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Graduate Teaching Assistant Career

Career Description

A Graduate Teaching Assistant assists faculty, department chairs, or other professional staff at colleges and universities by performing teaching or teaching-related duties.

Common Work Tasks

  • Preparation of lectures and exams, and assigning final grades to students
  • Grading assignments, term papers, research projects
  • Monitor exams, hold office hours or help-sessions for students, conduct laboratory sessions, or administer quizzes to the class
  • Notify instructors of errors or problems with assignments
  • Meet with supervisors to discuss students’  grades, and to complete required grade-related paperwork
  • Copy and distribute classroom materials
  • Develop teaching materials such as syllabi,  visual aids, answer keys, supplementary notes, and course websites
  • Provide instructors with assistance in the use of audiovisual equipment
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence

Other Job Titles

Graduate Teaching Assistants are also known by other titles,  including:

  • Teacher Assistants
  • TA’s
  • Instructional Coordinator
  • Library Assistant

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
  Most graduate teaching assistants are students themselves. Graduate teaching assistants usually must be enrolled in a graduate school program, and have completed most of the necessary courses required for their field of study.

  In addition to being knowledgeable about the subjects they help teach, graduate teaching assistants must have the ability to communicate, inspire trust and confidence,  and motivate students, as well as understand the students’ educational and emotional needs.


The median annual salary for a Graduate teaching assistant is $28,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $47,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $15,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of graduate teaching assistants are:

  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $29,950
  • Junior Colleges - $34,930
  • Grantmaking and Giving Services - $29,380
  • Scientific Research and Development Services - $30,570
  • Technical and Trade Schools - $33,980

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  6%
  • Employment 2006 : 120,000
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