We get asked this question nearly every day – and for good reason – if you are looking to spend your hard-earned money on a course, not to mention a large chunk of your time, you should know what the financial reward is at the end. We did the research, collated the most common questions that we get, and put together a state by state comparison of the salary and pay rates for teacher’s aides across Australia.
In this article we will discuss the following:
On average teacher’s aides are paid $30 per hour. Many teacher’s aides work 32 hours per week, so therefore they are paid 32 x 30 = $960 per week plus superannuation. This includes 11-12 weeks of holidays and very family friendly hours which is a big plus for many students.
This estimate is higher than most other websites. Why? We train thousands of teacher’s aides and have done so for a very long time – and where do most of them get work? With special needs students. This means they are typically employed on higher salaries around the $30 per hour rate. A very large percentage of teacher’s aides work with special needs – probably the majority. And there are a lot of them - some special needs schools have many times more teacher’s aides than teachers.
Working as a teacher’s aide is probably the only government job where you work 830-300 and get a bunch of holidays and NEVER work public holidays. While most work about 32 hours per week, a small number of teacher’s aides work 38 hours per week and are therefore required to stay at school between 8am and 4pm.
However, it is important to remember that $30 per hour is an average and you may earn anywhere between $25 and $35 depending on a range of factors:
Staff employed as a teacher’s aide (also called integration aides, learning support officers, SSOs etc.), will be placed on a ‘level’which determines the hourly rate. These levels can be complicated and difficult to understand at first glance and they are different in every state.
In general, Level 1 is for work in mainstream, level 2 is for work in special needs in a mainstream classroom, and level 3 is for working in special needs schools. There are also higher levels such as for those that are in charge of a group of teacher’s aides or who are working in very remote areas. Again, this is very simplistic and differs from state to state.
As an example, we have shown the WA pay levels below (other states and territories are relatively similar):
Teacher’s aides in Western Australia are paid $25.29 - $29.59 for Level 1 and 2 positions. This means you are working in mainstream classrooms.
Teacher’s aides in Western Australia are paid $27.41 - $31.91 for Level 2-3 positions. This means that you are working with special needs in a mainstream classroom.
Teacher’s aides in Western Australia are paid $30.32 - $31.91 for Level 3 positions in special needs centres or if you are an Aboriginal & Indigenous Education Officer (AIEO).
The table below outlines the typical pay that teacher's aides in the public sector could expect to receive not including entitlements such as travel, district or casual allowances if applicable.
Average estimated pay or salary for teacher's aides.
Note: This information has been summarised and the relevant award should be consulted for accurate and up to date information. Salary may depend on experience, location of work, position, qualifications and other factors.
Most teacher’s aides come under an enterprise agreement. This is a document normally negotiated between the relevant union (representing the workers) and the organisation (such as the education department or state government). The enterprise agreement sets out pay rates, allowances, leave and a range of rules such as the process for redundancy, right to training and certain types of leave such as cultural leave. For example, in WA this document is referred to as the Education Assistants' General Agreement 2019 and is available here.
One important aspect of most agreements are the pay scales. Teacher’s aides, like teachers and principals, are paid based on the amount of experience they have. For example, each year of FTE (full time equivalent) experience you have, your pay will be slightly higher (to a limit). This is usually referred to as a tiered pay scale. The purpose of this system is to reward experience and a higher level of expertise and to motive experienced staff to continue their employment the following year.
Teacher’s aides who are employed as part time or full time are paid during school holidays. Part of the pay you will receive during the holiday period is your annual leave that previously accrued during the school term. If you have a contract that ends at the end of a term or year, you will not be paid for the following holidays, however you will be paid out any annual leave that has accrued.
The 11-12 weeks of holidays per year, is one of the main reasons why many people, especially mothers, become teacher’s aides. In fact, our enrolments are probably 99% female, and many say that they want family friendly work hours so they can drop their children off at school and then go to work. This saves a lot of money on before and after school care.
Teacher’s aides are generally paid fortnightly. Almost all government departments pay employees fortnightly and school staff are no exception. As far as we are aware, this is the case throughout Australia.
Generally, you will get paid on the same day each fortnight depending on your financial institution. Some banks for example can take several days to transfer the money to your account – others are instant.
