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TEACHER AIDE COURSE ONLINE: IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

Teacher Aide Course Online: Is it Right for me?


You can study a teacher aide course online from anywhere in Australia. An online course means that students access learning materials via our modern and easy to use portal. Students can watch watch lectures and videos, download reading materials and enjoy interactive learning activities. FTTA students can attend webinars, contact trainers as needed and even attend face to face tutorials. Studying a teacher aide course online is the most popular method of completing an education support courses in Australia.



About 8000 students graduate from nationally recognised teacher’s aide courses per year in Australia (NCVER 2018 dataslicer). That number is increasing year on year as is the number of people who choose to study a teacher aide course by enrolling 'online'. Why so many are choosing an online enrolment is easy to see: faster internet connections, better devices, wider acceptance of online learning as ‘normal’ and the flexibility that comes with studying a self-paced online course: study when you want as often or as little as you want.


The ability to study a teacher aide course online is most evident for busy parents who can study at a time that suits them; no longer do you need to take time off work or put kids into childcare so you can get an education. The average age of our students is 37 and most of them have very busy lives. The benefits that flow from this new and innovative method of teaching and learning cannot be understated.

Teacher aide sitting at desk learning with smile

Online study is becoming more and more popular as it allows a level of flexibility that simply doesn't exist with old-school classroom based courses.


We get hundreds of questions about our popular teacher aide courses and online or distance study each week. In response to this demand, our trainers have put together this detailed guide so you can make the best decision about whether studying a teacher aide course online is right for you.


1. Can a teacher’s aide course be studied online?

Almost all teacher’s aide courses can be studied online. However, this can depend on the training provider, government funding rules and other factors. For example, some providers offer courses online only whereas others are class based only. Speak to your chosen provider or check their website. The two main teacher’s aide courses that can be studied online are:

2. Is studying online the right choice for you?

Classroom of adults with trainer learning teaching skills

Class based learning is still popular particularly if you live near one of our class locations. FTTA class pictured.


Most students have no problems studying online. They can easily contact their trainer by phone, email or even attend live webinars or face to face tutorials as needed. However some may find online learning difficult and challenging. Students who are in high school, who have very little motivation, who simply need the weekly structure that comes from attending classes, or who are lacking confidence in their own abilities, may consider a class based enrolment. Generally speaking however, most students do well in our online teacher aide courses and we have a near 90% completion rate. While we would love for you to enrol today, there are several questions that you need to ask yourself first:

  • Is this the first time you have studied at this level?
  • Can you use a computer? Can you comfortably watch online videos for example?
  • Are you motivated enough to study at home on your own?
  • Do you need a flexible learning program due to your commitments or can you attend classes?
  • How well do you speak English? Have you been learning English for less than 3 years?
  • Does your preferred provider have a good reputation?
  • Does your provider offer support services such as face to face tutorials and visits while you are on placement?

Bear in mind that you can easily transfer to a different mode, depending on your provider. If you find that you are enrolled in a particular mode such as online, and it isn’t working for you, then speak with your trainer about alternative options. This may include attending more regular tutorials, weekly contact from your trainer or even a transfer to a class based course – this conversation could make the difference between finishing your course and withdrawing.


3. What does ‘online study’ mean exactly?

A good question! It is important to remember that ‘online’ is a broad term that can mean many different things. It often doesn’t mean that you sit in front of a computer for your entire teacher aide course and never speak to another human being. Studying a teacher aide course online simply means that you access a range of resources via a student portal (often called a Learning Management System). In addition, good providers will offer various services and resources as part of their program such as:

  • interactive webinars where students can ask questions and meet each other,
  • face to face tutorials or workshops in small groups (1-2 hours and up to a full day),
  • regular phone and email contact from their trainer,
  • short courses relevant to the qualification and your professional development, and
  • interactive online activities.

Also, don’t forget about the placement (discussed below) which is certainly NOT an online activity.


4. What is the (true) cost of studying online?

Some people ask whether studying a teacher aide course online is cheaper and in some cases it may actually be cheaper; some courses seem rediculously cheap in fact. However, enrolling with the cheapest provider may not be the cheapest overall – it may cost you even more in terms of time and money. You should also consider:

  • Are there additional costs involved?
  • Will studying online take more time? Being in class I can ask questions straight away.
  • Will studying online take me longer to finish?
  • Am I comfortable with the provider?
  • Does my provider have a good reputation?
  • Will my provider visit you on placement?
  • Do I have access to my trainers to ask questions? Can I email, phone or meet them face to face?
older trainer smiling and teaching new students

Having a supportive trainer is essential – make sure you can meet with your trainer, attend tutorials etc.


