Washington is heavily invested in ensuring that all instructional paraeducators receive training to support our most diverse and vulnerable student populations. In 2017, the Washington Legislature created the nation’s first ever Paraeducator Board, and tasked members to establish, develop and implement paraeducator minimum employment standards and the certificate program.
What are the new minimum employment requirements?
All paraeducators must meet the following minimum employment requirements by school year 2019-20:
- Be at least eighteen years of age and hold a high school diploma or its equivalent; 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; 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.
What is the paraeducator certificate program?
“Paraeducators have been wanting training for a long time. This program will better equip us with the tools we need to serve students and support teachers.”
– Tiffany and Raquel, Yakima Valley paraeducators
The certificate program offers statewide standards-based training for all paraeducators, and supports a career growth ladder for those who wish to pursue a teaching profession. All experienced and newly hired paraeducators will complete a four day (28 hours) Fundamental Course of Study during the 2019-20 school year. Once this training is met, paraeducators will then be required to complete an additional 70 hours of professional development within three years.
Will paraeducators be compensated for trainings?
Yes. All paraeducator training is to be provided during bargained professional development time. They will not be expected to take this training on their own, unpaid time.
What certificates will be offered?
Fundamental Course of Study (FCS)
- This is the first training you must receive (experienced and new hires). The training takes 28 hours to complete, and teaches the newly created standards of practice. Learn more about this course.
- Once you have completed the Fundamental Course of Study, you may begin training to receive the General Certificate. This certificate is an additional 70 hours of training which must obtained within three years of completing the FCS. Learn more about this certificate.
Subject Matter Certificates
- You can obtain the ELL Subject Matter Certificate or Special Education Subject Matter Certificate once you have completed the Fundamental Course of Study. Each certificate is 20 hours of training. Learn more about these certificates.
Advanced Paraeducator Certificate
- A paraeducator can obtain the Advanced Paraeducator Certificate once they have completed the General Paraeducator Certificate. This certificate is an additional 75 hours of training. Learn more about this certificate.
Are there grants or scholarships available for paraeducators?
The pipeline for paraeducator conditional loan scholarship (parapipeline program) provides financial support to seasoned paraeducators looking to obtain an Associate of Arts degree in order to pursue residency teacher certification.