Once a paraeducator has completed the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS), the paraeducator may begin training to attain the General Paraeducator Certificate (GPC)*.
The GPC is a credential earned by a paraeducator who completes an additional 70 clock hours of professional development training within three years after completing the FCS. It is the responsibility of the school district to ensure all employed paraeducators meet the requirements of the certificate.
* School districts must provide training to meet the General Paraeducator Certificate only in school years for which state funding is explicitly appropriated for this certificate and just for the number of days that are funded by the appropriation.
“Embedding” the subject matter certificates
Paraeducators who complete an ELL or Special Education Subject Matter Certificate may use (“embed”) the completed hours towards the attainment of the GPC.
For example, if a paraeducator completes the ELL Subject Matter Certificate, which is 20 hours of training, he or she may also allocate those hours towards the GPC. In doing so, instead of 70 hours a paraeducator will have to complete 50 hours of training to meet the GPC.
If a paraeducator completes both Subject Matter Certificates (a total of 20 hours), he or she may allocate both certificates towards the GPC. In doing so, a paraeducator will only have to complete an additional 30 hours of training to meet the GPC.
Embedding the certificates is an excellent opportunity to meet the required hours and receive focused training in a subject area. Certificate embedding can only be used to fulfill the GPC, and cannot be used to achieve the Advanced Paraeducator Certificate.