Teacher aides can play a strong role as support to classroom teachers. Though a supplementary position, prospective teacher aides or teacher assistants still have their own requirements to fulfill. The state of Michigan requires one of the following: an associate's degree, 60 credit hours of college, or the passing results on an approved exam. Requirements for available positions may vary depending on the school and age group. This article provides an overview of the main qualifications schools seek for potential teacher aides in Michigan.
Requirements for Michigan Teacher Aides
|Average Salary in Michigan (2018)*||$27,570 (teacher assistants)|
|Education||Associate's or at least 60 college credits, if required|
|Degree Field||Any, if required|
|Testing||Praxis ParaPro Assessment, if required|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Many schools in Michigan with teacher aide or teacher assistant job positions require at least two years or 60 credits of college education. An associate's degree is a common requirement, and although a specific concentration is not required, courses in early childhood education or child development are sometimes asked for and could be beneficial for working with younger ages. This can be a particularly good idea if you are interested in going on to be a full-time teacher or would like to be qualified for a wider range of jobs. For positions with smaller children, there are preschools in the state that only require a high school diploma combined with experience in childcare or relevant certification.
If you are interested in working with young children, the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential could be a wise choice to pursue. If you are interested in getting a CDA, you must first have a high school diploma or GED. There are a few steps to follow toward earning the credentials for preschool, ages 3-5:
- Gain 120 hours of childcare training
- Purchase the CDA Competency Standards book
- Submit an application and find a Professional Development Specialist
- Complete the My CDA Professional Portfolio
- Gain 480 hours total of experience within three years of submitting your application
Another option required by some schools is the ParaPro Assessment. Created specifically for paraprofessionals, this assessment tests knowledge and skills relevant to the classroom - math, reading, and writing - as well as the application of these skills in a classroom setting. The exam is multiple-choice and done on a computer. As of 2019, a score of 460 is needed in the state of Michigan to pass the 90-question exam, and you are given 2.5 hours to complete it. ParaPro assessment centers can be found in several Michigan cities. Results of other tests, such as Basic Skills or SAT, may suffice.
Once you are prepared with relevant education, experience, or testing, the teacher aide positions you choose to apply for may have their own requirements to fulfill. These could be specific to the location, age group, and school type. You may need to go through additional steps such as background checks, CPR and first aid certifications, or fingerprinting.