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Career profile Graduate Teaching Assistant

Also known as Graduate Assistant, Graduate Fellow, Graduate Research Assistant, Graduate Student, Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), Research Assistant (RA), Teaching Assistant (TA), Teaching Fellow

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Also known as Graduate Assistant, Graduate Fellow, Graduate Research Assistant

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Conventional
  • Artistic
Pay Range
$19,880 - $62,540 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Education and Training
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Teach undergraduate-level courses.
  • Evaluate and grade examinations, assignments, or papers, and record grades.
  • Lead discussion sections, tutorials, or laboratory sections.
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What does a Graduate Teaching Assistant do?

Graduate Teaching Assistants assist faculty or other instructional staff in postsecondary institutions by performing instructional support activities, such as developing teaching materials, leading discussion groups, preparing and giving examinations, and grading examinations or papers.

What kind of tasks does a Graduate Teaching Assistant perform regularly?

Graduate Teaching Assistants are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Teach undergraduate-level courses.
  • Evaluate and grade examinations, assignments, or papers, and record grades.
  • Lead discussion sections, tutorials, or laboratory sections.
  • Develop teaching materials, such as syllabi, visual aids, answer keys, supplementary notes, or course Web sites.
  • Inform students of the procedures for completing and submitting class work, such as lab reports.
  • Return assignments to students in accordance with established deadlines.
  • Prepare or proctor examinations.
  • Tutor or mentor students who need additional instruction.
  • Meet with supervisors to discuss students' grades or to complete required grade-related paperwork.
  • Schedule and maintain regular office hours to meet with students.
  • Order or obtain materials needed for classes.
  • Copy and distribute classroom materials.
  • Notify instructors of errors or problems with assignments.

The above responsibilities are specific to Graduate Teaching Assistants. More generally, Graduate Teaching Assistants are involved in several broader types of activities:

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Training and Teaching Others
Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

What is a Graduate Teaching Assistant salary?

The median salary for a Graduate Teaching Assistant is $36,250, and the average salary is $39,460. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Graduate Teaching Assistant salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Graduate Teaching Assistants earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Graduate Teaching Assistants earn less than $19,880 per year, 25% earn less than $27,080, 75% earn less than $51,000, and 90% earn less than $62,540.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Graduate Teaching Assistants is expected to change by 6.4%, and there should be roughly 16,700 open positions for Graduate Teaching Assistants every year.

Median annual salary
$36,250
Typical salary range
$19,880 - $62,540
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
6.4%

What personality traits are common among Graduate Teaching Assistants?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant are usually higher in their Social and Conventional interests.

Graduate Teaching Assistants typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Graduate Teaching Assistants typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant tend to value Achievement, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Graduate Teaching Assistants strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Graduate Teaching Assistants moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Graduate Teaching Assistants moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Graduate Teaching Assistants must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, dependability, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Graduate Teaching Assistants, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Graduate Teaching Assistants need?

Many Graduate Teaching Assistants have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Graduate Teaching Assistants may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Graduate Teaching Assistants

  • 4.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 25.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 24.4% completed some college coursework
  • 14.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 22.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 7.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Graduate Teaching Assistants

Graduate Teaching Assistants may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as education and training, computers and electronics, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Graduate Teaching Assistants might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

Important Abilities needed by Graduate Teaching Assistants

Graduate Teaching Assistants must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Graduate Teaching Assistants need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Graduate Teaching Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Critical Skills needed by Graduate Teaching Assistants

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Graduate Teaching Assistants frequently use skills like reading comprehension, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Graduate Teaching Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Instructing
Teaching others how to do something.
Learning Strategies
Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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