How to Obtain Teaching Assistant Qualifications

As a Teaching Assistant (TA), it is important to have a professional attitude, patience and a passion for supporting children to ensure they get the best start in life. It is a requirement to have good numeracy and literacy skills as well as some experience of working with children.

Gaining a TA qualification is not essential; each school is responsible for their recruitment and will have their own ideas about the person they are looking for and what qualifications are needed (if at all). There is no national specified requirement, however, a qualification might strengthen your job application as a school may consider you more desirable with it, particularly if you have experience and the right skill set. 

To become a qualified TA, you need to already be in a TA job, find a work placement or voluntary role in a school as courses require you to be assessed in the workplace or be able to write about your work experience in order to fulfil certain credits. If you are already employed as a TA then ensure you inform your Headteacher to see if they are happy for you to study. They may even support you either with access to funding for the course via the Apprenticeship Levy or they may have a preferred training provider that they can recommend. 

The relevant Teaching Assistant course is called Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools and there are Level 2 and Level 3 courses available; some providers also offer online only training for this qualification. There are also options to enrol on more specialist qualifications that may be more suited to your needs and skills especially if you are working in a Special School with SEN children; so make sure you investigate your options. 

If you are unable to find a work placement or a position as a Teaching Assistant then there are some online taster courses available that allow you to work on the first unit of the full qualification to give you an insight into what the role entails and strengthen your CV (these courses will not make you fully qualified). Whatever course you are interested in, it's important to do your research and decide which course and method of learning suits you best.

If your school is unable to recommend a provider and you are self-funding your course, you will need to find a training provider or local college yourself. There are loads of providers out there that you can choose from, just make sure that your course is accredited. An example of an accredited training provider is City and Guilds.

Course providers will explain in more depth about the courses that they offer and what is expected of you so make sure you learn this before you sign up to make sure your chosen course is right for you. They should also speak to you about what level qualification you want to do and whether your experience will enable you to meet the course demands. 

Whilst you are completing your course, an assessor will be available who can support you whilst studying. They will also come out to the school to assess you in the workplace and will guide you through the qualification ensuring that your work meets the standards. If you are studying an online course you will be allocated a personal tutor who can support via email you whilst undertaking your qualification. 

Once you are a qualified TA, you can progress onto higher level qualifications such as becoming a Higher Level Teaching Assistant or progress further to become a Teacher. Your school may also be able to give you additional roles and responsibilities to help progress your career and give you new opportunities to develop within your role. 

If you are applying for TA roles then make sure you read this advice to help you secure your dream position.  

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