Employment of teacher assistants is expected to grow by 15 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth is expected to result from increases in student enrollment, continued demand for special education services, and increases in childcare and preschool enrollment.
Student enrollment in public and private elementary and secondary schools is expected to increase from 2010 to 2020. Because teacher assistants work directly with students, the increase in the number of students will spur demand for teacher assistants. In addition, there will be continued demand for special education services and, in turn, demand for teacher assistants who work with these students.
Furthermore, enrollment is expected to increase in childcare services and preschool programs, both of which employ teacher assistants. Increases in enrollment will increase demand for teacher assistants in these settings.
In addition to job openings from employment growth, numerous openings will arise as assistants leave the job and must be replaced. Because this occupation requires limited formal education and has low pay, many workers transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force because of family responsibilities, to return to school, or for other reasons.
Job opportunities for teach assistants vary significantly by geography. Opportunities should be better in the South and West, which are expected to have rapid increases in enrollment, and in urban schools, which often have difficulty recruiting and keeping teacher assistants.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition