Qualifications For Teaching Assistants

1-2 minutes

Teaching Assistants (TAs) are vital in the modern classroom, providing much-needed support to Teachers and children in primary, secondary, nursery, SEND and college settings. If your goal is to embark on this rewarding career path, you're probably wondering what qualifications you need to become a Teaching Assistant

In our latest insights piece, we delve into what qualifications are needed for Teaching Assistant jobs and the training pathways which are available to achieve the relevant qualifications. 

Life as a Teaching Assistant

If you're considering a career as a Teaching Assistant, this role can be hugely rewarding. Life as a Teaching Assistant can be a fulfilling and dynamic experience, with various responsibilities and opportunities for growth.

Teaching Assistants support the curriculum by contributing to students' education. As a Teaching Assistant you will develop your teaching skills, and gain valuable experience in academia.

The various Teaching Assistant levels

You can work at various levels as a Teaching Assistant, depending on your experience, qualifications and ambitions. Teaching Assistant roles are therefore segmented as follows:

  • Level 1 Teaching Assistant
  • Level 2 Teaching Assistant 
  • Level 3 Teaching Assistant
  • Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) 

Qualifications needed to become a Teaching Assistant

The good news is that you don't need a degree to become a Teaching Assistant, and, in many instances, it's possible to get 'on the job' training from a school if you can show the right aptitude and character. 

Other tried and tested routes which you could take to become a Teaching Assistant include: 

  • A college course
  • An apprenticeship
  • On-the-job training

A college course

There is a wide range of recognised and accredited Teaching Assistant qualifications that you can gain through studying at college. These qualifications include a Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools, a Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education, or a T Level in Education and Childcare. 

Entry requirements for Level 2 courses usually include two or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) or equivalent, while Level 3 and T Levels typically require four or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent. Most Teaching Assistant courses take at least 12 months to complete.

If you're lucky enough to go straight into a Teaching Assistant role, your school may support your learning by giving you a designated study day. Otherwise, you could work towards your qualification through distance learning. This approach allows you to study when it suits you, potentially while still earning a salary in your current role.

An apprenticeship

Another avenue to becoming a Teaching Assistant is to secure a place on an apprenticeship. The Teaching Assistant Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship is a nationwide apprenticeship programme delivered by various colleges and training providers. The entry requirements for this type of apprenticeship are typically five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths.

On-the-job training

If you'd rather learn on the job and gain valuable first-hand experience of what it takes to become a Teaching Assistant, you could also apply directly to the school. As well as the hands-on experience you will gain, many schools provide on-the-job training through NVQ Teaching Assistant qualifications or various other specialist courses. 

To go down this route, you'll need GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths and demonstrate your ability to work with children, teachers and parents. A specialised qualification (such as English as an Additional Language) and relevant work experience will also stand you in good stead.

If you’re further on in your Teaching Assistant career and work full-time as a Level 3 Teaching Assistant, you could undertake a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) qualification. Effectively the highest tier of Teaching Assistant qualification, becoming an HLTA paves the way for more responsibilities – such as planning, teaching and covering classes on your own. Typically, you'll need to be sponsored by your school to undertake HLTA training.

How to gain experience as a Teaching Assistant

One of the most effective ways to gain experience as a Teaching Assistant is to volunteer in a school, nursery, college or other educational environment. The best way to get a placement is to apply to the education provider directly. 

Many educational establishments welcome volunteers subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. If school-based volunteering options aren't available, you could also demonstrate your ability and commitment to working with children through volunteering at your local library or a Scouts or Brownies group.  

Latest Teaching Assistant jobs at Spencer Clarke Group

If you’re searching for your next Teaching Assistant job, why not take a look at all the opportunities available with Spencer Clarke Group now? 

Alternatively, why not upload your CV or speak with one of our specialist consultants who can discuss any upcoming opportunities. We work with hundreds of schools across the UK and can offer a range of opportunities including temporary, permanent and to temp-perm positions.

Who is Spencer Clarke Group? 

Since 2017, we've been changing the face of recruitment. From our employees, to the way we do business, to the culture within our office, we're determined to make a difference and create a positive impact on everyone around us.

Recruitment to us isn't just about matching candidates and clients; we’re passionate about finding candidates the perfect job which has the ability to boost their salary and standard of living, better their work life balance and improve their mental health. 

Similarly, we understand the impact which an experienced and skilled employee can make to a business and we love seeing clients thrive through the hard work of candidates which we have placed with them. 

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

Public Sector 

In eleven specialisms:

Accountancy & Finance

Education & SEND

Construction, Trades & Labour

Healthcare, Social Care & Nursing


Corporate Functions & Business Support

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IT & Digital

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Highways, Infrastructure & Engineering

If you’re searching for a new role, why not visit our job page to take a look at the latest opportunities? Alternatively, upload your CV and one of our experienced consultants will contact you when a relevant opportunity becomes available. 

If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help? One of our consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you. 

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