Teacher aides assist teachers in a classroom by working with students on a one-to-one basis, or in groups.
Teacher aides usually earn
$23-$37 per hour
Source: NZEI, E Tū and The Secretary for Education, 2022 - 24
Pay for teacher aides varies depending on experience and responsibilities. Teacher aides only work during school hours and school terms.
- New teacher aides usually earn $23 an hour.
- Teacher aides with experience and specialist skills can earn between $25 and $37 an hour.
Source: NZEI Te Riu Roa, E Tū and The Secretary for Education, 'Support Staff in Schools' Collective Agreement June 2022 - February 2024', 2022.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Teacher aides may do some or all of the following:
- work with students one to one, and in small groups, following a programme prepared by the teacher
- help with extra activities such as physical exercise or physiotherapy
- meet with teachers and parents to discuss students' progress
- help teachers plan lessons for students with special educational needs
- help students learn English as a second language
- give medication to students who need it
- assist students with personal care such as toileting or eating.
Skills and knowledge
Teacher aides need to have knowledge of:
- how to work with students who have special needs
- the school curriculum and subject areas in which they work
- different teaching methods and learning styles
- behavioural management techniques, such as ways to calm an angry child
- child learning and development
- school rules, policies and procedures, including safety and emergency procedures
- first aid.
- usually work part time, up to 30 hours a week during school hours, but may attend meetings outside these hours
- work in school classrooms, libraries, computer suites and playgrounds
- may work in stressful conditions with students who can get violent when angry or upset
- may take students on visits to places in the community such as the library.
What's the job really like?
Teacher aide video
Grace Griffiths talks about life as a teacher aide – 2.24 mins.
school and play and just have fun. Every day is fun here.
Kia ora, my name's Grace and I'm a teacher aide.
A teacher aide does a lot of different things within a day.
We usually help with supporting the kids in their learning.
So this school that I'm currently working for is Central Auckland Specialist School,
we're a big hub that works with kids with a lot of different needs.
We usually do some core learning,
so literacy or numeracy. We also do lots of fun things,
sensory things like play-dough arts, playground time,
playing with the kids. After every morning tea and lunchtime we come out and
play outside. Good to have some fresh air. Being a teacher aide,
we get to have more of a personal relationship with our students.
It's a lot different than being a teacher and especially, being a teacher
there's way more paperwork than a teacher aide. Communication is
so important to day-to-day life and it's more than just
verbal. So this device is our pod device and
it's just a way that our non-verbal students can communicate to each other,
communicate to us. It's full of visuals,
so it makes it nice and easy for them. I actually found this job advertised
online and then, yeah,
I've had minor experience with special needs students before this job.
I just thought I could put my skills to good use. To become a teacher aide,
you actually don't need any particular training or certificates.
Usually with teacher aid work,
they do onsite training so you can earn and learn. I think the skills that
are valuable for being a teacher aid is to be personable,
to be bubbly and happy and excited to create
invitations for learning. You need to be kind. You need to be patient.
But other than that,
just having a good can-do attitude. My future career plans at the
moment is just to stay in this job. I do really love it.
I may in the future decide to go in the routes of teaching or
an occupational therapist, but at the moment I'm just happy to be here.
There are no specific requirements to become a teacher aide. However, many employers prefer to hire teacher aides who have experience working with young people.
Teacher aides must undergo a police background check.
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.
A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include English, health education, languages, maths and te reo Māori.
For Year 11 to 13 learners, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain relevant experience and skills.
Teacher aides need to be:
- understanding and patient
- able to follow instructions
- able to work well under pressure
- enthusiastic, open-minded and able to motivate children
- skilled at communicating clearly with children and adults from a range of backgrounds and cultures
- practical, organised and good at solving problems quickly
- creative and adaptable
- able to work well in a team.
Useful experience for teacher aides includes:
- working with people who have a disability.
Teacher aides need to be reasonably fit as they may carry out physical tasks such as helping students with disabilities to move around.Check out related courses
What are the chances of getting a job?
High competition for teacher aide vacancies
Your chances of securing a job as a teacher aide are best if you have experience working with children or young people.
Teacher aide vacancies are increasing, but competition for them is high. This is because teacher aides only work during school hours and school terms, so the job is attractive to those wishing to work family-friendly hours locally.
According to the Census, 17,859 teacher aides worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Types of employers varied
Teacher aides work in:
- primary and intermediate schools (67%)
- secondary schools (26%)
- special schools (7%).
You can also work in the early childhood sector as an education support worker.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Annual Percentage Change in Advertised Job Vacancies, January 2017 to January 2018 Quarters', 20 February 2018, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- NZEI Te Riu Roa, 'Principals' Survey: Intentions for 2018', 12 December 2017, (www.nzei.org.nz).
- Russell, A, 'Fraught and Frustrated: Parents Battle for Special Needs Children', 23 May 2017, (www.newsroom.co.nz).
- The Spinoff, 'Why Teacher Aides are Crucial to Classrooms: A Principal and an Aide Write', 29 January 2018, (www.thespinoff.co.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
- Stuff, 'School Support Staff Battle Low Wages and Lack of Job Security', 8 May 2017, (www.stuff.co.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Teacher aides can specialise in a number of roles, including:
- Education Support Worker
- Education support workers work alongside a teacher or therapist with children in early childhood who have special needs.
- Special Education Assistant
- Special education assistants work alongside a teacher or therapist with children who have a physical disability.
With further training, teacher aides may progress to become early childhood teachers, primary or secondary school teachers, or Kaiwhakaako Māori.
Last updated 6 November 2023