Paraeducator Certificate Program

Paraeducator Certificate Program 

A little 2017, the Washington legislature created the Paraeducator Board and tasked members to establish, develop and implement paraeducator minimum employment standards and the certificate program.  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 Current paraeducators (hired before September 1, 2019) must have completed the 28 hour Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) training program by September 1, 2021. 

    • Paraeducators employed new for the 2020-2021 school year must complete 14 hours of the Fundamental Course of Study by September 1, 2021 and be fully trained (28 hours) on the Fundamental Course of Study by September 1, 2022.

    • Paraeducators employed new for the 2021-2022 school year must complete 14 hours of the Fundamental Course of Study by September 1, 2022 and be fully trained (28 hours) on the Fundamental Course of Study by September 1, 2023.

    • Paraeducators employed new for the 2023-2024 school year must complete the full 28-hour Fundamental Course of Study program by September 1, 2024 per ESSB 5693 as approved by the Legislature in their 2022 session.


Forms, Links & Additional Resources

MVSD Additional Pay Form

Paraeducators: What We Do Matters Journal

Click here to learn about the Apprenticeship Program

Tools for Success: A Paraeducator's Guide to Special Education Support

Website: Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB)



General Paraeducator Certificate (GPC) Additional Information and Resources


The GENERAL Paraeducator Certificate [GPC] is the only required certificate, if funded, in the Paraeducator Certificate Program. To earn this certificate a paraeducator must complete an additional 70 clock hours of training**. The district is responsible for ensuring all employed paraeducators meet the requirements of the certificate.


NOTE! If you hold a valid education certificate (Teacher, CTE, First People's Language/Culture, Educational Staff Associate (ESA) or Administrator), you do NOT need to complete the General Ed or Subject Matter Certificate programs--you are considered to have met the requirement for 70 continuing education credit hours.

If you hold a limited certificate (such as conditional, emergency substitute, intern substitute teacher, transitional or substitute), you DO need to complete the General Ed certificate program (and Subject Matter Certificate program, if interested).

While working on your GPC, you may, as an option, also choose to work on the Subject Matter Certificates (ELL and / or SpEd). Each course - ELL or SpEd - is a 20 hour course and count towards the General Certificate. These are optional courses.

How to Attain:

Training to meet the requirements of the GPC is broadly conceived: any training that will assist the instructional practice of a paraeducator may count towards the completion of this certificate.

  • A great source of training might be training which is already provided to teachers. You are welcome and encouraged to attend MVSD offered trainings which offer clock hours. Please let your building principal know if you would like to participate. Note! Any credits or clock hours completed after July 1, 2019 may be applied to the General Certificate (Right Response training, college credits, etc--check the pdEnroller website for course completion documentation.)

      • 1 Qtr credit=10 clock hours

      • 1 Semester credit=15 clock hours


  • If you choose to take courses outside of the district, please refer to OSPI's approved clock hour provider list. All clock hour eligibility courses must be through an approved clock hour provider and requires the employee complete the evaluation form for course credit.

  • If you attend a district training, you must register for the course through pdEnroller. Be sure to sign in each time you attend and fill out the online survey (evaluation) form at the conclusion of the course. Once you have submitted the evaluation, you can download the Clock Hour form for that course in pdEnroller.
    * Send a copy of the Clock Hour form (titled "Transcript") to the Human Resources office for your personnel/training file. Retain the ORIGINAL. If your pdEnroller account is linked to EDS/eCert, the clock hours will automatically upload to your account. If you have not set up an ESD/eCert account, that you must enter the information manually.

  • If you are interested in completing one or both of the Subject Matter courses, please select the tab under HOME (above/right) to access the links to the online training program. This training program is self-paced and free. The Canvas training platform modules are time-driven and each Subject Matter Certificate training should take 20 hours to complete--if you rush/skip through, you will only receive credit for the time you spent in the program.


  • Paraeducators can also use Professional Growth Plans (PGPs) to earn or renew certain certificates. PGPs are job-embedded, self-directed professional development. To complete a PGP, the paraeducator will set their own goals, align them to the paraeducator standards of practice, design an action plan and collect evidence documenting their growth towards achieving their goals. Paraeducators then reflect on the process. There is no cost for a paraeducator to complete a PGP. Only one PGP may be completed to help meet the requirements of the General Certificate. Learn more about PGPs here.


Once the 70 General Certificate hours have been earned, the following fees will be assessed when a paraeducator applies for a certificate in EDS/E-Cert -- do not apply for the certificate until you complete the required hours. (The certificate processing fee is the responsibility of the paraeducator and not the district.)

    • General Paraeducator Certificate - 70 clock hours (lifetime) $74

    • ELL Subject Matter Certificate - 20 clock hours (valid for 5 yrs) $54

    • Special Education Subject Matter Certificate - 20 clock hours (valid for 5 yrs) $54

    • Advanced Paraeducator Certificate (Optional) - earned after General Certificate/additional 75 clock hours (valid for 5 yrs) $54