Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants play an integral role in the schools of Rhode Island. They provide instructional and other direct services to students under the supervision and direction of the classroom teacher or other certified professional staff. Teacher assistants are required to be trained before they are employed and to engage in ongoing professional development during employment so they can support school improvement and student achievement goals.


Events in Fall 2014

Teacher Assistants Conference - Fall 2013 (September 28, 2013)

RIDE and the East Bay Collaborative sponsored a professional development conference for teacher assistants through the Teacher Assistant Networks. The day-long conference for teacher assistants was held on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at Cole Middle School in East Greenwich. The conference sessions provided practical information and strategies that teacher assistants would be able to implement within the classroom to support student achievement and success.

Session topics included:

  • Behavioral Support: Preventing Problem Behavior and Effective De-escalation
  • Characteristics of Autism and its Impact on the School Setting
  • Overview of Autism, Research and Using "The Incredible 5 Point Scale”
  • Working with Students who Struggle with Common Emotional Disabilities
  • Facilitating Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in General Education Classes
  • Using Technology to Aid Instruction

Commissioner Deborah A. Gist attended and gave a welcome address to the group. Jessica Waters - 2013 State Teacher of the Year - was the keynote speaker.

Rhode Island law (RIGL 16-11.2) establishes requirements related to the employment, training and use of teacher assistants. As required by this law, the RI Department of Education (RIDE) has established state standards that identify pre-employment requirements related to preparation required for all entry-level teacher assistants. In addition to state legal requirements, in January 2002, federal legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act, was signed into law. This law establishes requirements for the qualifications of teacher assistants in certain roles.

A Teacher Assistant is someone (no matter the job title) who provides instructional or other direct services related to the school’s curriculum to students (and/or their parents/legal guardian) under the supervision and direction of the classroom teacher or other appropriately certified professional staff. This includes those who:

  • Provide one-on-one instructional reinforcement (referred to as tutoring in Title I programs) if such is scheduled at a time when a student would not otherwise receive instruction from a teacher,
  • Assist with classroom management, such as by organizing instructional materials,
  • Provide instructional assistance in a computer laboratory,
  • Provide instructional support in a library or media center,
  • Provide instructional assistance along with acting as a translator, or
  • Provide instructional support services under the direct supervision of a highly qualified teacher.

NOTE: The RI Department of Education does not certify individual teacher assistants, but sets minimum qualifications that school districts must follow in hiring TAs. Applicants should always check with the district(s) where they want to apply to learn about their specific employment requirements. These are minimum requirements, and districts have the right to make their requirements more stringent.

  1. Be of good character;
  2. Have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma;
  3. Completion of a Teacher Assistant Pre-Employment Training Program approved by the RI Department of Education (RIDE). Three (3) exceptions to this particular qualification:
    1. Those hired before January 1, 1999
    2. Those with certification as a TA in another state,
    3. Those with an associates degree or bachelors degree AND who have completed coursework or other training consistent with the teacher assistant program standards. It is a district's decision whether coursework or other training is consistent with the teacher assistant program standards.
  4. Meet one (1) of the following requirements:
    1. Successfully pass the ParaPro Assessment. OR
    2. Complete at least 2 years of study at an institution of higher education OR
    3. Obtain an associates or higher degree.

Find a RIDE-Approved Pre-employment Training Program
Pre-Employment programs are run by individual organizations. All instructional and non-instructional TAs hired after 1/1/99 must meet the minimum requirements, as listed above. For your convenience, here is a list of currently approved Teacher Assistant Pre-Employment Training Programs.

Please contact each program for information on schedules, cost, and registration.

Take the ParaPro Assessment



CCRI is now offering the ParaPro Assessment for anyone who has completed a pre-employment training course.

One requirement for instructional teaching assistants hired after 2001 is to demonstrate, through a formal State or local academic assessment 

(i) knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing, reading, writing, and mathematics; or
(ii) knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing, reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness, as appropriate.

In RI, the assessment designated to meet this requirement is the ParaPro Assessment.  The RI Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education recognizes a score of 461 or better as passing the ParaPro Assessment.

The ParaPro Assessment is developed and scored by Educational Testing Service. 

Teacher Assistant Network flyer for the 2012-2013 school year
Teacher Assistant (TA) Networks provide TAs with professional development and the chance to network with TAs from other districts. Networks meet 3 times each school year (Fall, Winter and Spring). Sessions are 4:00-6:00 with light refreshments. Although networks are designed particularly for TAs, we welcome teachers, administrators & others interested in TAs & the instructional teams on which they serve. Participants receive a certificate that they attended each session. This is so participants can share with employers to document professional development and to keep for their own records. TA Networks are a partnership of the Educational Collaboratives & RI Department of Education. Collaboratives serve as Network Sponsors.

Sign up for the Rhode Island Teachers Assistant electronic mailing list to receive our newsletters and current information regarding Teacher Assistants in Rhode Island. You do not have to be currently employed to join the mailing list.

To join the Rhode Island Teachers Assistant electronic mailing list, send an e-mail to RIDE-TA-REQUEST@LISTSERV.RI.NET and, in the text of your message (not the subject line), write: SUBSCRIBE RIDE-TA. Please include the following information in that email:

  • First and Last Name
  • School District
  • School (if working)

You will receive an e-mail that requests you to confirm that you sent the e-mail, and you need to follow the directions in the confirmation e-mail to be added.

NOTE: This list is solely for the purpose of sharing information from the RI Department of Education regarding Teacher Assistants. The list will not be shared with others. It is expected that the number of messages will be minimal over the course of a year. We ask that you post, forward and share this information.