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Elementary & Secondary School Teaching Assistants (NOC 4413)  may also be called:

  • Teacher’s aide/assistant
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Education program assistant
  • Education Assistant
  • Elementary school child care attendant
  • Student monitor
  • Student support assistant
  • Special education teaching assistant
  • Teacher’s helper
  • Lunchroom supervisor

What Would I Do?

Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants help in areas of personal care, teaching and behaviour management under the supervision of teachers or other child care professionals.  You assist teachers and counsellors with teaching and non-instructional tasks and support students.

Your duties may include:

  • assist students with integration into the classroom and school setting
  • help students individually or in small groups with assignments and reinforce learning and retention concepts under the supervision of classroom teacher
  • assist students with special needs using techniques such as sign language, Braille and remedial programs
  • monitor and report student progress to classroom teacher
  • accompany and supervise students during activities in school gymnasiums, laboratories, libraries, resource centres and on field trips
  • may assist teacher in the operation of projectors and other audio-visual or electronic equipment
  • may assist in school library or office and perform other duties assigned by school principal
  • may monitor students during recess, at noon hour or during the day

More information:

  • Career Cruising database (Profile for ‘Educational Assistant’).
    Available from the VPL Digital Library | Explore our Digital Library page

Am I Suited For This Job?

Elementary and Secondary School Teacher Assistants should have:

  • good communication skills
  • experience working with children

They should be:

  • good with people
  • patient and understanding
  • creative and enthusiastic

You may have a regular 9 to 10-month school year or may work year round.  You work mainly indoors, but may supervise students outdoors.

Sources:  WorkBC & Career Cruising

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

In British Columbia, the median annual salary for elementary and secondary school teacher assistants is $50,638.

low, median and high hourly wages by BC region
Table from Job Bank Wage Report

Teacher Assistants in public schools are generally not paid during the summer months when school is not in session. Instead, you are hired on a 10-month contract basis each school year, and paid only for the months when students are in class. Individual school boards may or may not pay Teacher Assistants for holidays and professional development days.

Some Teacher Assistants belong to unions. Union representatives negotiate wages and benefits, such as dental coverage and paid sick days, on behalf of their members.

Sources:  WorkBC & Career Cruising

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

WorkBC forecasts 5,400 new jobs for Teacher Assistants between 2019 and 2029. The majority of jobs are found in the Lower Mainland, followed by the Vancouver Island/Coast and Thompson-Okanagan regions.

JobBank Canada reports that for the 2019-2021 period, the employment outlook is expected to be good.

Job Outlook 2019-2029

forecasted average employment growth rate, job openings, composition of job openings for 2019 to 2029

Sources:  WorkBC,  JobBank Canada, Employment Outlook

How do I become an Elementary & Secondary School Teacher Assistant?

In BC, completion of secondary school is required. Although there is no certification required to be a teacher assistant, most employers require completion of a 10-month college program in teaching assistance, educational assistance or other social science program.

Teacher assistants who help students with special needs usually require specialized training and experience. Training in first aid and nonviolent crisis intervention (NCI) may also be needed

For more information on training and certificate programs, see:

For information on working in First Nations Schools, see:

How Do I Find A Job?

Where would I work?

  • in public and private elementary and secondary schools
  • in special schools and treatment centres
  • in community centres
  • in tutoring centres

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Online Job Postings

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of schools and other educational organizations. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring teacher assistants.

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “schools** and click SEARCH.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    **You can also try searching on “private schools” or “religious schools” or “tutoring”.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

  • YMCA of Greater Vancouver
    Volunteer opportunities may be available in child care centres (50 locations), family programs and community services
  • YWCA of Metro Vancouver
    Volunteer opportunities may be available in the YWCA’s Family Services programs and their four licensed child care centres

Volunteer in Public Institutions: Schools and Recreation Centres

Many public institutions accept volunteers; consider volunteering for your school district, your local neighbourhood school or your local recreation centre.

  • Public Recreation Centres and Parks
    go to your local city/town website and search for ‘parks’ or ‘recreation’ or ‘community centre’; when you locate your local recreation centre, search for ‘volunteer’

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience.  Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

With additional training, e.g. applied behavior analysis therapy (ABA), American sign language (ASL), Classroom and Community Support Worker Program, teacher assistants may take on more challenging roles.

Where Can I Find More Information?