Teacher's assistants are called by a variety of different names depending on the school district or region, including teacher's assistants, paraprofessionals and educational technicians. The term "teacher's assistant" is something of a misnomer, because while the presence of a paraprofessional is indeed a boon to a classroom teacher, the job of a modern teacher's assistant is to help children who need more attention. Some teacher's assistants work one on one with children in the special education department, while others are present in general education classrooms. Many districts require teacher's assistants to have at least an associate's degree before working.
Average Salary Information:
Across the United States, the average annual salary of a teacher's assistant as of 2011 was $25,270, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median of all reported salaries for this occupation was $23,580, and 50 percent of teacher's assistants reported annual incomes ranging from $19,000 to $30,000. The 10 percent of teacher's assistants who earned the most reported annual salaries of $36,500 or more.
Income Variations by Employer:
As of 2011, more than 75 percent of all teacher's assistants worked at elementary and secondary schools, according to the BLS, and they reported average annual salaries of about $24,500. Those working in child daycare facilities reported some of the lowest levels of income, averaging just over $21,000 per year. Teacher's assistants working at the collegiate level tended to earn the most; those employed by junior colleges averaged about $29,000 per year, and those who worked at colleges and universities made just under $31,000 per year on average.
Average Salaries by Region:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teacher's assistants in the West and Northeast earned the highest average salaries in 2011, while those in the Southeast and South-Central states tended to earn the least. Alaska ranked first, with an average salary of nearly $35,000, while teacher's assistants in Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland and Nevada averaged between $30,000 and $32,000 per year. The lowest average salary for teacher's assistants, just over $18,000 per year, was reported by Mississippi.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of teacher's assistants will grow at a rate of 15 percent between 2010 and 2020, about the same as the average rate of growth projected for all occupations. This occupation also has a high turnover rate, so employment prospects for those looking to enter the field should be good. Those who have formal postsecondary education should experience the best employment prospects, especially those who have had postsecondary schooling related to special education.