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Summary of this article:
Mandurah and Rockingham have a large number of schools and there are therefore many opportunities for those searching for a position as a teacher aide in the area (including the wider Peel region). Many schools employ 20+ teacher aides especially special needs schools (called Education Support Centres) which means positions regularly become available.
There are 43 government and private schools in the region catering to pre-primary, primary and secondary students as well as students requiring specialist education support. Source: peel.wa.gov.au
Some areas around Mandurah and Rockingham have been growing at a rapid rate such as Baldivis which not long ago was considered one of the fastest growing areas in Australia. You may consider looking for work as far north as Kwinana or even Cockburn which is only a half-hour drive from some suburbs of Mandurah and Rockingham such as Secret Harbour and Golden Bay. This is especially true now that the freeway extension has been completed.
If you live further south such as near Dawesville, then there are a range of schools within easy travelling distance. You may even consider areas such as Falcon and Central Mandurah.
Students with the right demeanour, personality and approach combined with a nationally recognised qualification tend to not have too many issues finding work in the Mandurah and Rockingham area. Ultimately, the Peel region is a large area with lots of different options especially if you are willing to commute up to 30-40 minutes (at least to begin with as you 'get your foot in the door'). This is also true for those living in more rural areas such as Serpentine and Jarrahdale. We have many teacher aide students who reside, work and study from:
Firstly, we highly recommend that you obtain a nationally recognised qualification such as the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support or the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. These qualifications are essential and will help you get a foot in the door. Gone are the days where anyone can walk in off the street - the so called “mums brigade” - and start a career as a teacher’s aide.
While this does happen from time to time, most schools now require professionally trained support staff as this ensures that a high level of support is provided to students. It also helps to ensure that money spent on support staff equates to improved student outcomes (behaviour, learning, development, motivation etc.). Research into the effectiveness of teacher aides (conducted by Australian universities), has shown that unqualified teacher aides actually have a detrimental effect on student learning and development.
Providers such as ITAC are geared towards supporting adult learners who need structured, supported and self-paced programs that fit with other important life commitments such as family and work. The great majority of adult learners enrol with private providers according to the National Centre for Vocational Education And Research.
TAFE providers on the other hand, predominantly train students who are either currently enrolled in high school or who have left high school in order to study full-time (class-based) at TAFE. In other words, if you are under 18 and want to study class-based (3-5 days per week), TAFE is probably for you.
Once you have completed your nationally recognised qualification (or are at least enrolled) you can start applying for jobs in the Mandurah and Rockingham area. In the first week of your search, choose and contact 10-15 schools close to where you live and ask to be put down on their relief list. In the second week, you can start looking for work in other areas. For instance, if you live in Greenfields or around the Central Mandurah area, there are plenty of schools within a 5- or 10-minute drive. These include primary schools, high schools and special needs schools (education support centres).
Special needs schools (education support centres) are often overlooked (either accidentally or purposefully) when searching for work. However, they employ the lion’s share of teacher aides and are always looking for new staff (especially relief staff). Many of these schools are somewhat hidden; they are on the same campus as the larger mainstream school and usually have a very similar name. Education support centres typically have their own principal, admin staff, teachers and support staff – some have 60 or more staff many of whom are teacher aides (special needs EAs to be precise).
Some special needs schools are not attached to other schools and they are schools to themselves with no association to any mainstream school. Some of these schools are very large (100 students or so). These schools specialise in supporting students with high-needs and have specialist teachers, school managers and support staff. Staff in these schools may also enjoy a higher-level of independence and responsibility (developing resources and programs for example). To be a teacher aide in Mandurah or Rockingham in this type of school, you will generally need to have completed the higher-level teacher aide course.
All of our teacher aide courses in Rockingham and Mandurah can be studied online. Online mode means you don’t need to attend classes every week. However, we always like to point out that online learning doesn’t mean what you probably think it means. You will still be in regular contact with your trainer whether it be tutorials, email, phone or regular live webinars. All reputable providers will offer these support services as they are essential even for the most experienced and advanced students.
At the moment we hold class-based teacher’s aide courses for Mandurah and Rockingham residents in the neighbouring suburb of Cockburn – A short drive to the north of Mandurah (about 30 minutes from Secret Harbour and 20 minutes from Baldivis). Our classes are one day per week and we have been running classes either in Mandurah or around this area for more than a decade. In fact our first class ever was in Halls Head at the E2C centre (which is now a pharmacy).
Some students travel from distant locations in order to attend our popular classes such as from North Perth, Joondalup, Bunbury and regional towns and communities outside of the Perth Metro area. As classes are held one day per week, the extended commute is more than achievable (put on your favourite podcast and enjoy the drive). The benefits of being in class is worth the drive for those who can make it.
Teacher aides in Mandurah and Rockingham come under the Education Assistants General Agreement (see the articles on our website about how much teacher aide get paid for details) unless employed in a private or non-government school (which is comparable anyway).
