Teacher Aide Courses in Australia

ITAC students and teacher in class studying a teacher aide course

To become a teacher aide in Australia, it is essential to complete a nationally recognised teacher aide course. Given the significant role teacher aides play in the educational experience of children, school managers must ensure their support staff receive proper training from reputable providers. This ensures that teacher aides are well-prepared to support diverse learning needs and contribute positively to the academic environment, as well as follow the necessary policies and procedures.

There are three options available for those who wish to complete a teacher aide course in Australia:

  • First, there is the CHC30221 Certificate III in School-Based Education Support. This is the introductory course designed mainly for younger students or those who are less confident with their English abilities, such as migrants and those with language difficulties and disorders.
  • Second, there is the Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. This course covers the same content as the lower-level qualification and takes about the same amount of time. In addition however, it focuses on supporting students with special needs, such as autism, ADHD, and intellectual disability. As the majority of teacher aides employed in Australia work with students with additional needs to some extent, the Certificate IV in School Based Education Support is the required level that schools now expect of all support staff.
  • Third, our most popular teacher aide course is known as the Teacher Aide Combo. Unique to ITAC, this course combines both the Certificate III and IV in School-Based Education Support into one streamlined program. In fact, the Teacher Aide Combo takes about the same of time as any one of our individual courses. Students prefer this option for a number of reasons. It’s very cost effective and it boosts your resume and job prospects. Employers prefer the Teacher Aide Combo because they can have the confidence that their support staff have covered the content from both qualifications.

Did you know? ‘Teacher aide’ is the generic term used by the ABS and in the academic literature, as well as the general public. However, those in the industry use other terms such as Education Assistant or EA (in WA), School Services Offer (SSO) in SA, teacher assistant is used widely, especially in Queensland, and SLSO (School Learning Support Officer) in NSW. Other terms are used for specific roles. Sometimes you will even hear terms such as education aide and paraeducator, which come from overseas.

The teacher aide asked a question to a group of younger children in uniform, including a boy with Down’s syndrome.

Which Teacher Aide Course is Best for Me?

Most students enrol in the Teacher Aide Combo as it provides two qualifications for only a little more time and money than a single qualification. It covers everything in the Certificate III and IV which is great for your confidence and skillset. You will then have two hardcopy certificates to add to your portfolio and resume, thereby enhancing the prospect of landing your ideal role.

At the very least, the Certificate IV in School Based Education Support is highly recommended as it covers disabilities, disorders and learning difficulties. This is due to the fact that nearly all education support roles involve assisting students with special needs to some extent. At the Institute of Teacher Aide Courses, the Certificate IV costs the same as the Certificate III in School Based Education Support.

The CHC30221 Certificate III in School-Based Education Support is often pursued by younger individuals, such as high school students enrolling in the accredited course, or by those who are still learning English, like recent immigrants. This Certificate III is also suitable for individuals seeking a confidence boost, offering a curriculum that is somewhat less demanding than the Certificate IV level.

Which mode of study is best for me?

There are three modes of engaging with our teacher aide programs, each designed to accommodate different learning styles and life circumstances. These flexible options ensure that all students can find a method that best suits their needs, allowing them to fully engage with the curriculum and achieve their educational goals.

Online learning is becoming the preferred choice for many due to its unparalleled flexibility and accessibility. It allows students to manage their study time around personal and professional commitments, enabling learning from virtually anywhere. Support is consistently available through email, phone calls, and occasional tutorials. Students can also participate in weekly live catch-up sessions with our trainers, who are highly experienced school teachers, ensuring they remain connected and supported throughout their course.

Our accelerated course caters to students who bring previous work and life experience into their studies. This option enables them to complete an accredited teacher aide course in as little as 10 weeks, making it an efficient choice for those ready and able to advance quickly. More details about this innovative approach can be found on our Accelerated page [here].

In Western Australia, attending class-based workshops is highly recommended due to the many benefits of in-person interactions. Attending one day per weeks helps students to maintain steady progress and the social aspect significantly enhance the learning experience. Classes are held once a week, with family-friendly start and end times to suit school drop off and pick-up.

How long does it take to complete a teacher aide course?

For a standard enrolment, we structure all programs to take 26 weeks or about 600 hours. However, it really depends on the individual student and their abilities and availability. Some students, especially those with experience with children or in people-caring roles, find the course quite easy as they have a context to apply what they have learned previously. Even then, many still choose to spread their studies over a 6-month period due to other commitments. This is the beauty of self-paced programs designed for busy adult learners.

Programs offered by the Institute of Teacher Aide Courses provide flexibility, allowing students to tailor their study schedules to fit their personal circumstances. For instance, students might choose to study on several afternoons each week when they have available time, and then take breaks during school holidays to care for children. With an 18-month completion window, there is ample time to manage unexpected events such as illness or travel, ensuring that life's challenges do not hinder your educational progress.

Female teacher aide with a group of high school students.

What does the placement involve?