Teacher’s aides are paid a rate based on their FTE. FTE stands for Full time Equivalent. An FTE of 1.0 means that you are employed for 100% of the maximum hours (normally 38). Most teacher’s aides are 0.8 FTE meaning they are employed 80% of the maximum 38 hours. This means that you will be paid 80% of the 1.0 FTE. It also means that you only have to be on-site (stay on the school grounds) for less time (for example you may be able to leave not too long after children finish).
Typically, teacher’s aides are employed for a full day (and sometimes half days). Schools hire teacher’s aides for full days in most cases and you will be paid accordingly. Check your pay slip to see how your salary is calculated. If you work as a relief teacher’s aide, you will be paid an additional loading (such as 25%) on top of your daily/hourly rate however will not be paid sick leave and annual leave.
Teacher’s aides generally do not get any benefits, other than hourly or daily pay. All staff (ex cluding casual) have access to personal leave, annual leave and other forms of leave depending on the agreement. There is also leave for cultural reasons, military service, training etc. Casual staff are paid an additional loading of 25% on top of the standard rate but do not recieve any leave allowances - they cannot for example call in sick and be paid sick leave.
There are some staff that are paid allowances such as a first aid allowance. This is a small allowance paid to the person in a school or department who has agreed to take on some of the first aid responsibilities in the school. Other benefits can be paid for additional roles but are relatively rare – such as WHS officer, additional contracts (such as doing a project for the school outside of hours) and travel, meal and away-from-home allowances which you will recieve when on school camps.
If you work in a regional or rural area you may be paid a loading, often called a regional allowance. These allowances are supposed to assist you with the additional cost of living in far flung areas, travel back and forth to the nearest city, the additional cost of food and as a way to encourage people to work in those areas. Some states provide regional allowances at the end of the year (Tasmania) whereas other states pay staff loadings with their fortnightly pay (WA).
Not all teacher’s aides get paid. Many parents, especially mothers, help out the teacher on a regular basis – for example, an hour or two per week or fortnight. In fact, some teachers have a roster and ask (some even expect) that parents will provide some time to help the class in some way. Other teachers don’t want parents in the classroom at all. This mainly applies with very young children and definitely not in high schools where parental involvement is rare.
Voluntary teacher’s aides however are typically untrained (they don’t have any teacher’s aide qualifications) and the expectations are very different – you are not required to work full days for example and as a volunteer, you can more easily call in sick. In fact, parent helpers and most other volunteers are not really considered to be teacher's aides per se, but they do share similar characteristics.
Staff who have a formal qualification such as the CHC30213 Certificate III in Education Support or the CHC40213 Certificate IV in Education Support may be placed on a slightly higher pay level within the band that the position is based on. For example, Level 3 employees, who work in special needs schools, can be on Level 3.1, 3.2 etc. If you have a qualification, you may be places on a 3.2 on day 1.
The other way to move from 3.1 to 3.2 is to complete 12 months of experience. Every year, your pay will go up (such as from 3.1 to 3.2). Note that this isn’t the case in all states – speak to your school registrar or other contact person for details if you are concerned about your pay rate. You can see your pay level and band on your pay slip. The definition of each band is normally available in the award or agreement, which can be found online.
These terms are effectively all the same thing – teacher’s aides. We use the term teacher’s aide because that is the most common search term used by the general public.
The pay rate for teacher’s aides depends on a range of factors such as your state, whether you are employed to work in special needs or employed to work in mainstream. On average, teacher’s aides can expect a pay rate of $30 per hour and approximately $960 per week for someone working full time.
However, teacher’s aides generally only work 32 hours per week and have 11-12 weeks of school holidays where they are not expected to work or undertake any work-related tasks. Due to this, working as a teacher’s aide is a fantastic choice for individuals who are seeking family friendly hours, plenty of holidays and reasonable renumeration.
Adam Green is a former high school and primary school teacher. He is a member of the government’s Education Support Advisory Group and is completing a Doctor of Education program specialising in teaching strategies and behaviour management.
Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is general, may not be relevant to you, is not legal advice and no guarantee of accuracy is provided. Users should seek expert advice before relying on any information provided in this article.
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With more than 4000 graduates, FTTA is the go-to provider for teacher's aide courses. 1 in 2 students choose to study the CHC40213 Certificate IV in Education Support with FTTA.
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