Graduate Teaching Assistants

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About the Job

Assist faculty or other instructional staff in postsecondary institutions by performing teaching or teaching-related duties, such as teaching lower level courses, developing teaching materials, preparing and giving examinations, and grading examinations or papers. Graduate teaching assistants must be enrolled in a graduate school program. Graduate assistants who primarily perform non-teaching duties, such as research, should be reported in the occupational category related to the work performed.

It is also Called

  • Teaching Fellow
  • Teaching Assistant (TA)
  • Teacher Assistant
  • Research Assistant (RA)
  • Proctor
  • Instructor
  • Graduate Teaching Associate
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)
  • Graduate Student Instructor (GSI)
  • Graduate Student
View All

What They Do

  • Assist faculty members or staff with student conferences.
  • Provide instructors with assistance in the use of audiovisual equipment.
  • Arrange for supervisors to conduct teaching observations and provide feedback about teaching performance.
  • Attend lectures given by the supervising instructor.
  • Demonstrate use of laboratory equipment and enforce laboratory rules.
  • Provide assistance to faculty members or staff with laboratory or field research.
  • Complete laboratory projects prior to assigning them to students so that any needed modifications can be made.
  • Notify instructors of errors or problems with assignments.
  • Copy and distribute classroom materials.
  • Order or obtain materials needed for classes.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Achievement, but also value Support and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • 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.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).


In 2017, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $43,420 with most people making between $19,680 and $72,630


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 1,590 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 1,680 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 9 openings due to growth and about 31 replacement openings for approximately 40 total annual openings.

Pennsylvania Department of Education