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Career and Education Opportunities for Teaching Assistants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Teaching assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The national trend for teaching assistants sees this job pool growing by about 10.3% over the next eight years. In general, teaching assistants perform duties that are instructional in nature or deliver direct services to students or parents.

The average wage in the general category of Specialized Education jobs is $21 per hour or $39,737 per year in Pennsylvania, and an average of $22 per hour or $38,002 per year nationwide. Incomes for teaching assistants are not quite as good as in the overall category of Specialized Education in Pennsylvania, and not quite as good as the overall Specialized Education category nationally. People working as teaching assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: bilingual teacher aide, basic skills improvement program instructional aide , and special education paraprofessional.

The Pittsburgh area is home to eighty-three schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can get a degree as a teaching assistant. The most common level of education for teaching assistants is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a teaching assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Teaching Assistant

Teaching Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, teaching assistants perform duties that are instructional in nature or deliver direct services to students or parents. They also serve in a position for which a teacher or another professional has ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of educational programs and services.

Teaching assistants supervise students in classrooms and gymnasiums, or on field trips. They also tutor and assist children individually or in small groups to help them master assignments and to reinforce learning concepts presented by teachers. Equally important, teaching assistants have to consider assigned duties with classroom teachers to direct instructional efforts. They are often called upon to enforce administration policies and rules governing students. They are expected to type and duplicate materials. Finally, teaching assistants distribute teaching materials such as textbooks and pencils to students.

Every day, teaching assistants are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they speak clearly.

It is important for teaching assistants to observe students' performance, and record relevant data to gauge progress. They are often called upon to ready lesson materials, bulletin board displays and demonstrations. They also present subject matter to students under the direction and guidance of teachers, using lectures, discussions, or supervised role-playing methods. They are sometimes expected to furnish extra assistance to students with special needs. Somewhat less frequently, teaching assistants are also expected to participate in teacher-parent conferences regarding students' progress or problems.

Teaching assistants sometimes are asked to distribute teaching materials such as textbooks and pencils to students. They also have to be able to take class attendance and maintain attendance records and furnish disabled students with assistive devices and assistance accessing facilities such as restrooms. And finally, they sometimes have to laminate teaching materials to increase their durability under repeated use.

Like many other jobs, teaching assistants must be reliable and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Pittsburgh include:

  • Adult Education Teacher. Teach or instruct out-of-school youths and adults in remedial education classes, preparatory classes for the General Educational Development test, literacy, or English as a Second Language. Teaching may or may not take place in a traditional educational institution.
  • Elementary School Teacher. Teach pupils in public or private schools at the elementary level basic academic, social, and other formative skills.
  • Farm Management Adviser. Advise, instruct, and assist individuals and families engaged in agriculture, agricultural-related processes, or home economics activities. Demonstrate procedures and apply research findings to solve problems; instruct and train in product development, sales, and the utilization of machinery and equipment to promote general welfare. Includes county agricultural agents, feed and farm management advisers, home economists, and extension service advisors.
  • Graduate Research Assistant. Assist department chairperson, faculty members, or other professional staff members in college or university by performing teaching or teaching-related duties, such as teaching lower level courses, developing teaching materials, preparing and giving examinations, and grading examinations or papers. Graduate assistants must be enrolled in a graduate school program. Graduate assistants who primarily perform non-teaching duties, such as laboratory research, should be reported in the occupational category related to the work performed.
  • High School Teacher. Instruct students in secondary public or private schools in one or more subjects at the secondary level, such as English, mathematics, or social studies. May be designated according to subject matter specialty, such as typing instructors, commercial teachers, or English teachers.
  • Instructional Systems Specialist. Develop instructional material, coordinate educational content, and incorporate current technology in specialized fields that provide guidelines to educators and instructors for developing curricula and conducting courses.
  • Kindergarten Teacher. Teach elemental natural and social science, personal hygiene, and literature to children from 4 to 6 years old. Promote physical, mental, and social development. May be required to hold State certification.
  • Middle School Teacher. Teach students in public or private schools in one or more subjects at the middle, intermediate, or junior high level, which falls between elementary and senior high school as defined by applicable State laws and regulations.
  • Vocational Instructor. Teach or instruct vocational or occupational subjects at the postsecondary level (but at less than the baccalaureate) to students who have graduated or left high school. Includes correspondence school instructors; industrial, commercial and government training instructors; and adult education teachers and instructors who prepare persons to operate industrial machinery and equipment and transportation and communications equipment. Teaching may take place in public or private schools whose primary business is education or in a school associated with an organization whose primary business is other than education.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Teaching Assistant Training

Westmoreland County Community College - Youngwood, PA

Westmoreland County Community College, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697-1895. Westmoreland County Community College is a medium sized college located in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,512 students. Westmoreland County Community College has an associate's degree program in Teacher Assistant/Aide which graduated four students in 2008.

Community College of Allegheny County - Pittsburgh, PA

Community College of Allegheny County, 800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233-1895. Community College of Allegheny County is a large college located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,366 students. Community College of Allegheny County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Teacher Assistant/Aide which graduated two and two students respectively in 2008.

Community College of Beaver County - Monaca, PA

Community College of Beaver County, One Campus Drive, Monaca, PA 15061-2588. Community College of Beaver County is a small college located in Monaca, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,695 students. Community College of Beaver County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Teacher Assistant/Aide.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.