Children typically refer to teacher assistants and Ed Techs (educational technicians) as teachers, leading parents to assume that anyone who works with their child when he is in school is a teacher. To complicate matters, the media often portrays support staff as teachers. This simply isn’t the case. Ed Techs are not teachers. They do not have the education and training required to be a certified teacher, and cannot perform the same services.
So What is an Ed Tech?
Ed Tech stands for educational technician. Although the title may sound like it requires extensive training or requires specialized skills, this is a case where technician does not refer to anything technical and does not denote specialized knowledge. Ed Tech authorizations require different educational achievement depending on the level.
Ed Tech I authorization requires a high school diploma, Ed tech II requires 60 college credits in a related field and Ed tech III requires 90 credits in a related field. College does not need to be in the educational field. School districts may impose their own policies requiring experience in a similar field, but they are not required to do so.
Are Ed Tech’s Trained?
Most receive on-the-job training and may participate in workshops or seminars to learn skills required for the job. These workshops provide a general overview of information, but do not require the Ed Tech to demonstrate mastery of the skills. Some states offer classes for Ed Techs and require them to pass a test to gain Ed Tech authorization. The test assesses general knowledge and is not a substitute for teacher training.
Do Ed Techs Have Background Checks?
Yes, Ed Tech’s are required to have a criminal background check in order to maintain their authorization as an Ed Tech and retain their job.
Why Do Schools Hire Ed Techs?
Schools hire Ed Techs to provide support for students who need additional services to succeed in the classroom. This is often part of the student’s IEP. Some Ed Techs provide general assistance in large classrooms to allow the teacher to concentrate on teaching instead of behavior management. It is less expensive to hire Ed Techs than to hire additional teachers.
So What Does an Ed Tech Do?
Ed tech’s support teachers in the classroom. They may assist in monitoring behavior, help children complete their work or provide support and tutoring to students after the teacher has provided initial instruction. According to the certification department in the State of Maine, Ed Tech I and II must work in the same room as a certified teacher. Ed Tech III can be in a separate room, but must work under the direction of a certified teacher.
How Much do Ed Tech’s Earn?
Ed Tech’s are hourly employees. Their wage is set by the school in which they work. They do not receive a salary like teacher’s do. Ed Tech’s typically do not get paid during vacations or summer break.
The next time your child tells you what his teacher instructed him to do, or you hear a news report about a teacher, don’t assume they are referring to a certified teacher. If you have any concerns or doubts, double check the facts before assuming you understand who they are really talking about.
Maine Department of Education
Bureau of Labor Statistics