The State of California Employment Development Department states that there should be roughly 15,100 more teaching assistant positions in California by 2024. Among those assistants are those who work in preschools. Continue reading to discover the different requirements needed to work in a preschool setting.
Requirements for Preschool Teacher Assistants in California
|Average Salary for Teacher Assistants in California*||$32,460|
|Required Degree||High school diploma; certificate or associate's degree may be preferred|
|Required Field||None specified|
|Testing Requirements||Test of basic skills, such as California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016)
Step 1: Complete Education Requirements
If you want to work in any school as a teacher's assistant, you'll need to have a basic education. This means you'll want a well-rounded education with classes that promote skills in speech recognition, instruction, problem sensitivity, public speaking, critical thinking, problem solving, reading, and active listening. It may also be a good idea to take classes in a foreign language, like Spanish because of the large Hispanic population in the state. At the preschool level, a language other than English may be the primary language spoken at home, so speaking the language can help these students. While the state does not have any specific educational regulations, each school district decides what is required. While a high school diploma is acceptable for some school districts, you may want to consider earning your associate's degree or professional certificate in education. Many community colleges and universities offer these programs.
Step 2: Complete Testing Requirements
A test in the basic skills for reading, language, and math, such as the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), is required for all teachers, including assistants. With the CBEST, you must earn a passing cumulative score of 123 in order to be eligible as a teacher's assistant. This exam has three sections in math, reading, and writing. Each section is individually scored, and each section must have a grade of more than 37 in order to be considered a passing score. You're given four hours to answer 100 questions and write two essays.
Step 3: Be Screened
In California, teachers and teaching assistants must have a criminal background check. To do this, you can have an automated Live Scan done of your fingerprints. This then goes to the Department of Justice and FBI for clearance. Times for clearance may vary depending on the time of year, so be prepared. Many teachers' assistants are also required to have a valid driver's license and a clean driving record. Finally, some schools may include a health and Tuberculosis (TB) screening to guarantee safe conditions around the children.
California Teacher's Assistant Certification Sources
To become a teacher's assistant in California, you might complete the CBEST. While there may be other requirements, depending on the school district you are applying to, we have compiled a brief list of study guide resources and test prep links.