Education / Teaching / Teaching Assistant

What to expect from a career as an Educational Assistant or ESL Teacher

Education and teaching is one of the most rewarding careers a person can pursue. There are a number of ways you can enter this field, as well as a number of program options available. Education and teaching assistant programs at Ontario colleges train students for careers as educational assistants, English as a Second Language teachers and more, giving them the academic preparation and people skills necessary to successfully run a classroom.

If you’re interested in a career in education and want to learn more about the options available to you, here’s what you need to know.

Education and Teaching Assistant Courses

Ontario college education and teaching assistant programs are offered with different focuses, and your choice between them depends on your desired outcomes and your prior learning experience. Two common focuses in these programs are:

  • Educational Assistant. Educational assistants act as support staff in elementary and secondary school classrooms, assisting teachers and other classroom staff in carrying out education plans. This may include working with students on their academic studies, assisting children with disabilities or special needs and more. Courses in educational programming, child development and observation will help students get a better understanding of the different stages of a child’s learning process, while courses in special education, behavioural intervention and crisis intervention will help them deal with special cases or situations that may arise.
  • Teaching English as a Second Language. Teaching English as a Second Language requires a unique set of skills training. These programs are frequently taught to adults, who have different learning styles than young children and diverse educational backgrounds. In Teaching ESL programs, students will brush up on language skills like grammar, syntax and semantics, but will spend a good chunk of their learning time on methodology for teaching ESL, such as lesson planning, material selection, computer-assisted learning and more.

Both of these program streams will include field placements in classroom environments, so students have the opportunity to observe professionals and practice their new skills in a supervised setting.

General Education and Teaching Assistant Program Requirements

Educational assistant programs at Ontario colleges typically require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit. Additional academic requirements will vary by program, but may include specific math credits.

ESL teaching programs at Ontario colleges are generally offered as post-graduate studies, which means students must show proof of completion of a Bachelor’s degree. For students for whom English is not a first language, or for those who completed their degree at an institution where the primary language of instruction was not English, proof of acceptable TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test scores may be required.

Education and Teaching Assistant Jobs and Salaries

Educational assistants are needed in a variety of academic venues, from school boards and private and public schools to special education and community-based educational programs. ESL teachers typically work in the college system and also find positions in community programs, but one of the major opportunities open to graduates of ESL teaching is in overseas programs.

The starting salary for educational assistants and second language teachers is anywhere between $26,000 and $42,000 a year. Your level of education, experience and the type of organization you work for will impact your salary. For ESL teachers heading overseas, salaries range between $25,000 and $35,000 per year, with expenses such as airfare and accommodation usually covered.

Ontario Colleges Offering Education and Teaching Assistant Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of education and teaching assistant programs at Ontario colleges.

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