Work placement is a critical component of all accredited teacher aide courses in Australia, requiring students to complete 100 hours in a local school setting. This equates to about 16 days for most people. This practical experience is invaluable as it allows students to put what they have learnt on paper into real-world environments. The placement can be completed one day per week or in a single block, however the most common and recommend structure is 2-3 days per week. Schools generally prefer 2-3 days per week as well.

Choosing a provider who offers on-site visits during your placement can significantly enrich this experience. While many providers do not offer this service, those who do can provide immediate support and guidance. On-site visits allow the provider to address any issues directly, offer help as needed, and observe the student's performance to provide critical feedback for skill improvement. Additionally, having a provider involved in on-site support demonstrates to the school that the student is enrolled with a reputable provider, which can greatly enhance future employability prospects. Be sure to check whether your selected provider visits you on placement before enrolling.

For more comprehensive details about what to expect from the work placement, please visit our detailed work placement page [here]. This resource outlines everything you need to know to maximise the benefits of your placement experience.

How does ITAC assist with finding placement opportunities?

The Institute of Teacher Aide Courses has a dedicated team that helps students find placement opportunities. However, due to the high demand for placements and the limited availability, the options provided by ITAC may not always suit individual preferences. For instance, a student might prefer placement in Year 1 or 2, but available positions could be in upper primary or high school settings or may require travel to schools in neighbouring areas. This is primarily because ITAC, along with TAFE and universities, competes for a limited number of placement positions across schools.

A practical solution to enhance placement prospects in preferred settings is for students to leverage their personal networks. Reaching out to family, friends, acquaintances, or community members who work or volunteer in schools can be incredibly beneficial. Establishing connections with individuals already employed in schools, such as a neighbour or someone from a local club, can increase the likelihood of securing a placement in competitive areas like junior primary. Additionally, these personal connections often lead to future job opportunities as employers see it as a personal recommendation. The majority of students organise placement this way.

Can I complete a teacher aide course by RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning is available to candidates who meet certain criteria. You must be employed by a school as a teacher aide in order for us to conduct a site assessment and have a certain amount of experience as well. You can read more about RPL and credit processes on our RPL page [here].

Are your Teacher Aide Courses difficult as I haven’t studied for a long time?

Nationally accredited teacher aide courses, such as the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support and the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support, are designed to be accessible and practical. They focus on equipping students with the skills necessary for effective communication, understanding basic educational strategies, and supporting classroom operations. These courses do not involve complex theoretical or academic content, making them straightforward for those who engage actively with the material.

While it is not appropriate to guarantee success, completion rates are high among students who commit to their studies and who engage regularly. Typically, those who actively participate, have a routine, complete assignments on time, and make use of the resources provided to them, tend to successfully complete the course. Active engagement and consistent progress are key determinants of success in these courses.

Teacher aide and young boy writing on white board

It is easy to find work after completing my teacher aide course?

Teacher aides are currently in high demand across Australia, largely due to a national shortage. However, there are several factors to consider when seeking employment. It is generally easier to secure casual work initially, while permanent positions often arise from established relationships within schools, such as those formed during placements. Schools tend to hire individuals they know and trust, highlighting the advantage of enrolling with a reputable provider like ITAC, who maintains strong connections with thousands of schools.

Competition for positions in lower primary and early childhood settings is typically higher, due to many students preferring these areas. Having dual certifications can provide a competitive edge in these sought-after environments. Conversely, there are more vacancies in high schools and special needs roles, where shortages are more pronounced. At the Institute of Teacher Aide Courses, we provide comprehensive guidance and resources to aid in your job search, with many students finding employment while on placement.

Summary and takeaways

  • Course Options: ITAC offers a range of teacher aide courses tailored to different educational and professional needs. Whether you're starting with the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support for foundational skills, advancing with the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support to specialise in special needs education, or combining both through the Teacher Aide Combo for comprehensive training, there’s a course suited to every aspiring teacher aide.
  • Modes of Study: Flexible learning options are available to accommodate all lifestyles and schedules. Whether you prefer the structured environment of classroom-based learning, the flexibility of online courses, or the rapid completion of an accelerated program, the Institute of Teacher Aide Courses provides pathways that align with your personal and professional commitments.
  • Work Placement: A critical component of your teacher aide training, the 100-hour placement provides practical experience and the opportunity to apply learned knowledge in real-world settings. ITAC’s dedicated team supports students in organising placements, although leveraging personal networks can enhance placement opportunities in desired locations as well as future job prospects.
  • Employment Opportunities: With a high demand for teacher aides across Australia, especially in special needs and high school settings, ITAC graduates are well-positioned to enter the workforce. The practical, common-sense approach of our courses prepares students for the challenges of the educational sector, enhancing employability.
  • Support and Resources: ITAC offers extensive support throughout your study and beyond, from flexible study arrangements and detailed course materials to guidance on placements and job searches. Our commitment is to ensure every student not only achieves their certification but also feels confident and prepared to contribute meaningfully to the educational community.

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