Graduate Teaching Assistants are considered Conventional Careers, according to the Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment. The Strong Interest Inventory® is a powerful tool for helping people find careers that they will find fulfilling and that will allow them to use their strengths to their advantage. This Inventory categorizes careers into six theme codes, each of which has specific characteristics; for example, Conventional Careers centers around being highly focused and detail-oriented.

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Discover the Strong Interest Inventory® career as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Learn about this career in this data rich write-up including information such as income, daily tasks, required education and more.

Graduate Teaching Assistants assist faculty and other instructional staff in universities, colleges, and other institutes of higher education. They might teach lower-level courses independently, or might support professors in teaching graduate or doctoral courses, for instance by developing teaching materials, preparing and giving examinations, grading papers, and so on. Regardless of whether or not they are the primary instructor, Graduate Teaching Assistants may need to lead discussions, mentor or tutor students, meet with supervisors, schedule office hours, obtain materials for the classes for which they are responsible, write recommendation letters, and complete any additional tasks required, such as performing and revising laboratory activities as needed before presenting them to their classes. By definition, Graduate Teaching Assistants are enrolled in a graduate program, and so they may also be expected to conduct research or take over other responsibilities from their advisors.

The types of technology, tools, and software that Graduate Teaching Assistants varies widely, depending on the field and university. For example, those who are in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) should be familiar with SAS, SPSS, MATLAB, and other related software, while those in social sciences might instead use AtlasTI, Dedoose, InVivo, or other analysis software. However, regardless of the field, Graduate Teaching Assistants should be familiar with computer-based training software (e.g., Blackboard Learn), e-mail and web browsers, as well as Microsoft Office Suite and Google Suite. They should also be professionally fluent in English, be an expert in the content they are teaching, and must be able to express themselves clearly and concisely. Most Graduate Teaching Assistants hold a Bachelor’s Degree (57%), while a large minority (37%) hold a Master’s Degree. A small percent hold a Doctorate Degree, though this is not usual, as most instructors with Doctorate Degrees are professors.

The average salary of Graduate Teaching Assistants nationwide is $32,460 annually, though employees generally also receive a tuition reimbursement or waiver for their work. The highest paying state is Massachusetts, because of its concentration of prestigious universities. Graduate Teaching Assistants in that state earn an average salary over $55,000. On the other hand, in Georgia and much of the south, averages are less than half that. Nonetheless, over 168,000 Graduate Teaching Assistants are employed across the country, and that number is expected to grow by over 14,000 in the next several years.

Below are some employment trends for Graduate Teaching Assistants:

  • Median Salary: $32,460 annually
  • Employment: 168,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026): Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026): 14,400
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2016-2026 employment projections]

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    Strong Interest Inventory® Profile

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections