Teacher Assistants in Perth, WA and surrounding areas predominantly work in the classroom environment in primary schools and high schools to support learning, behaviour and development. They assist the teacher to manage the classroom including light cleaning, setting up and packing away activities, and developing resources when requested.
Teacher Assistants work in over 1200 schools across WA most of which are located in the Perth greater metro area. While teacher assistants can take on many roles and responsibilities, they are by and large employed to work with students with additional needs including students with disabilities, disorders and other complex needs.
Think you could be a teacher assistant in Perth WA? This article answers the common questions that we get from people in Perth WA who are seeking to enrol in a teacher assistant course. ITAC offer's high-quality, research-based, best practice, nationally recognised teacher assistant courses in Perth WA by online and class-based mode from 1 day per week. If you are looking to complete a high-quality teacher assistant course from Perth WA, you can learn more at any of the following locations:
For those considering a move to this exciting profession, this article will answer some of the most common questions about teacher assistant courses in Perth WA including:
Teacher assistants are commonly referred to as teacher aides, school support officers or SSOs, education assistants, learning support officers, or any one of a number of other terms used in different parts of Australia. The two most common terms in WA is teacher assistant and education assistant or EA for short.
If you are considering a new career or even just a part-time or casual gig as a teacher assistant for a bit of fun, your first port of call is to find a reputable provider where you can learn best practice teaching and learning strategies, behaviour management techniques and methods and processes for assisting with classroom logistical tasks. You'll need to enrol in a research-based, high-quality course in order to learn these vital skills.
A nationally recognised teacher assistant course with ITAC will give you the skills and strategies that schools demand. This includes the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support or the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. Many also choose the very popular, cost effective and time saving Teacher Aide Combo. These are the nationally recognised teacher assistant qualifications that are required by schools. This includes schools such as:
Within each of the above options, you could also choose between:
A reputable nationally recognised teacher assistant course such as the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support will qualify you to work in any of WA's many schools including those in the sought-after Perth metro area.
You may have an idea in your mind about what a teacher assistant does day to day. Many believe that teacher assistants are simply employed to assist the teacher. While this is partly true, teacher assistants these days are expected to undertake a whole range of really important tasks. For example, they may assist the teacher with administrative tasks such as marking students' work, ordering supplies and keeping track of attendance. It really depends on your teacher and your school. In addition, however, teacher assistants also spend a lot of time helping and supporting students with learning – what is known as instructional tasks. This has become the primary role of teaching assistants nowadays (in all of Australia including Perth and around WA) and is the main focus of all good teacher assistant courses such as that which is offered by ITAC.
A key task of almost all teacher assistants is to work in conjunction with the teacher to manage and guide student behaviour. Behaviour management, as it is known in the industry, is a very important, ongoing and often stressful task depending on your school and students. It involves implementing a range of strategies to ensure students adhere to the classroom rules and expectations (such as volume of noise), and that they are 'on-task' (and therefore not distracting or impinging on the learning of others). Behaviour management is an important part of all good teacher assistant courses. While providers have different views and resources to address this essential responsibility, ITAC teach best practice, research-based skills and strategies based on industry consultation (asking schools what they want teacher assistants to learn in their course).
Common behavioural issues that you are likely to come across at some point includes throwing things, calling out, swearing, hitting others, disrupting others, and general 'off-task' behaviour. On occasion you may be required to assist the teacher with more serious behaviour management issues - also known as 'challenging behaviours' or 'disruptive behaviours' such as temper tantrums and running away. While rare, these challenging behaviours are part and parcel of the work of teacher assistants in WA schools and is an expected occurance particularly if you are working in special needs. This is why it’s very important to complete your teacher assistant qualification or course with a reputable provider so you learn the practical techniques that enable you to be effective when these events occur.
Don't take my word for it however! Here is what some studies have said about what teacher assistants (commonly referred to as teacher aides or education assistanst in WA) do in the classroom in modern times (bearing in mind the role is continuing to evolve). We use research such as this to develop our research-based teacher assistant courses which reflects the needs of teachers and schools in Perth WA and all other states and territories of Australia.
A Victorian study said that the four main areas where teacher aides are focused on are ‘a) inclusion in the school community, (b) curriculum, (c) classroom management, and (d) student support.’
Another study published in the 'International Journal of Inclusive Education', stated that teacher aides have a ‘pivotal, complex and ambiguous role’ in terms of supporting students with disabilities.
Other studies such as this one in 2016, found that ‘students with disabilities in full-day kindergarten have higher reading and mathematics outcomes at the end of kindergarten when the classroom has a teacher's aide.’
To become a Teacher Assistant the first thing you will need to do is enrol in 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. Almost everyone who decides to become a Teacher Assistant enrols in one of these two qualifications (or both as is the case with the Teacher Aide Combo).
CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support is the higher-level qualification and is generally regarded as the required course for those seeking or intending to work with special needs. Special needs includes disabilities, disorders and difficulties such as ADHD, Autism or ASD and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
There are many different types of teacher assistants and they can undertake a range of different activities, roles and responsibilities within a school. For example, if you are working in a year 3 class with a student that has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder or simply Autism as it is now known) you are expected to undertake tasks such as the typical learning support services (such as for literacy) as well as providing scaffolds for social and emotional development. In broad terms, literacy support is helping a student to learn how to read, write, spell, use grammar and sound out words – commonly known as phonics to most teachers and teacher assistants (or phonemic awareness to be technically correct). The CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support is the teacher assistant course that focuses on applying teaching and learning strategies to support work with special needs.
While working with special needs is the bread and butter of teacher assistants in WA, there are many other roles available in schools. Home economics assistants ('home ec') complete tasks such as supporting learning in the kitchen environment, stocktake, cleaning, purchasing and planning food activities. Some teacher assistants also work in the school library. Specialist programs are another option and include programs for disadvantaged students, sports' programs, music, art or alternative programs for year 11s and 12s (and year 13s). A new program in WA is the Specialist Autism program that has been rolled out to half a dozen schools, each employing large numbers of teacher assistants who have completed a relevant teacher assistant course and who reside in WA and in particular the Perth area.
The majority of teacher assistants work with special needs students. Some mainstream schools also have an equivalent special needs centre/school on the same site - often these schools are separate schools with a similar name such as this mainstream school and this special need's school on the same physical site (but is otherwise a school to itself with its own school managers and staff). In Perth and around WA, special needs schools are known as education support centres in most cases. In other states they are known as 'special schools'.
A special needs centre or a special needs school is a school that specialises in supporting students with disabilities who generally require one-on-one and ongoing support. Quite often these schools have many more teacher assistants than degree qualified, registered teachers and hence are a good place to look for work. You will need to complete a special needs teacher assistant course to work in this type of school such as the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support.
There are two teacher assistant courses to choose from as well as the option to enrol in the very popular Teacher Aide Combo. Note that some providers only offer one course - normally the lower level qualification, so you may be limited as far as your options depending on where you choose to study.
At ITAC, we offer both the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support and the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. There is no minimum entry requirements for the Certificate IV (you do not need to complete the Certificate III first). You will, of course, need to have a certain level of English skills in order to begin the course, however this is generally not a problem for the majority of people.
If you have an additional support need such as a disability, disorder or if English is not your first language, we recommend speaking to a student advisor for further advice before enrolling. We enrol hundreds of students every year in our teacher assistant courses in Perth WA and have an 80%+ completion rate. This means that the 'average' student can expect to finish the course without too much stress (except if he or she loses interest, falls ill or is distracted with one of life's (un)fortunate events).
If you intend to work in special needs, the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support is without doubt the right teacher assistant course in WA for you. This course is predominately concerned and focused on the skills required to work in special needs (either mainstream inclusive classes or special needs schools). However, even if you are not intending to work with students with additional needs, we recommend this course for several reasons:
The CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support is the broad-based course that covers various aspects of working as a teacher assistant in mainstream positions with a little exposure to special needs; it dabbles in special needs but it is not a main focus. In the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support however, you will cover very similar topics (as the Certificate III) with the added specialisation of learning effective techniques for working with students who have disabilities and disorders.
While the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support contains some special needs content, the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support is a specialist qualification for working with disabilities including comorbidities and disorders.
At the moment there is no government funding in Western Australia or Perth for teacher assistant courses. Some funding is however available for teacher assistant courses in other states (if you happen to reside in Queensland for example). Funding changes from time to time, so it is best to speak to an ITAC student advisor or check out the latest information under the fee's tab of your course.
Even though no government funding is available in WA at present, we advise students to carefully consider their options and not to simply choose the cheapest available provider. It is very important to invest wisely in your education, just as you would any other major investment like a car or a house. Ensure that your provider visits you in the workplace, has a good reputation, you can call and speak to trainers easily, you can meet with trainers, they offer live webinars, and in general you feel comfortable with them.
So-called 'cheap' courses offer less support which can prolong the time it takes to complete your qualification - costing you tens of thousands in lost income. Also bear in mind that if you are applying for competitive positions, the better the reputation of the provider whi issued your certificate, the better your chances of being successful. To find work in the Perth area, we recommend a reputable nationally recognised teacher assistant course such as one of these:
There are over 1000 schools in Western Australia. Many schools have 20+ teacher assistants; some have even more - many more. Because of this, we believe it is relatively easy to find work in a school provided you hold a nationally recognised education support qualification and are suited to the role.
Special needs schools are always asking us if we have students available for relief work (the term used in the education sector for casual work). Relief work is the best way to get your foot into the door and it commonly leads to contracts or more permanent positions – schools like to hire who they know which is understandable give the nature of the work.
Teacher assistants are paid approximately $1000 a week or $30 an hour in Perth WA. You may be thinking $30 x 38 hours is not $1000. This is because most teacher assistants are employed for approximately 32.5 hours per week. This is the case because most teacher assistants start at approximately 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning and finish at approximately 3:00, 3:15 or 3:30 in the afternoon. This depends on the school and what they would prefer you to do. Some schools are happy for you to leave work almost straight after the bell whereas others set a time. You shouldn’t be rushing out the door at the same time as students as this doesn’t look that good professionally speaking.
Many teacher assistants also do additional work at home such as on school holidays (although this is generally not required and is voluntary). Tasks of this nature may include preparing resources and designing activities. The majority of teacher assistants, however, don’t do all that much work outside of their allocated 'normal' hours of work.
You can learn more about teacher aide pay, allowances, and benefits by reading this article: How much do teacher aides get paid?
It should be noted that $30 per hour is our guess at how much the average teacher assistant is paid. Other factors may impact your salary including whether you have completed a teacher assistant course such as the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. Some online sources (incorrectly) indicate that teacher assistants are paid significantly less on average than our estimate. We believe that this information is incorrect because the majority of teacher assistants (at least in the Perth metro and around WA) work in special needs schools or with special needs students.
In fact, probably around 75% - 85% of teacher assistants work with special needs to some extent. This therefore means that most teacher assistants are on the higher end of the pay scale (and not in the middle which is how other websites calculate the 'average'). Therefore we think $30 is a good number to use for back-of-napkin calculations to figure out what you will earn in a WA school (after a few years' experience).
In almost all states of Australia, teacher assistants are paid on a tiered scale. The first level is quite often for those working in mainstream. This mainly means assisting in lower levels classrooms such as year 1. The next tier is for teacher assistants who work with special needs in mainstream (often referred to as an inclusive classroom). The top level is for teacher assistants who work with students in special needs schools; they are paid the most. This final level generally requires the completion of a special needs teacher assistant course such as: CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support.
Some staff may earn additional allowances or be in higher paying positions for various reasons. If you are working in a regional or rural area for example, you will likely be paid an additional allowance. All (except causal) staff receive leave entitlements such as personal leave and annual leave.
As we have discussed earlier, there are various terms used to describe support staff who work in schools assisting the teacher with educational activities, supporting students and from time to time undertaking administrative and operational tasks. All of these terms essentially mean the same thing. Some believe that the term 'teacher aide' is not appropriate anymore as it is somewhat demeaning (indicating they are a lackey to the teacher undertaking menial tasks like making coffee and photocopying). However, it is the term that is used across the world and the one that the average person uses (without meaning to be derogatory of offensive). Teacher assistants can also be known as:
This is a very difficult question for us to answer in a few paragraphs. Obviously, it can depend on the class, school, your experience, the quality of your training etc. If you enrol and complete a reputable teacher assistant course in Perth (by class or distance) you will learn the research-based, best practice skills and techniques that will make your work much more effective and significantly less difficult. This incudes for example learning best practice scaffolding, questioning, feedback, motivation and so forth. Very few providers teach these techniques so it is important that you ask your provider for a list of strategies that you will learn in your teacher assistant course.
As an example, on your work placement you might find that behaviour management is one of the hardest tasks. Behaviour management simply means that you are helping to ensure that children are on track and that they are following the school and classroom rules. Our teacher assistant courses spend a lot of time ensuring that you are fully prepared with all the necessary behaviour management skills and techniques to manage most situations. If you didn't learn these essential skills, your work and placement would be much more difficult and stressful - it is also more likely that your school would not invite you back for paid work.
Many students enter this industry believing or hoping that they will work in lower primary school and they are somewhat scared of working in a high school. We argue that this is a misconception and high schools are no more challenging than any other school.
Don't forget to read our detailed article about what teacher aides do by clicking here.
Bear in mind that high school students are not as scary as they may seem, and the teacher has ultimate responsibility for managing any serious behaviour management issues (unlike primary school where all staff are expected to be involved). In terms of behaviour management, which is probably what scares people the most, high schools don’t really have any more behavioural issues than primary schools. High school students (teenagers!) aren’t anywhere near as ‘bad’ as their reputation even when working in speciality programs such as senior school SAEC programs (student at educational risk).
The majority of people in Perth WA study their teacher assistant course online. Keep in mind that online does not mean that students never have contact with a trainer. In fact, this is a common misconception about online or distance study. Studying a teacher assistant course online from Perth WA simply means that you are not required to attend a class. The key word there was 'required'. This does not mean you cannot attend a class - it simply means that you are not required to each and every week. Many still choose to attend face to face or online tutorials, webinars or meet with their trainer for a brief chat.
As a student of an online teacher assistant course from WA, you will still have access to a trainer and we highly recommend and counsel students to attend (where possible) as many face to face tutorials, workshops and online webinars as they can (in our Cockburn office or from the comfort of your own home for online and live webinars). This can help you to get the most out of your course and enables you to meet fellow students.
Gone are the days when studying online simply meant that you are sitting in a dark and dingy basement for long periods of time. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Online has several advantages especially for busy adult learners. It gives you maximum flexibility as far as organising your time in order to meet other commitments such as family and work responsibilities. You can study at a time that suits you. This is the best thing about studying a teacher assistant course in Perth WA via online or distance mode - you still complete the same amount of work but your study schedule is personalised to your indivdual needs and circumstances. Also, the time it takes to complete your course is up to you - you could complete the course in 4-6 months, 9 months or 12 months - your choice! If you are 0very busy and have lots of commitments, or you are just happy to take it a bit slower, you might choose to complete the course over a long period of time. Most students however aid to finish by the 6 months mark. People with experience with children tend to finish much sooner.
Feel free to read our detailed article on this exact subject: Teacher Aide Course online: is it for me?
We recommend enrolling in a teacher assistant course at TAFE if you are under 18 years of age. TAFE specialise and excel at training younger students and they are effectively similar to a high school in many respects. Not all younger students enrol at TAFE however and we at ITAC enrol our fair share (including those enrolled in high school or who have just recently left high school).
Generally younger students benefit from being in class (emphasis on 'generally') for the extra support and to ensure that they stay on track. Mature aged students (over 24 years of age) typically enrol with a private provider - the statistics overwhelmingly show that students in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s enrol with private providers. Private providers like ITAC specialise and cater for adult learners by providing flexible teacher assistant courses and an adult-friendly environment.
Generally speaking, the assessments in both of our teacher assistants courses are not difficult including the higher CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support. There are no essays or long reports and the majority of (theory) assessment items are short answer questions. We try to make our courses as practical as possible. Some providers require students to write lengthy reports (1000-2000 words) however this method is considered to be poor design and is becoming less common. It’s important that you ask your provider about the type of assessments that you will be expected to complete.
You can see several examples below from our courses (CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support and the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support):
In some schools, staff carry walkie-talkies when supervising students outside of the normal classroom environment. It is important to use these devices appropriately and professionally. Give three examples of when it would be appropriate to use a walkie-talkie.
Case Study 2 - Assistive technology and adjustments to resources
Olivia is deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other ear. You have been asked to do some research into what assistive technology the school could purchase to support Olivia in her learning. What do you recommend and why? List at least 3 products or types of products
Our teacher assistant courses are structured using clusters of similar units – what is known as 'clustering' by instructional and curriculum designers (or andragologists if we want to get really grandiloquent!). We prefer a clustered method as it saves students a lot of time; many of the units in either the CHC30221 Certificate III in School Based Education Support or the CHC40221 Certificate IV in School Based Education Support have a significant amount of duplicate content – clustering removes this duplication. A unit by unit program will take you a long time to complete and also means that you are doing the same assessment questions over and over again - how boring.
Clusters is also a better reflection on the way in which you are expected to operate in the real world. For example, we combine a number of similar units into one ‘literacy’ cluster. This more closely represents what teacher assistants do in in an actual classroom – manage multiple tasks at the same time. For example, while supporting literacy, you will also manage small groups, manage behaviour, consider safety and required procedures, deal with interruptions and issues, work with technology, provide small group and one-on-one instruction, use a range of teaching strategies and so forth - all at the same time and all largely 'on-the-fly'. It seems only natural then to combine and teach these tasks as they would be expected to be completed by a paid teacher assistant in one of WA's many schools.
All Teacher Assistant courses have a work placement. This is in fact, a government requirement at least for nationally recognised teacher assistant courses including those in Perth WA whether by distance or online. The current requirement is for 100-hours in a registered school. You can complete this in a local school in most cases provided that the school agrees (another reason why it is important to enrol with a reputable provider). Many students end up working where they complete their placement (assuming they have learn the best practice skills and techniques in order to demonstrate how effective and useful they are in the classroom and to student learning, development and behaviour).
If you have questions regarding the work placement, please consult our student handbook or speak to an ITAC student advisor for information specific to your situation.
The enrolment form takes approximately 10-20 minutes to complete and can be accessed from the enrolment tab on our website. During or before this process, you will need to obtain a Unique Student Identifier or USI as this is a government requirement for all students in Australia. You can also choose whether to study by distance or enrol in one of our classes in Perth WA (Cockburn Central). Once we have received your application, we will generally process it within a few days and sometimes on the same day if everything was submitted such as your ID. You will then have immediate access to your course and can get started straight away - you are on your way to a new and exciting career as a teacher assistant in Perth WA!
This article has covered everything that you need to know in terms of teacher assistant courses in Perth WA and working as a teacher assistant in a local West Australian school. This includes:
If you have any additional questions regarding your teacher assistant courses and the options available to you in Perth WA, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any stage. If we don’t know the answer – no one does!
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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