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Associate Teacher vs. Teacher: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Both associate teachers and teachers play an important role in education. They work with students of all ages and help them learn the material they need to know. While these positions share some similarities, there are several key differences between them. In this article, we discuss the differences between an associate teacher and a teacher, and we provide additional information about each profession.

What is an Associate Teacher?

An Associate Teacher is a paraprofessional who works under the supervision of a certified teacher in a classroom setting. They typically provide support to students with special needs or help to lead small groups in an instructional capacity. Associate Teachers may also be responsible for preparing materials, grading assignments, supervising lunch and recess, and providing one-on-one assistance to students. In some cases, they may teach a class on their own if the certified teacher is unavailable. Associate Teachers typically have at least a high school diploma, although some states may require certification.

What is a Teacher?

Teachers are responsible for instructing students and helping them learn and apply knowledge. They develop lesson plans, administer tests and assignments, grade student work and keep records of student progress. They also provide guidance to students on personal and academic issues. Teachers typically work in elementary, middle or high schools, but they may also work in childcare centers, after-school programs, colleges or universities. Some teachers may also work as private tutors.

Associate Teacher vs. Teacher

Here are the main differences between an associate teacher and a teacher.

Job Duties

Teachers have more varied job duties than associate teachers. They prepare lesson plans, instruct students and grade assignments. Associate teachers’ job duties are more limited. They typically work with small groups of students on educational activities outside of regular class time.

Associate teachers may help students who struggle with reading or writing. They also assist students who need extra support in adjusting to a new school or country. In addition, associate teachers can provide emotional support to students experiencing challenges outside of the classroom.

Job Requirements

To become an associate teacher, you typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field. Some states also require that you have a teaching license. To become a licensed teacher, you must complete a teacher preparation program and pass a state-specific exam. Once you have your license, you can begin working as an associate teacher.

To become a full-fledged teacher, you usually need to have a few years of experience working as an associate teacher. In some cases, you may be able to earn a promotion to teacher after completing a certain number of hours of professional development. Alternatively, you may need to go back to school to earn a master’s degree in education or a related field.

Work Environment

Teachers and associate teachers work in different environments. Associate teachers typically work in schools, but they may also work in other educational settings such as libraries or museums. Teachers usually work in a classroom setting with students. They may have additional responsibilities outside of the classroom, such as attending school events or meetings.

Associate teachers often work during regular business hours, while teachers may work more irregular hours to accommodate their students’ schedules. For example, teachers may work late into the evening to help students prepare for standardized testing.


Both associate teachers and teachers need to have excellent communication skills. This is important because they need to be able to effectively convey information to their students. They also both need to be patient as they work with students who may be struggling to understand a concept.

Both associate teachers and teachers need to be organized in order to keep track of their students’ progress and create lesson plans. However, teachers typically need to be more organized as they often have larger classes and more students to keep track of. Both associate teachers and teachers need to be able to think on their feet and be adaptable, as they may need to change their plans based on the needs of their students.

Associate teachers typically work with smaller groups of students and often are responsible for teaching one subject. Teachers typically have larger classes and are responsible for teaching multiple subjects. Because of this, teachers need to have a better understanding of a wider range of topics.


The average salary for an associate teacher is $38,589 per year, while the average salary for a teacher is $54,715 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the state in which you work, the school district you work for and the level of education you have.


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