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How to Become a Teaching Assistant With No Experience

Evan Parker, Teacher
12 Feb 2024
5 min read
How to Become a Teaching Assistant With No Experience

If you've found your way here, it's likely you're thinking about stepping into the rewarding field of education. Congratulations! By choosing this path, you're on your way to making a significant impact on the lives of countless children — a truly commendable journey.

Fortunately, embarking on a career as a Teaching Assistant (TA), whether it's your stepping stone towards teaching or your chosen path to contribute within classrooms and schools, is more accessible than you might think, and is absolutely possible if you haven’t had educational experience in the past.

In this article we break down how you can become a Teaching Assistant with no prior experience.

How can I become a Teaching Assistant?

Whether you're transitioning from another field or starting your career, there are various pathways to enter this profession, even without prior experience in education. Here's how you can start your journey:

1. Apply for Teaching Assistant roles

If you’re ready to showcase your ability to work with children, teachers and parents and are committed to finding work, the next crucial step is to actively apply for TA roles. This stage is where your preparation meets opportunity, and it's essential to approach it with strategy and enthusiasm.

View all Teaching Assistant Roles

2. Entry-Level Positions

Seeking out entry-level positions in educational settings, such as a lunchtime supervisor or breakfast/after-school club coordinator, can serve as a stepping stone to a Teaching Assistant role. These positions offer valuable exposure to the school environment and allow you to build relationships with teachers and administrators.

3. Volunteer Work

Gaining experience through volunteering is a fantastic way to break into the field of education. Many schools welcome volunteers to assist with classroom activities, after-school programmes, and special events. This hands-on experience not only enriches your CV but also provides a practical understanding of a Teaching Assistant's day-to-day responsibilities.

4. Professional Development Courses

Enrolling in professional development courses related to education, special needs support, classroom management, or child psychology can be incredibly beneficial. These courses not only equip you with relevant skills but also demonstrate your commitment to professional growth and excellence in the field. Advice on specific courses can be found later in this article!

5. Networking

Engaging with professionals in the field through educational forums such as TES, workshops, and events can open doors to opportunities. Building a network of educators and school staff can provide insights, advice, and potential job leads.

Each pathway offers unique opportunities and challenges, and the right path for you will depend on your current situation, educational background, and personal preferences. It's important to remain open to learning and to seize opportunities to gain experience in educational settings. By building your qualifications and networking with professionals in the field, you'll be well on your way to starting a rewarding career as a Teaching Assistant, even without prior experience.

What qualifications/requirements would help me become a Teaching Assistant?

Typical Requirements:

  • Most schools will require you to have at least 5 GCSEs that range from grades 4-9
  • At least 2 GCSEs should be a 4 in English and Maths
  • You’ll need a DBS check

You don’t need a fancy degree to get a job as a TA in a school. But you will be assisting the teachers and working one-on-one with students, so your communication and patience will be a priority.

As you’ll be working one-on-one, you will need to have a basic grasp of the concepts being taught - so that you can help the children in the most efficient way.

Crafting a Strong CV for Teaching Assistant Roles

Whilst you may not necessarily need prior education experience, your CV will be something that Heads of School will take seriously. A CV is the first impression of you as a person – ensure you convey your passion, professionalism and care.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Be as concise as you can and get rid of fluff
  • Add start dates and end dates for each of your previous work and educational experiences, down to month and year
  • Use keywords from the job description and show how your experience is relevant to the requirements of the role
  • Be human. Don’t ask AI to create it for you - schools will be able to tell

For more on this topic, check out our article on advice for creating a stand-out Teaching Assistant CV.

A note for parents…

Having children of your own can be a BIG selling point for schools. They know that you’ve got the patience, time management skills and ability to work with children. Simply because you have experience raising children.

Being a parent is a full time job. No-one is denying it. And while it might not want to put it on your CV, it could be a good idea to demonstrate you've taken time out to raise a family. You can certainly discuss it in your cover letter and talk about the skills you’ve learnt that have made you clearly able to work with children. For example you could discuss your ability to tutor or help children 1-1 based on supporting your own children.

Consider these courses that could help you secure Teaching Assistant roles

If you’re able to, we’d definitely recommend booking yourself onto a TA or teaching with children course. Prospective Teaching Assistants could stand out from the crowd in the application process if they have completed recognised courses.

Here are 3 college courses that you could consider:

But if you don’t fancy going back to studying, there are many online courses you can do too.

Check out CTC Training for loads of online courses that can help you stand out amongst other candidates.

Navigating the Job Market as a New Teaching Assistant

Entering the job market as a new Teaching Assistant can feel overwhelming, but with the right strategies, you can effectively find and secure a position that suits your skills and passions. Here are some tactics to help you navigate this journey:

1. Utilise Job Boards Many educational positions, including Teaching Assistant roles, are advertised on job boards. Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and education jobs specialists like Zen Educate! Regularly check these sites and set up alerts for Teaching Assistant positions.

2. Engage in Networking Networking is a powerful tool in the education sector. Attend educational workshops, seminars, and conferences to connect with educators and administrators. Engaging with professional groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn can also help you build connections that may lead to job opportunities.

3. Recruitment Agencies Educational recruitment agencies specialise in matching Teaching Assistants with schools that require their skills. Registering with the right company can provide you with access to a broader range of job opportunities, some of which may not be publicly advertised. Check out our full guide to agencies here.

Prepare for Job Interviews

By thoroughly preparing for your job interviews, you not only increase your chances of success but also begin to envision your potential role within the school, setting the foundation for a your career as a Teaching Assistant.

Obviously one of the most important aspects of the Teaching Assistant interview process are the questions. We’ve created a guide to common Teaching Assistant interview questions you should prepare for.

FAQs on becoming a Teaching Assistant

How much could you earn as a Teaching Assistant?

There are a number of factors that will influence your pay as a Teaching Assistant. Take a look at our article on Teaching Assistant pay scales for more information.

Can you be a Teaching Assistant with no experience?

Yes, you can become a Teaching Assistant even without prior experience. Schools often look for candidates with a passion for education and a willingness to learn, and many offer on-the-job training.

Can you be a Teaching Assistant with no qualifications?

While some basic qualifications, like GCSEs in English and Maths, are commonly required, many schools are open to candidates without formal qualifications in education, especially if they demonstrate the right skills and attitudes.

Are there any free Teaching Assistant courses?

Yes, there are free online courses available that provide foundational knowledge for aspiring Teaching Assistants. Websites like Zen Educate, FutureLearn and OpenLearn offer courses related to education and child development, which can enhance your application.

How Zen Educate can help you to become a Teaching Assistant

With personalised phone support, free training, and even help getting your DBS if you need it, Zen Educate can help you get work as a Teaching Assistant much more effectively than traditional agencies.

Using tech, you get matched with great schools near you and get paid more when you work.

Feel ready to apply? Check out the available Teaching Assistant roles in your area.

Zen Educate is transforming how schools find great teachers.

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