it’s important that you know what being a TA involves. Although we can’t help with your interview technique in today’s post, we can outline what you will be expected to do if you land yourself a TA job.
For starters, most TAs work within schools or colleges and are responsible for helping teachers and lecturers deliver lessons. This could mean setting up equipment, handing out worksheets or taking attendance. It may also involve keeping students engaged throughout classes – especially when teachers need to take breaks – by running activities or answering questions on behalf of their colleagues.
The exact duties depend on your experience level and that of your colleagues; as such, some TAs might have more responsibility than others.
To become a Teaching Assistant with no qualifications, you’ll first need to find an employer who is willing to hire you. There are numerous vacancies available each year, but competition is fierce. As such, it’s important that you stand out from other applicants to increase your chances of getting hired – even if you don’t have any formal training behind you.
How to become a Teaching Assistant with no qualifications
1. Be enthusiastic and personable
One of your primary duties as a TA will be helping students learn and grow, so employers will want to see that you can relate well with them. If possible, try arranging an interview over Skype or FaceTime so that they can get a feel for what you’re like as a person before inviting you into their office.
2. Be honest about your experience
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to land a job without any prior teaching experience; however, if you have relevant skills – such as working in customer service or retail – then make sure to mention these on your CV
3. Offer to work for free
Although it may not seem appealing at first, offering to work for free is one of the best ways to prove yourself during an interview. Not only does it show that you’re willing to go above and beyond for your new employer, but it also gives you a chance to practice working with others under pressure.
It’s worth noting that the more you gain experience in the field after landing that TA job, attaining a higher-level Teaching Assistant (HTLA) status grants you the opportunity to teach classes on your own.
Teaching Assistant skills you will need
Dealing with learners can be draining, so it’s important to keep your energy levels high. Be prepared for long days, and don’t be afraid to take a break if you need one.
It might not seem like much fun at first, but you will get used to it after a while! And to survive all workdays, here are some essential skills you should embrace:
- Literacy and numeracy skills
- Enjoy working with kids and young adults
- Ability to build a healthy rapport with both children and adults
- Ability to communicate clearly and effectively with others, particularly children
- Ability to be flexible and adaptable in your approach to teaching and learning, as well as being able to stay calm in stressful situations
- Ability to work well both independently and collaboratively with others.
- Good time management skills – it’s important you don’t get behind schedule!
- Patience and a positive attitude – there will be some days that are more difficult than others.
See The BIG Jobsite’s Teaching Assistant jobs
Once you are acquainted with what is involved in being a Teaching Assistant in the UK, it’s time to start applying for education jobs. And what better place to begin your job hunt than on The BIG Jobsite? Alternatively, sign up for email job alerts to make sure you are the first in the know about the latest Teaching Assistant jobs as and when they come in. With thousands of vacancies available across all major UK cities regularly updated on our platform, there is no shortage of opportunities to get your career as a Teaching Assistant off to a flying start! So if you’re looking to land a Teaching Assistant job in London, Manchester, Cambridge, or anywhere around our great land, The BIG Jobsite has your back.