Providing assistance to instructors and helping children meet their learning goals are the main functions of teacher's aides working in K-12 schools.
Community colleges and private online schools are where students can find teacher's aide or teaching assistant distance learning programs. Online certificates, which usually take less than a year to earn, are common, and some schools offer two-year associate's degrees as well; a few diploma options are also available. These programs are designed to teach students how to effectively support instructors and work with children in a classroom environment. Programs may also meet state education requirements for teacher's aides. Some in-person practicums in an actual classroom is often required in an online program.
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Program Information and Requirements
While teacher's aides are not always required to possess a formal education, completing some sort of training program can be beneficial, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). This agency also reports that federal legislation may require postsecondary training for teacher's aides working in areas heavily populated by students from low-income homes.
Students interested in enrolling in an online teacher's aide training program typically just have to have a high school diploma or GED. They may also need to take placement tests for general education purposes. Because even distance learning students could be required to take part in field observations or practicums working with children, schools may require criminal background checks and documentation regarding physical exams and immunizations.
Excluding any fieldwork requirements, distance learners studying to be a teacher's aide can often complete their coursework totally online. Schools use course management systems to create online classrooms containing lectures, assignments and other materials. Tools like chat rooms and message boards allow for class discussion.
Course topics and program content in online teacher's aide training programs vary from one institution to the next. However, they often share common core courses about child development, instructional methods and working with special student populations.
This course provides an overview of traditional educational strategies that may help teacher's aides reinforce reading, writing, language and science lessons taught in the classroom. Because of the prevalence of teacher's aides in special education environments, online course content often emphasizes the one-on-one or small group instruction methods needed for working with learning-disabled students. This distance learning course may require an applied studies component, which would require participants to complete tutoring hours in an approved educational setting.
These online courses educate aspiring teacher's aides about the psychological and cognitive developmental processes of children. They discuss common theories and about child psychology, curriculum development and teaching styles, while addressing how each of these areas can be tailored to specific developmental levels. Distance learning child development courses also often cover non-classroom factors that might affect a pupil's development, such as family or socioeconomic status.
Special Needs Students
Courses about working with special education or disabled students are integral to most distance learning teacher's aide training programs. They explore the learning disabilities that are often found in special education classrooms -- such as autism, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder -- in addition to other cognitive and neurological impairments. Enrollees learn how to effectively communicate with these children and to thoroughly understand the difference between regular and special education.
Technology in Education
Educational technology courses explore the relationship between digital technology and special education, providing future teacher's aides with insight to best use the former to enhance the latter. Many distance learning courses explore popular computer software or websites geared towards special education students. They also introduce methods for teacher's aides to interest and educate students in technological innovations.
Teacher's aides are responsible for assisting primary, elementary or secondary school teachers. They are most prevalent in special education settings, but may work in public or private schools with students of any grade level. Job duties include administrative work such as grading papers and monitoring supplies, as well as performing educational support tasks like creating lesson plans or assisting students with classwork. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, as of May 2015, teacher's aides earned an average salary of $26,550. The agency projects that employment in this field will grow six percent from 2014-2024.
Students who opt for distance learning programs in teacher's aide training should expect to have to complete some in-person fieldwork and practicums. Coursework varies by program and school but typically covers topics in instruction, child development, special needs children, and educational technology.