Becoming a teaching assistant in the UK is easier than you might think. With many schools and local authorities (LAs) on the lookout for additional help, there’s never been a better time to get into this enjoyable and rewarding career. This guide explains what qualifications you need to become a teaching assistant and how you can progress and attract higher earnings with study.
What qualifications do you need to become a teaching assistant?
While you don’t technically need any qualifications to become a Level 1 Teaching Assistant, many applicants choose to study to stand a better chance of getting a position. When looking for jobs in your local area, you may have noticed that roles will often mention the level employers are looking for, i.e. “Level 2 Teaching Assistant” or “Level 3 Teaching Assistant”; for positions such as these, you will need qualifications. The good news is that you don’t need to be working in a school to gain your level 2 or 3 qualifications; you can start today and be qualified within 6 or 12 months, depending on the course you choose.
What qualifications are accepted by schools and colleges?
When schools, colleges and local authorities (LAs) talk about levels of qualifications, or specific expertise, such as SEN (special educational needs), they are telling you that you need to have a particular type of qualification and possibly experience alongside it. Importantly, they will only recognise qualifications regulated by Ofqual, like our NCFE CACHE teaching assistant courses.
You can enhance your employability with training such as CPD (continuing professional development), but be aware, you will likely need an Ofqual regulated qualification if the employer expects a specific level of knowledge.
How long does it take to qualify as a teaching assistant?
We’re frequently asked how long it takes to qualify as a teaching assistant, with the answer very much depending on what level of certification you hope to achieve. Our Level 2 Teaching Assistant Course takes 6-months, but with it being an online course, you can study at your own pace, and students have been known to finish it in less time. Our Level 3 Teaching Assistant Course takes 12-months, but again, it can be completed sooner if you are willing to put in the necessary work.
If you wish to enhance your skills further, you can work towards becoming a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) or gain the knowledge needed to work with children with special education needs by completing your Level 3 Teaching Assistant Diploma. The choice is yours, but understandably, the more qualified you wish to be, the longer it will take.
Get qualified sooner with online training
Alongside the flexibility it gives you, arguably the most significant benefit of studying for your teaching assistant qualifications online is that you can start straight away and finish in less time if you study hard. Unlike traditional colleges with annual or bi-annual intakes, you can enrol today and finish in 6-12 months, depending on the course you choose. Alongside that, as the training is all delivered online, there’s no waiting for the next lesson. You can study at a time, place and pace that suits you.
How to gain real-world experience and qualifications at the same time
As we’ve mentioned, you can become a Level 1 Teaching Assistant with little or no experience; however, regardless of the level of position you’re applying for, you will improve your prospects by gaining some real-world experience. Many of our students work or volunteer in schools alongside their studies. Indeed, our Level 2 and 3 certificate courses and Level 3 Diploma all require that you’re currently working in a school as they consist of a mix of theoretical and practical assignments. If you’re not yet working in a school, make sure you choose one of our Award courses, as those don’t have any practical assignments – anyone can enrol.
Other places to volunteer
If you’re finding it hard to find a paid or voluntary position in a school or college, why not look at a different setting where you’ll get regular interaction with children? Here are just some of the places you might be able to volunteer to gain that invaluable experience:
- Local sports teams and clubs
- Youth clubs
- Dance and drama schools
- Summer camps
- Country parks
Just remember, if you choose to volunteer somewhere other than a school, you will only be able to take either our Level 2 or 3 Award courses, not the certificates. Both give you a comparable qualification; it’s just that the Award course doesn’t need you to be working in a school.
Are online teaching assistant courses as good as traditional college ones?
Our students testify that studying online is a far superior experience in comparison to visiting a physical college for several reasons:
- It’s usually cheaper – without the overheads of traditional colleges, we can give you reduced prices, making the courses accessible to anyone.
- You can enrol and start immediately – as everything is done online, you can register today, and you’ll get access to your course materials straightway.
- Expert and friendly tutors – when you enrol with us, you’ll be assigned a dedicated tutor who will be on hand to help you throughout your course and particularly with your assignment. Our tutors are five stars rated and have many years of experience helping students like you gain their qualifications.
- Flexible learning – study at a time and place that suits you. Our online courses fit around your schedule.
- Environmentally friendly – minimise your impact on the environment by studying at home and avoiding regular commutes to and from lessons.
Our top teaching assistant qualifications
As we previously mentioned, our teaching assistant courses are NCFE CACHE accredited, giving you a government (Ofqual) recognised qualification that all schools recognise. Here are our popular online courses:
No-work placement required – anyone can enrol
- NCFE CACHE Level 2 Award In Support Work in Schools and Colleges
- NCFE CACHE Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning
School or college work placement required
- NCFE CACHE Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning
- NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma In Supporting Teaching and Learning
- NCFE CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning
About De Montfort College
De Montfort College is the UK’s foremost provider of online Teaching Assistant courses. Each year we deliver tens of thousands of hours of learning to students and have gained a reputation for quality among them and schools. All of our courses give you an RQF qualification that Ofqual recognises and are therefore accepted by schools. For more information, please browse the rest of our site, or contact us if you have any questions.