5. Is studying an online teacher aide course hard?

It depends on your provider and on the individual student, their experience, abilities and dedication. For some students, studying a teacher aide course online is much harder but it is the only way that they can study due to time issues and their location. Other students find studying online easy and flexible.


In many cases, ‘harder’ is probably not quite the right word – online can be ‘longer’ in some cases. One reason is that students who attend class can ask questions 'then and there' if they are stuck, and trainers tend to give specific due dates and expect submissions on those dates (which is more motivating for many students).


For the majority of students, studying a teacher aide course online if perfectly okay provided the student has access to a supportive trainer and high-quality resources such as webinars and learner guides written by their trainers (or other industry experts) that are practical and easy to follow.


6. Do I need to be good at using computers to study a teacher aide course online?

Asian female at computer studying

Studying online no longer requires a high level of IT skills.


You will need to have some IT skills to study online. You will need to watch videos, log in to the portal, use a Word document and so forth. If you can use Facebook, you can study a teacher aide course online that is for sure! Some of the common activities that you will undertake(with FTTA's online courses at least) include:


  • opening and reading PDFs,
  • watching videos online,
  • logging into a portal and navigating the portal,
  • using a word document (Microsoft Word for example),
  • sending and receiving emails, and
  • searching on Google and finding information.

If you can do these things, you probably have enough computer skills to enrol in an online course.


Hint: If you think you might struggle with the IT side of things but still want to enrol in a teacher’s aide course online, consider asking someone in your household or a friend to help you if your get stuck. Once you get started on your course, most of the topics are similar in terms of the technological requirements and procedures so you will most likely only need their early in your course.


7. Can I study a teacher aide course online and work full-time?

Yes! In fact, many students do this. It is the reason why online mode has become so popular – so students don’t need to forgo income in order to study. Many students simply can’t afford to give up work and study full-time.


However, it may be the case that taking some time off work, where possible, would be beneficial. Remember that it is important to commit to your course. Bear in mind the reason why you enrolled in the first place – to improve and build your future. Importantly, the placement will require you to take time off work. You will need to be available at least one school day per week or for a block of time to complete the 100-hours. When exactly this happens is generally by negotiation between you and your school (many take annual leave).


The average age of our students is 37 and many of them have work commitments, particularly part-time or casual, however some do work full-time. People come from all walks of life – many looking for a complete change. Studying online is great for almost everyone. If in doubt, we recommend speaking to one of FTTA's friendly student advisers.


8. Are there any free online teacher aide courses?

Government funding in most states, if available, normally require students to pay fees (the co-contribution fee in QLD for example) and the government pays the remainder. There are some exceptions such as for high school graduates in QLD where the government picks up the tab completely.


In some cases, such as FTTA’s government funded courses in Queensland, you can enrol from $50 for concession and while not free, is very affordable.


Also bear in mind other relevant considerations (if enrolling elsewhere):

  • Do you need to purchase textbooks or pay other fees?
  • Do you need to pay unit by unit fees or assessment fees?
  • Does the course require you to attend classes? This means that you need to pay for parking, petrol, child care, forgo wages from work or other opportunity costs like loss of family time?
  • What is the completion rate of the provider for their online teacher aide course and how many students do they have? While your course fee may be small, you may also be throwing the whole amount down the drain if you don’t graduate (or don't learn anything).
  • If the course takes longer then you are forgoing potential earnings. This means that you are in sitting in class or on a computer ‘studying’ instead of being in the workplace with your certificate and earning real money. This is the biggest issue that students find with cheaper courses.

9. Is studying online popular?

Young white female studying course via laptop in living room

Studying a teacher aide course online is now the most popular way to earn a qualification.


More than half of all students study teacher aide courses with an online approach. In fact, some providers don’t even offer class-based options anymore including some TAFEs. As time goes by, more and more are choosing to study the teacher aide course online or at the least, look for a course that is flexible, mixed-mode or ‘blended’. This means that the course developers have planned for some class-based attendance in combination with online or home-based study. Regardless of mode, all teacher aide courses require a 100-hour placement.