In General, we advise our students that teacher’s aides earn approximately $30 an hour. This is higher than what most websites quote because in reality the majority of teacher aides work in special needs schools (such as this one) which attracts a higher salary and hence raises the average rate. At the bottom end of the scale, teacher aides can expect to earn approximately $23 or $24 per hour when they first start out. At the top end of the scale they can earn anywhere up to $32-$35 an hour depending on their experience and the position. The longer you work in a school, the higher your pay will be up to a point.
Some teacher aide also receive allowances and entitlements such as:
In general, teacher aides, often called education assistants in WA or EAs, work approximately 32 hours per week and are therefore paid just under $1000 per week for 5 days of work.
It’s important to also note that the majority of teacher’s aide are not full-time. Many people enter this industry because of the family friendly hours and holidays and as such 1 or 2 days per week is the goal. Part-time employment is as common as full-time. Many people who complete a teacher aide course from the Mandurah or Rockingham area only want to work casual or a few days per week at the most. This type of flexible work attracts a 25% loading and staff are hired on a day to day basis (i.e. you will be hired for 1 day, 3 days, 8 days etc.).
We have published many detailed articles discussing the benefits of online study (see our blog page). In short however, you can certainly enrol with ITAC from the Mandurah and Rockingham area in an online mode of study in order to complete your teacher aide course by taking a flexible approach. This particular mode of study is becoming more and more popular because people are busier and need more flexibility in terms of when they study and learn.The average person is also much more tech savvy and willing to study online compared to the past.
We have developed a range of interesting, motivating and effective learning resources which are available to all of our online students (as well as class-based students) including:
You can read more about these on our sample resources page here. Hint: Ensure that you choose an RTO that offers face to face support, such as tutorials or one-on-one meetings. It’s also important to ensure that your provider visits you in the workplace on your placement – the advice you will get from an experienced trainer is invaluable to your future career and professional development. It is also expected by the school and bodes well if you are hoping to work there afterwards.
In Western Australia, teacher’s aides are often referred to as education assistants, or EAs for short as you can see from the Education Assistant of the Year Award. Education assistants are effectively the same as teacher’s aides, teacher’s assistants, school support officers, learning support officers, integration aides, paraprofessionals and para educators. All of these terms are used in different states (and countries) to refer to classroom support staff who undertake task such as learning support, resource development and planning, administration tasks and logistical support.
Some education assistants also work in a range of programs such as:
The roles and tasks expected of a teacher’s aide, varies from school to school and even classroom to classroom. Even though you are employed for a particular role initially, you may be re-allocated tasks and roles from time to time. For example, you may apply to work with year 1 or year 2 students and find that at the end of the year, you are actually needed in the year 3 or 4 class or even the year 6 class. In fact, this is probably the norm and not the exception – your position is determined by the needs of the school and the student and therefore changes regularly.
The level of difficulty and the time to complete a program is influenced by the student’s ability, experience and previous studies – some students don’t struggle at all such as those who have raised children and have a solid understanding of the types of issues and challenges that come with working with children. Others, such as students who struggle with English, may need to set aside more time each week due to the additional difficulty of working in their second language (or third or fourth language for some).
Generally, we advise students who ask this question that the course is not as difficult as technical courses such as business, accounting, IT and so forth. People with experience raising children for example, seem to breeze through the course. High school leavers can often do well as they are used to studying and have well-developed study skills and routines. The biggest barrier to success is not the course difficulty, but the need for consistent dedication and time commitment – putting in the hours.
We highly recommend the class-based mode of study as the completion rate is slightly higher and students regularly comment that they enjoyed attending classes. This is because students in class can ask questions, discuss issues and questions with fellow students, and work through the learning and assessment materials in small groups.
Online or distance mode is also very popular with many students especially in the Mandurah and Rockingham area. It is particularly useful for students who cannot make it to class due to other commitments such as work and family. Many students, regardless of mode, take about 6-9 months to complete their course.
Online students tend to take a little longer than class-based students, probably due to the additional motivation and engagement that class-based attendance provides. Some students finish in a shorter timeframe especially if they have experience with children in any capacity or have studied before at this level or higher.
We have previously explained that TAFE is generally recommended and geared towards students who are younger such as those in year 11 or 12 or who have recently left high school. Traditionally this has been TAFE’s role in the Australian training system. Adult learners, however, overwhelmingly enrol with private providers such as ITAC.
If you are a younger student and wish to be in class several days per week to help keep you on track, TAFE is probably the right provider for you. However, if you are an adult learner and you have some experience in the workplace and/or with children, ITAC is probably the right choice.
This article has summarised and discussed many of the common issues, concerns and questions that student and prospective students ask in regard to teacher’s aide courses. In particular we have discussed the availability of teacher’s aide courses in the Mandurah and Rockingham area, how much teacher aides in the Mandurah and Rockingham area can expect to earn, the types of work available in the area including the wider Peel region, how to find work as a teacher aide and what courses you need to complete in order to begin your career.
If you have any questions regarding this or any other topic, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly support staff.
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of ITAC, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
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