Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants (NOC 4413)

About this job

Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants – often known as education assistants or EAs – support students by providing help to teachers and counsellors. They help with teaching and with other tasks, such as personal care and behaviour. 

Watch the video below to see what it’s like to be a teacher’s assistant.

Common job titles
  • assistant, education (EA)
  • assistant, student support
  • assistant, teaching
  • assistant, teaching - special education
  • paraeducator / paraprofessional educator
  • program assistant - education

Duties

Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants:

  • Work under the supervision of teachers or other child-care professionals
  • Work with individual students and small groups
  • Reinforce students’ learning using lessons and methods developed with the classroom teacher
  • Help students with assignments
  • Help build students’ social skills, emotional skills and self-esteem
  • Offer encouragement to help students fit into the classroom and the school community
  • Assist with children’s personal care 
  • Observe students and share their observations with the classroom teacher
  • Assist students with special needs using sign language, braille and other supports
  • Supervise students on field trips and during activities in school gyms, labs, libraries and resource centres

They may help teachers operate audio-visual and electronic equipment. They may also monitor students during recess and lunch hour. In addition, they may help in the school library or office or perform other duties assigned by the school principal.

Work environment

Teacher assistants work in public and private elementary, middle and high schools. They also work in special schools and treatment centres. They play an important role in both in-class and online learning.  
They usually work school hours and may spend some of their time outdoors.

Teacher assistants often move from classroom to classroom throughout the day, taking on various tasks. They may help a student understand an assignment, deal with a physical need or manage anxiety. Whatever the challenge, they work as part of a team with the shared goal of helping children thrive. 

Insights from industry

The employment rate for elementary and secondary school teacher assistants has increased in recent years. Also, extra funding introduced with the return to in-class learning after the COVID-19 pandemic created more jobs.
 
Teacher assistants often gain great satisfaction from making a positive difference in students’ lives.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Teacher assistants may specialize in supporting children with severe behaviour, autism, hearing impairment or other special needs.

With experience, elementary and secondary school teacher assistants can move into other jobs related to child and adolescent care.

Additional resources