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Graduate Teaching Assistants Career Overview

Assist department chairperson, faculty members, or other professional staff members in college or university by performing teaching or teaching-related duties, such as teaching lower level courses, developing teaching materials, preparing and giving examinations, and grading examinations or papers. Graduate assistants must be enrolled in a graduate school program. Graduate assistants who primarily perform non-teaching duties, such as laboratory research, should be reported in the occupational category related to the work performed.

Salary for Graduate Teaching Assistants

Select a State



 25th
Percentile
75th
Percentile
Mean
U.S. $21,930
(N/A)
$39,530
(N/A)
$31,710
(N/A)
Annual figures are on top. Hourly figures are below in parentheses.
N/A = Information not available


Majors for this Career


Career Outlook for Graduate Teaching Assistants

Job openings will stem from faster than the average employment growth and many expected retirements. Competition is expected for tenure-track positions; better opportunities are expected for part-time or non-tenure-track positions. Ph.D. recipients should experience the best job prospects.

Employment change. Postsecondary teachers are expected to grow by 15 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Projected growth in the occupation will be due primarily to increases in college and university enrollment over the next decade. This enrollment growth stems mainly from the expected increase in the population of 18- to 24-year-olds, who constitute the majority of students at postsecondary institutions, and from the increasing number of high school graduates who choose to attend these institutions. Adults returning to college to enhance their career prospects or to update their skills also will continue to create new opportunities for postsecondary teachers, particularly at community colleges and for-profit institutions that cater to working adults. However, many postsecondary educational institutions receive a significant portion of their funding from State and local governments, so expansion of public higher education will be limited by State and local budgets.

Job prospects. Competition is expected for tenure-track positions; better opportunities are expected for part-time or non-tenure-track positions. A significant number of openings in this occupation will be created by growth in enrollments and the need to replace the large numbers of postsecondary teachers who are likely to retire over the next decade. Many postsecondary teachers were hired in the late 1960s and the 1970s to teach members of the baby-boom generation, and they are expected to retire in growing numbers in the years ahead. Ph.D. recipients should experience the best job prospects.

Although competition will remain tight for tenure-track positions at 4-year colleges and universities, there will be available a considerable number of part-time and renewable term appointments at these institutions and at community colleges. Opportunities will be available for master's degree holders because there will be considerable growth at community colleges, career education programs, and other institutions that employ them.

Opportunities for graduate teaching assistants are expected to be good, reflecting expectations of higher undergraduate enrollments. Graduate teaching assistants play an integral role in the postsecondary education system, and they are expected to continue to do so in the future.

One of the main reasons students attend postsecondary institutions is to prepare themselves for careers, so the best job prospects for postsecondary teachers are likely to be in rapidly growing fields that offer many nonacademic career options, such as business, nursing and other health specialties, and biological sciences.


Employment Overview

Postsecondary teachers held nearly 1.7 million jobs in 2008. The following tabulation shows postsecondary teaching jobs in specialties having 20,000 or more jobs in 2008:

Graduate teaching assistants 159,700
Health specialties teachers 155,300
Vocational education teachers 120,200
Art, drama, and music teachers 93,800
Business teachers 85,400
English language and literature teachers 74,800
Education teachers 70,200
Biological science teachers 64,700
Nursing instructors and teachers 55,100
Mathematical science teachers 54,800
Engineering teachers 40,600
Psychology teachers 38,900
Computer science teachers 38,800
Foreign language and literature teachers 32,100
Communications teachers 29,900
History teachers 26,000
Philosophy and religion teachers 25,100
Chemistry teachers 24,800
Recreation and fitness studies teachers 21,000
Sociology teachers 20,300
Postsecondary teachers, all other 298,000


Job Zone Description

Job Zone 5 - Extensive preparation

Overall Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of medical school and up to an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to do their job.

Education
At a minimum, a bachelor's degree is required for these occupations. However, many also require a graduate school degree such as a Master's, Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

Job Training
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations require that you already have the necessary skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Examples
Lawyers, instrumental musicians, physicists, counseling psychologists, and surgeons.

These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising or managing the activities of others. Very advanced communication and organization skills are required.

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Related Occupations

1.

Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists

2.

Health Educators

3.

Instructional Coordinators

4.

Teacher Assistants

5.

Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary


Additional Resources for Graduate Teaching Assistants Job Seekers

Professional societies related to a field of study often provide information on academic and nonacademic employment opportunities. Names and addresses of many of these societies appear in statements elsewhere in the Handbook.

Special publications on higher education, such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, list specific employment opportunities for faculty. These publications are available in libraries.

For information on the Preparing Future Faculty program, contact:

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