The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number of assistant teaching jobs nationwide is expected to rise by 15 percent between 2010 and 2020. While you don't need a teaching certificate or four-year degree to work as an assistant, each state has its own requirements. In Connecticut, you must adhere to guidelines from either the state Department of Public Health or Department of Education in order to work as an educational support professional.
Child Care Centers
If you work, or want to work, in a Connecticut child care center, the state's licensing guidelines spell out specific requirements. The Department of Public Health issues rules for working as a support staff member, under the supervision of a lead teacher. Assistant teachers must have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalency certificate. Additionally, assistants must have 540 hours or more of documented professional experience working with young children. You must have experience working with kids who have no relation to you and are the same ages as the children you plan to help teach.
Family Day-Care Homes
Unlike a child care center, which is a school-like setting in a public or private institution, family day-care homes are private residences in which up to six children may receive care and supervision. Assistants in a family day-care home, according to the Department of Public Health, must have many of the same qualifications of the main provider or teacher. This includes demonstrating physical and emotional health -- through medical records -- as well as completion of a CPR course and child first-aid class and submitting at least three letters of recommendation from references who can speak to the assistant's ability to supervise children. Additionally, all assistant teachers in family day-care homes must pass a criminal background check.
Title I Assistants
Working as an assistant teacher, or paraprofessional, in Connecticut means following the state's Department of Education guidelines. All paraprofessionals in public schools that receive Title I funding -- funding by the U.S. Department of Education's Title I grants -- must have at least a high school diploma or GED and either two years of college, an associate degree or a passing grade on the state's paraprofessional assessment. The assessment includes evaluating the assistant teacher's knowledge of mathematics, reading and writing.
Training and Professional Development
Aside from the general requirements for Connecticut assistant teachers, support staff working with young children in child care centers must also have ongoing training and professional development opportunities. For example, the state requires supporting personnel to complete at least six hours of training in emergency management, communicable disease prevention and child safety. The state must approve the course, based on an outline that the trainer submits, prior to it counting toward the assistant's ongoing development requirements.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Teacher Assistants
- Connecticut Department of Public Health: Statutes and Regulations, Child Day Care Centers and Group Day Care Homes
- Connecticut Department of Public Health: Statutes and Regulations, Family Day Care Homes
- Connecticut State Department of Education: Paraprofessional Information and Resources
- Connecticut State Department of Education: Title I Paraprofessional Requirements
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.