The Paraeducator Board created this page as a resource for district leaders and other stakeholders who are implementing the paraeducator professional development program. Unless otherwise marked as required, please use this information as guidance.
NOTE: Information on this page is actively being updated with new information. Please check back routinely for the most up to date and accurate guidelines. Last update: November 27, 2018
If you have any questions regarding program implementation, please contact Jack Busbee (email@example.com), Program Manager, Paraeducator Board.
Districts are required to:
- Make sure all of their paraeducators meet minimum employment requirements by effective dates; and
- Provide training on the Fundamental Course of Study and the General Paraeducator Certificate to their paraeducators, beginning school year 2019-20, if funded by the Legislature.
The Paraeducator Board will learn if funding is allocated during the upcoming Legislative session. The Board will release a bulletin to inform stakeholders of the decision.
Source: HB 1115 and SB 6388
Minimum employment requirements
All paraeducators must meet the following minimum employment requirements by school year 2019-20:
A paraeducator must:
Be at least eighteen years of age and hold a high school diploma or its equivalent (for more detailed information on what is considered equivalent, please read our flyer (document); and
In addition, a paraeducator must meet one or more of the following:
- Have received a qualifying score on the Education Testing Service paraeducator assessment as published by PESB (resources to help you prepare for the ETS ParaPro); or
- Hold an associate degree or higher from an accredited college or university; or
- Have earned seventy-two quarter credits or forty-eight semester credits at the one hundred level or higher at an accredited college or university; or
- Have completed an apprenticeship as a paraeducator, in a program registered with the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council.
For more detailed information, please visit the minimum employment requirements page.
Paraeducator professional development
PLEASE NOTE: unless you are a member of the pilot program, training to meet the requirements of the Fundamental Course of Study or any of the certificates listed below, cannot begin until school year 2019-20. Any training completed before this school year will not count towards the certificate program training.
The Paraeducator Professional Development Program is comprised of the following components (please follow the links for more information on each component):
- The Fundamental Course of Study is the core, and first, training that all paraeducators must receive (experienced and new hires).
- Comprising of 28 hours of training on the newly created state paraeducator standards of practice. Please follow the link to find a course outline, which includes learning objectives.
- The paraeducator may begin training to attain the General Paraeducator Certificate after completing the Fundamental Course of Study.
- An additional 70 hours of training. The aim of this certificate is for the district to provide to the paraeducator training that will assist the educator in their role.
- A paraeducator may attain the ELL Subject Matter Certificate or Special Education Subject Matter Certificate once they have completed the Fundamental Course of Study.
- Each certificate is 20 hours of training. Please follow the links to find course outlines, which include learning objectives for each certificate.
- A paraeducator may attain the Advanced Paraeducator Certificate once they have attained the General Paraeducator Certificate.
- An additional 75 hours of training.
A paraeducator is required to complete the Fundamental Course of Study first. Once done, the General and Subject Matter Certificates are available to the paraeducator to complete. If funded by the Legislature, the Fundamental Course of Study and General Paraeducator Certificate are required training that the district must provide to their paraeducators.
Paraeducators who attain one or both Subject Matter Certificates may deduct these training hours from the General Paraeducator Certificate. As example, after completing the Fundamental Course of Study, a paraeducator decides to complete training to attain the ELL Subject Matter Certificate. In attaining this certificate, the paraeducator can deduct the hours to attain the certificate (20 hours) from the General Paraeducator Certificate. The paraeducator must now complete 50 hours of training to meet the General Paraeducator Certificate. If the paraeducator then completes the Special Education Subject Matter Certificate, the paraeducator will only have to complete 30 hours of training to meet the General Paraeducator Certificate.
Online learning resources
The state of Washington has and is creating several online learning tools to assist stakeholders in the training of paraeducators. What follows are three online courses that are free to access. Each listing includes the number of clock hours that completing the course will provide:
- Paraeducators: what we do matters
- An online course to meet 12 of the 28 hours of required Fundamental Course of Study training.
- ELL Subject Matter Certificate (under development)
- An online course to meet the 20 hours of training to attain the ELL Subject Matter Certificate.
- Special Education Subject Matter Certificate (under development)
- An online course to meet the 20 hours of training to attain the Special Education Subject Matter Certificate.
Implementation efforts thus far
During school year 2018-19, the Paraeducator Board is administering the paraeducator pilot program. Six grantees (four school districts and two ESDs) are piloting the Fundamental Course of Study and a chosen paraeducator certificate. Please visit our online page for more information on the pilot program.
In January 2019, the Paraeducator Board will publish a midterm report on the pilot program. Highlights of the report will include implementation strengths and challenges, and lessons learned for statewide implementation.
A final report will be published in November 2019.
Other available resources
In addition to the online courses listed above, the state of Washington created the following online courses. These courses are not a part, or a requirement, of the paraeducator certificate program, but the professional development is regarding paraeducators. Teachers and administrators who complete the training may earn clock hours. For more information, please contact Kim Bahremburg (Kim.Bahrenburg@k12.wa.us).
- Teachers Working with Paraeducators
- This course is designed to provide teachers with strategies for collaborating with paraeducators and for developing an effective working partnership.
- Principals and Administrators Working with Paraeducators
- This course is designed to equip school leaders with the skills necessary to successfully hire and onboard paraeducators.