Career Development

What Does an Instructional Assistant Do?

Find out what an instructional assistant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an instructional assistant.

Instructional assistants are the support staff of the education world. They work with teachers and other educators to ensure that students receive a quality education. Instructional assistants may help teachers by delivering lessons, managing student behavior, or performing clerical tasks such as taking attendance or filing paperwork.

Instructional assistants play an important role in the classroom because they allow teachers to focus on teaching rather than administrative tasks. However, they also provide valuable assistance to students by helping them with their coursework, providing one-on-one tutoring, and otherwise assisting with their academic needs.

Instructional Assistant Job Duties

Instructional assistants have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing students with assistance with their studies including helping them with homework or tutoring them in an academic subject
  • Providing students with assistance in the classroom such as distributing materials, collecting papers, and helping students with their classwork
  • Recording attendance at school activities such as field trips or assemblies
  • Providing clerical support to teachers such as filing papers or ordering supplies
  • Assisting teachers with classroom management tasks such as conducting roll call and keeping track of student schedules
  • Providing administrative support to teachers such as organizing classroom materials and preparing lesson plans
  • Providing general assistance to school staff such as answering phones or responding to inquiries from parents
  • Helping students with disabilities receive accommodations or special services required by law
  • Performing clerical tasks such as typing, filing, copying, faxing, scanning, and mailing

Instructional Assistant Salary & Outlook

The salary of an instructional assistant can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of education, years of experience, and the type of school they work in.

  • Median Annual Salary: $27,500 ($13.22/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $49,500 ($23.8/hour)

The employment of instructional assistants is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for these workers will stem from continued demand for services provided by special education programs. In addition, the need to provide services to a growing population of older adults is expected to increase demand for instructional assistants in healthcare facilities.

Instructional Assistant Job Requirements

Instructional assistant candidates need to satisfy several requirements for the position, including:

Education: Instructional assistants need at least a bachelor’s degree to work in schools and other educational institutions. Some of the most common majors for instructional assistants are education, English, and psychology.

Training & Experience: Instructional assistants typically receive on-the-job training. This training may include shadowing a current instructional assistant or learning from a supervisor. Instructional assistants may also receive training in the classroom setting, such as how to use the classroom’s technology.

Certifications & Licenses: While instructional assistants do not need certifications to earn their position, many earn industry-specific certifications to gain additional knowledge about their responsibilities and further advance their career.

Instructional Assistant Skills

Instructional assistants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others in a clear and understandable manner. Instructional assistants must be able to communicate with their supervisors, students and parents. This includes verbal communication as well as written communication.

Organization: Being organized can help you be more efficient in your job. You can use organization skills to complete your tasks on time and help your employer save time and resources. Organization skills can also help you keep your workspace clean and safe.

Patience: Patience is a necessary skill for an instructional assistant. You may be working with students who are younger than you or have different learning styles than you. You can use patience to help you adapt to different learning styles and age groups.

Creativity: Instructors often need to come up with new ways to engage their students and keep them interested in the subject matter. As an instructional assistant, you can help your boss come up with new ideas for their lessons. You can also use your creativity to help your boss come up with new ways to assess their students.

Collaboration: Collaboration is the ability to work with others to complete a task. As an instructional assistant, you may work with a variety of people, including teachers, students and other assistants. Being able to work with others to complete a task is an important skill for an assistant.

Instructional Assistant Work Environment

Instructional assistants work in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, colleges and universities, and businesses and industries. They typically work under the supervision of a teacher or other instructional staff member and may work with small groups of students or one-on-one. Instructional assistants may be responsible for preparing and delivering lectures, leading discussions, and providing other instruction to students. They may also be responsible for grading papers and tests, maintaining student records, and performing other administrative tasks. Instructional assistants typically work during regular business hours, although they may occasionally work evenings or weekends to attend meetings or to complete administrative tasks.

Instructional Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how instructional assistants work. Instructional assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Digital Learning

The trend of digital learning is growing rapidly, as more and more schools are moving towards a 100% digital curriculum. This means that instructional assistants will need to be familiar with the tools and technologies used in digital learning, such as online courses, eBooks, and apps.

Instructional assistants can play a key role in helping schools make the transition to digital learning by providing support and training for teachers and students. They can also help to create a culture of innovation and experimentation within their school district.

More Use of Technology in the Classroom

As technology becomes more prevalent in the classroom, instructional assistants will need to learn how to use it effectively.

This includes using technology to deliver lessons, manage student data, and communicate with parents. Instructional assistants will also need to be familiar with the latest educational software and hardware so that they can recommend it to teachers. In addition, instructional assistants will need to be able to troubleshoot any technical issues that may arise.

Greater Emphasis on Collaboration

Collaboration is becoming an increasingly important skill in today’s workplace, and this is also being seen in the education system. As instructional assistants, you will need to be able to work well with others in order to provide the best possible learning experience for your students.

In order to be successful in this environment, you will need to be able to communicate effectively with other members of the staff, as well as understand the importance of teamwork. You will also need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances quickly and be able to work independently when necessary.

How to Become an Instructional Assistant

If you’re looking for a career in education, consider becoming an instructional assistant (IA). This is a great entry-level job that will give you the opportunity to work with children and help them learn. It’s also a great way to get your foot in the door of the education field so that you can move up the ladder if you want to.

To become an instructional assistant, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as some experience working with children. You may also be required to pass a criminal background check.

Advancement Prospects

Instructional assistants may advance to become lead instructional assistants, and then to instructional coordinators. Some may also advance to become principals, vice principals, or other administrators.

Instructional Assistant Job Description Example

We are looking for an Instructional Assistant who is passionate about working with children and committed to helping them succeed academically. The Instructional Assistant will work closely with the classroom teacher to provide support in all areas of the curriculum. He/She will also be responsible for working with small groups of students or one-on-one to provide additional instruction and support. The Instructional Assistant must be patient, flexible, and have a positive attitude. He/She must also be able to take direction well and be a team player.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Assist the teacher in planning and implementing instructional activities that promote student learning and success
  • Help maintain a positive and safe learning environment in the classroom by providing support and assistance to students as needed
  • Assist with the preparation of materials and supplies for instructional activities
  • Help monitor student progress and provide feedback to the teacher on individual and group performance
  • Serve as a resource to students, families, and teachers by providing information and referrals as needed
  • Attend professional development workshops and meetings as required
  • Participate in the evaluation of instructional programs and materials
  • Maintain confidentiality of student records in accordance with district policies and procedures
  • Perform clerical duties as assigned, such as maintaining attendance records and preparing correspondence
  • Operate office equipment as needed, such as computers, copiers, and fax machines
  • Monitor inventory levels of instructional materials and supplies and order items as needed
  • Provide one-on-one or small group instruction to students as directed by the teacher

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Associate’s degree in education, child development, or related field preferred
  • 1-2 years experience working with children in a school setting
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds and stand for long periods of time
  • CPR and first aid certification

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in education, child development, or related field
  • 2-3 years experience working with children in a school setting
  • Classroom teaching experience
  • Bilingual (Spanish/English)
  • Special needs experience


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