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What Is an Instructional Assistant and How to Become One

What Is an Instructional Assistant and How to Become One Image

What Is an Instructional Assistant?

An instructional assistant supports the primary teacher in a classroom. As an instructional assistant, you work with students to help them understand the lesson taught by the teacher. You also help supervise students and organize the learning materials. Other job duties may include grading papers, preparing supplies for the lesson plan, and straightening up the classroom. Teachers rely on instructional assistants to manage the students and keep them focused, especially in large classes.

How to Become an Instructional Assistant

To become an instructional assistant, earn an associate degree in education, assistant teaching, child development, or a related field. Many of these programs offer internships as an assistant teacher as part of the curriculum; these internships provide hands-on experience in working with students in a classroom. Some states require instructional assistants to obtain a teaching assistant license, so research the qualifications in the state in which you wish to work. Once you have completed your degree, network with local schools to find instructional assistant positions.

Instructional Assistant Job Description Sample

With this Instructional Assistant job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember though, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for their Instructional Assistant position.


Our company seeks an Instructional Assistant to support primary classroom teachers, working with students to help them understand the curriculum and progress through each lesson. In this role, you are responsible for keeping students focused during instruction and helping students who need extra attention. You may work with children on the autism spectrum or with those who have certain behavioral or developmental issues. Our ideal candidate has an associate degree in a related field plus coursework or experience in behavior analysis, child development, and psychology. Having BCBA certification and/or experience working at an ABA clinic is a plus.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist teachers in a classroom setting
  • Help supervise students, keeping them focused and prepared
  • Help grade papers and tests
  • Compile and send out progress reports
  • Organize learning materials and prepare classroom supplies
  • Help clean and organize the classroom each day

Requirements and Qualifications

  • An associate degree in education, assistant teaching, child development, or a related field
  • State teaching license (if required)
  • Experience employing applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques or BCBA certification (a plus)
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • A passion for helping students succeed