Teaching Assistants: Salary Overview
Teaching assistants work with licensed teachers or professors and help them give students additional attention and instruction.
A teaching assistant’s job description varies depending on the age of their students but it typically includes reviewing materials with students, teaching students proper behavior by following the school and the classroom rules, helping teachers with record keeping and other paperwork, helping teachers prepare lessons, and supervising students outside the classroom.
Some teacher assistants specialize in working with children only on some topics.
For example, some teacher assistants may help children only within the computer laboratory while others supervise children only during lunchtime.
Graduate teaching assistants assist faculty and other staff in postsecondary institutions.
They may teach lower-level courses, develop teaching materials, prepare examinations, and grade papers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage reported by teacher assistants was $27,920 as of May 2019 which means that half of all workers in this profession made less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries for this occupation vary between less than $19,000 and more than $43,000 depending on a wide range of factors, including experience and education level, the region, and the industry of employment.
In May 2018, graduate teaching assistants reported a median annual wage of $33,700 with salaries ranging between less than $19,000 and more than $59,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also published data about postsecondary teaching assistants.
In this category, there are included teaching assistants who assist faculty and other instructional staff in post-secondary institutions by developing teaching materials, leading discussion groups, preparing and giving exams, and grading papers.
The median annual wage reported by workers in this occupation was $32,080.
Teaching Assistant Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teacher assistants held approximately 1.4 million jobs in the United States in 2019, most of them working for elementary and secondary schools.
The report shows that the average annual wage reported by teachers assistants who worked for local elementary and secondary schools was $28,500 as of May 2019.
Those who worked for private elementary and secondary schools earned slightly less, with the average set at $27,700.
The average annual wage reported by teacher assistants who work in child daycare centers or a similar setting was $24,680.
The highest-paying industry for this profession was the field of scientific research and development services, a sector where the average wage in 2018 was $39,600, according to BLS.
The second-highest paying sectors for this profession are junior colleges where the average salary was set at $34,090.
Graduate teaching assistants typically reported higher salaries.
Most of them worked for colleges, universities, and professional schools and were paid on average with $36,340 per year.
Graduate teaching assistants who worked for junior colleges, reportedly earned $36,900 per year, on average, while those who worked in the field of grantmaking and giving services earned $60,540 per year- this being the highest-paying industry for this profession.
The average annual wage reported by graduate teaching assistants who were employed by technical and trade schools was $34,710.
Most post-secondary teaching assistants worked for colleges, universities, and professional schools and reported salaries that averaged at $36,560 as of May 2019.
The top-paying field for post-secondary teaching assistants were technical and trade schools, a sector where the average annual wage for this occupation was $43,040.
In conclusion salaries for teaching and teacher assistants vary depending on their level of education, experience but also depending on the industry of employment.
Those who assist college faculty typically earn more than those who work for elementary or secondary schools but the education requirements are also different.
As a graduate teaching assistant, you must be enrolled in a graduate school program.
You can become a teacher assistant in an elementary or secondary school with an associate’s degree or by completing two years of college coursework.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Teaching Assistants. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.