How To Become a Teaching Assistant With No Experience

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn: 

  • How to become a Teaching Assistant with no experience.
  • Where the latest Teaching Assistant jobs are and how to apply for them.

Education plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of individuals and Teaching Assistants are just some of the unsung heroes behind the transformative process of children developing into adulthood. 

Teaching Assistants work closely with Teachers to assist in various aspects of instruction and classroom management to create a conducive learning environment and ensure that lessons run smoothly. 

If you've ever considered a career as a Teaching Assistant but lack the hands-on experience to get started, you’re not alone. However, in any profession, everyone has to start somewhere and there are always options to explore to increase your employability and get your foot on the ladder! 

The great news is that you don’t have to start at the very beginning and there are different ways of becoming a Teaching Assistant without experience. This article provides helpful advice on developing your skills, obtaining qualifications, and gaining valuable experience through volunteering. 

How to become a Teaching Assistant with no experience

If you’re dreaming of becoming a Teaching Assistant but lack experience, here are 6 practical tips to enhance your employability:

  • Get a DBS check.
  • Volunteer at a school.
  • Earn qualifications.
  • Undertake an internship or apprenticeship
  • Build your CV.
  • Emphasise your skills.

Get a DBS check

Obtaining a DBS check is an important first step for anyone looking to work with children or in a school environment. Keeping children and young people safe is one of the most important responsibilities Teaching Assistants have. It is crucial that schools have procedures in place to identify, reject or deter anyone who isn’t suitable to work with children.

By already having a DBS check, you are demonstrating to the employer that you have taken the time and financial investment to complete this step in preparation for your role as a Teaching Assistant.

Volunteer at a school

Volunteering in a classroom is one of the best ways to gain first hand experience of being a Teaching Assistant. Volunteering acts as a great signal of an individual's dedication and commitment to learning the ropes and perfecting their craft.

Contact your local school and ask about volunteering opportunities to shadow experienced Teaching Assistants to gain a stronger understanding of what the role entails. Your role as a volunteer will give you a sense of pride and identity and prepare you for a paid role as a Teaching Assistant.

Volunteering is the closest thing to experiencing what the role entails day-to-day, and can help candidates with their teamwork skills, time management and personal development; these skills will all help your CV to shine! The hours candidates spend volunteering now will be invaluable further down the road as those skills can be transferred to the role.

Volunteering enables individuals to learn from and form a bond with professional educators in the school and impress them by demonstrating that you are a trustworthy and dedicated candidate. Through volunteering, you are expanding your professional network tenfold; it is very common for volunteer work to turn into paid career opportunities if the school is satisfied with your work.

Earn qualifications

A great way to become a Teaching Assistant is to boost your knowledge and acquire recognised qualifications. Completing a course is a great way to boost your knowledge, enhance your skills and stand out in a competitive job market.

Most Teaching Assistant qualifications are entry level and don’t require prior qualifications. They do however require study time that has to be observed by a witness, meaning that candidates need to be in a placement in a school to complete the courses.

Qualifications to become a Teaching Assistant

Qualifications to become a Teaching Assistant include:

  • Level 1 Teaching Assistant
  • Level 2 Teaching Assistant 
  • Level 3 Teaching Assistant
  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools (RQF)
  • Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (RQF)
  • Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (RQF)
  • Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (RQF)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools (RQF)
  • Level 4 Certificate in Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) (RQF)

Undertake an internship or apprenticeship

Individual schools set their own entry requirements for jobs making it possible to train to be a Teaching Assistant by taking an apprenticeship. 

Teaching Assistant apprenticeships offer schools the opportunity to upskill their workforce and hire new staff. This provides Teaching Assistants with the opportunity to gain skills, professional experience and a qualification while they work. This is another significant way to learn on the job and gain experience to get you one step closer to becoming a Teaching Assistant.

Apprenticeships or internships implement a culture of learning for Teaching Assistants to be able to trial and test the school environment and develop a career plan. They also provide individuals with the opportunity to gain first hand experience and network with professionals working within education.

Build your CV

It is important to build a great CV full of content and information that sells your worth, skills and experience. But what if you have no experience to talk about on your CV?

If this is the case, it’s important to focus on what you do have; necessary skills, relevant qualifications, a passion for education and a desire to learn! Focus on your qualifications and any volunteering that you have done as this can replace the experience section of your CV and inform the employer that you do have what it takes to perform well in the role. 

There are some important do’s and don’ts of CV writing in order to produce a well crafted and interesting CV which will demonstrate the value you will bring to their school. Generally speaking, your CV should be well structured, detailed with relevant information and concise.

It is best practice to order your CV chronologically so that the most recent qualifications or experience are listed first in each section to make it easier for the hiring manager to read. 

Emphasise your skills

Even if you haven’t acquired hands-on experience in a Teaching Assistant role yet, highlighting your key skills will help you to perform well in the role. Great transferable skills can stir a hiring manager's interest and make them consider you for the role. 

Skills that make up a good Teaching Assistant:

  • Empathetic and sensitive.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Active listening skills.
  • A positive attitude.
  • Flexible and open to change.
  • Creative and innovative.

Empathetic and sensitive

Teaching Assistants are required to be sensitive and empathetic. Working with children requires someone to be sensitive and caring for pupils' different needs. Emphasise the importance of being empathetic and building social relationships with students.

Excellent communication skills

A Teaching Assistant needs to communicate with children to help them understand and absorb information. Being able to communicate information to children on different levels depending on age groups, skills and needs is crucial for a Teaching Assistant to be effective in managing and educating.

Active listening skills

Having great listening skills is vital to be able to communicate effectively and to discover how to be able to support children in the classroom. Listening can also help identify any problems, needs or requirements which is vital for a Teaching Assistant without experience to be able to understand.

Emphasise your excellent communication skills and be prepared to provide examples of a time when you were able to successfully help a student or child because you listened to them.

A positive attitude

Having a positive attitude is important to be able to encourage and motivate pupils and create a safe and inclusive environment. Having the right atmosphere and culture in the classroom is vital to develop a trustworthy relationship with children and make them enjoy their learning experience more.

Emphasise the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and having a positive impact on students to ensure that they make significant progress.

Flexible and open to change

As a Teaching Assistant, it is important to be flexible and able to explore alternative methods and last-minute changes. Being able to deal with unexpected challenges or take a different approach to children’s learning requires flexibility and adaptability.

Great Teaching Assistants need to be flexible and able to quickly adapt to manage changes. This skill isn’t required just from experience in the classroom, but by an individual who is able to quickly demonstrate their flexibility and thrive in an environment where no two days are the same.

Creative and innovative

If you are able to think creatively to make learning fun and engaging for children, this is an excellent skill for Teaching Assistants to have. An individual who can be creative in their approach, or come up with innovative solutions to challenges, will impress the school as it demonstrates that you can solve problems and be innovative to ensure the growth and learning of children in a busy school environment.

Considering becoming a Teaching Assistant?

If you’re considering becoming a Teaching Assistant, or you’re a seasoned professional on the lookout for their next role, why not check out the latest Teaching Assistant jobs?

Alternatively, upload your CV and one of our expert consultants will notify you when a relevant opportunity becomes available.

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Struggling to recruit Teaching Assistants?

If you’re struggling to fill a Teaching Assistant role, simply contact our Managing Consultant, Jamie Heath, 01772 954200 to see how we can help your school now. We work with hundreds of Teaching Assistants who are available on a temporary, permanent or temp-perm basis. 

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