Online is a broad term that has come to mean many different things. Like anything in this day and age, there are varying degrees of quality, differnet types, methods and approaches. When a students enrols in an 'online' teacher aide course that doesn’t mean they hibernate and isolate in front of a computer for months on end. These days, a high quality online course involves lots of contact with trainers and quite often other students particularly via technologies such as webinar platforms.


10. Are there additional entry requirements for online teacher aide courses?

It is important that you don’t enrol in an online teacher aide course if it isn’t suitable for you. Some students may be better suited to being in class (especially younger students with no experience with children). Sometimes an RTO (Registered Training Organisation) will recommend students attend class if they believe that online study is not suitable for whatever reason.


Generally, the provider will want to know that you are a suitable candidate for online study to prevent you from potentially failing. You may need to complete an interview (phone or face-to-face). This is important as your provider will give you advice on what is best for you – they may suggest that you attend classes or keep in more regular contact with your trainer.


11. Can I study a teacher’s aide course online from anywhere in Australia?

FTTA accept enrolments from most locations in Australia. Speak with an FTTA student advisor if you live in a very remote area.


12. Are government funded teacher’s aide courses available online?

Funding is currently available for government funded courses with FTTA in Queensland.


13. Do online students still need to do a work placement in a school?

work placement assessment by older female teacher

We recommend enrolling with a provider that visits you in the workplace. This is essential for your professional development and employability.


Yes! Every student enrolled in a nationally recognised teacher aide qualification is required to complete a placement in a school. This means logging 100-hours in a registered school such as a primary school and is the minimum required number of hours set down by the government.


It is very important that you ensure that the provider who you enrol with (or are considering enrolling with) intends on visiting you in the workplace. This means that your trainer visits you while you are on work placement. There are several reasons why this is essential:

  • The trainers will give you important advice after observing you – this is key because you may have glaring issues with your practice that can easily be fixed – improving your skills quickly and easily.
  • If there are issues, which does happen, you will need the trainer to visit the school to help resolve issues quickly and efficiently.

teacher aide in red shirt helps child with blocks and toys

14. What is the difference between online and class based teacher aide courses?

This is also a very common question. A similar question is whether class students do the same thing as online students. Both class students and online students do the same activities and assessments for the most part:

  • Assessments are the same
  • Learning materials are the same
  • Trainer support and availability is the same
  • Time to complete or duration is often the same
  • Class lectures are the same (except you will listen/watch them from home)

The only difference, which seems obvious, is that if you enrol in online mode, you probably won’t be attending as much on campus. I said ‘as much’ for good reason – a lot of online students still go to some classes, regular tutorials and may ask for one-on-one meetings with the trainer if they are having issues. Because support (from good providers at least) includes all of these options, the difference between online and class-based isn’t as black and white as it used to be.


Summary

If you are thinking about enrolling in a teacher’s aide course online, there are a few key questions you need to first ask. Firstly, is online suitable for you and will you be successful in that mode? Secondly, does the provider offer support and good quality resources for online students such as webinars, tutorials and trainers that you feel comfortable with – after all you will spend A LOT of time over the next 6-12 months on your course, including communicating with the provider and their trainers.


Finally, work out the true cost of studying online – the cheapest is quite often not the cheapest overall. It is best to speak with your provider and ask them as many questions as you can. Don’t settle for second best – your education is important, and it could be a life-changing experience that transforms your lifestyle, your income, your self-esteem, your confidence and finally your career. Investing in your own education is the best thing that you can do for your future and your family’s future.


About the author

Image of the managing director of FTTA.

ADAM GREEN

Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of FTTA, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.

Source: Teaching Skills and Strategies for the Modern Classroom: 100+ research-based strategies for both novice and experienced practitioners. Amazon #1 best seller in the category of Classroom Management.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to check his article for accuracy, information may be outdated, inaccurate or not relevant to you and your location/employer/contract. It is not intended as legal or professional advice. Users should seek expert advice such as by contacting the relevant education department, should make their own enquiries, and should not rely on any of the information provided.

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Maximise your job prospects and skills with the highest level teacher aide course.

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TEACHER AIDE COMBO

A streamlined program saving you time and money

Turbo charge your resume and save $1500 with our most popular teacher aide course.

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SAMPLE RESOURCES

Sample course resources and materials

View resources and materials from our research-based, best practice teacher aide courses.

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