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Education Assistant: Everything You Want to Learn [Guide]

Published On: March 24, 2023

An education assistant reads aloud to her students

If you are passionate about the education sector and want to help children learn, you might consider becoming a special education assistant. In this role, you will be able to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and give them the support they deserve when pursuing their education. 

For more Special Education Assistant content, refer to our website.

What does an Education Assistant (EA) do?

Education Assistants (EAs) work with teachers to support students with diverse learning challenges, and special needs. The position within this classification varies from more general positions to specialized roles such as Autism support workers, severe behaviour worker, and sign language interpreters. The supports they provide include behaviour management, curriculum implementation, social skills development, personal care and physical assistance.

EAs will work with a school based team including teachers, parents, and medical professionals to support a student’s physical, emotional, and learning needs. They also help to implement individualized education plan (IEP) designed to help students thrive in the classroom.

Read this blog if you're interested in an in-depth guide on what an Education Assistant does.

What other names exist for this career choice?

You've likely heard of a few different names for this role. We'll be using each of these names interchangeably throughout this guide.

Some include:

  • Teacher's Assistant
  • Special Education Assistant
  • Education Assistant
  • Education Aid
  • Teacher's Aid
  • Term Teacher

Benefits of Becoming an Education Assistant

  • This is an exceptionally satisfying job. You’re working in one of the most rewarding areas of education with students who are generally transparent about their progress and feelings – regardless of their levels of emotional engagement. Each day will come with a sense of momentum, no matter how small.
  • As part of a school that has other integrated classes, you can develop support and connection with other education assistants as well as with teachers. This team can help you when you have challenges, have a day that doesn’t feel so great and establish a sense of camaraderie in your workplace.
  • You are part of inclusion team that includes parents and caregivers, general education and resource teachers, as well as other professionals as required. Together you work as a team to successfully supports students.
  • Some of the students will require personal care and physical assistance. For roles supporting students with particular needs or challenges, additional training in a particular area may be required and addressed through the school district.
  • You will build relationships with students to meet them where they are at and help them gain the skills they need to develop successfully.

Average Education Assistants Salary reports that the average salary in Canada for an Education Assistant is around $24.00/hour. Depending on where you live, the salary can fluctuate positive or negatively. If you reside in BC, your wage will be roughly $26.25 as of 2023. However in Alberta, the average wage is $18.96/hour.

The history of the Education Assistants

The role of Education Assistants has continued to evolve over the years. EAs are no longer a Teacher’s helper, they are a valuable support to teachers every day and together make a team that is supportive of students learning have always existed. Since the inclusion model came into practice in the 1980s, Education Assistants have been needed more and more knowledge and training.

Teachers now understand that special education assistants bring a level of knowledge and skill that they may not have themselves. By working together, they can support the students in the classroom.

Other changes include the increase in the use of computers, smart boards, assistive and augmentative technology for those students who require alternative communication.

Qualifications and skills to become an Education Assistant

To enter this field, you need to complete an Education Assistant Program with the required number of practicum hours. You also need to obtain a criminal record check. However, there are other skills and abilities that are equally important. You need to be genuinely committed to helping children learn, and have cultural and ability sensitivity.

For roles supporting students with particular needs or challenges, additional training in a particular area may be required.

For example:

  • Classroom and Community Support Worker Program
  • Special Education Assistant Certificate
  • Special Needs Worker Program
  • American Sign-Language
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis Therapy

During the time of your studies, you will need to develop the habits you will need in the workplace. This should include increased awareness, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. You will also need to develop your time management.

A woman with her special needs child on her hip waving

The Education Assistant program at Ashton College

Ashton College’s remains current to the needs of school districts/schools across Canada. Our curriculum covers exceptionalities that are high-incidence (i.e., Autism, Down Syndrome, FASD) to low-incidence (Angelman Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, PKU, Prader-Willi). We feel that it is vital for our graduates to have an in-depth knowledge of all the special needs their future students might have.

With the ever-increasing number of refugees settling in Canada, there is a need to have Educational Assistants be more diverse and learn more about different cultures and the needs that these students will have. Cultural sensitivity, Trauma Awareness Training are discussed in depth so that students are prepared to respond positively. With the Truth and Reconciliation, a focus on working with Aboriginal students is necessary. School staff require the knowledge on how to integrate

Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms. There is much that can be learned by educating and supporting all students using a holistic framework.

The benefits of completing the EA program from Ashton College

The largest benefit is that students will acquire quality education, which means more than the surface-level knowledge of being an Education Assistant. Anyone can read a textbook, but we bring our students into a classroom environment that is rich with opportunities to ensure the comprehension and application of the required skills.

Instructors at Ashton are passionate. They have the skills to get students to a level where they can become a professional. 

What are you some of the focus areas when teaching this program?

Our first focus to go beyond the surface and ensure that you have the understanding and application skills to apply your learning to students. Due to the everchanging developments with some learning challenges, certain courses will focus on certain needs for Autism, FASD and Dyslexia.

Our second focus is understanding the importance of Universal Design for Learning, Differentiated Instruction and Response to Intervention. These are covered in multiple courses in a variety of contexts.

Our third focus is the understanding that though this can be a rewarding career in making a difference, it has its challenges as well. Our program will help you to navigate those challenges successfully.

Who should choose the Education Assistant program?

The best candidates for this field are people who truly enjoy working with children. The best candidates for theEA work are those who are patient and responsive and are sensitive to the obstacles children face while in their care. Children have a right to a quality education and become valued members of society.


The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog.


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  1. Yassamen aljabir says:

    I am intrested to special eduction how can i get courses or certificate.

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