The Paraeducator Certificate Program is a required two-part training provided to all paraeducators in Washington State with three optional certificates. This webpage will serve as a place to share information and updates about the certificate program.
Step 1- Am I required to do this training?
Step 2- Fundamental Course of Study (FCS)
Step 3- General Certificate
Step 4- Subject Matter Certification (OPTIONAL)
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to go through the training if I hold a bachelor's degree or higher?
For the Fundamental Course of Study - ALL K-12 paraeducators must complete the 28-hour course regardless of certification or education.
For the General Certificate - 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. If you only 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. All other K-12 paraeducators must complete the General Certificate within 5 years of obtaining the FCS.
If I am hired from another school district, will my training hours transfer?
Yes, completion will be tracked in the EDS/eCert system; completed courses and certificates will transfer with the employee.
Are training requirements different if I work less hours than a colleague?
No, the training is required for all K-12 paraeducators regardless of work hours per day.
Will there be any tests?
No tests will be given. Paraeducators need to attend the training to receive the clock hour credit. If you take college courses to count towards the General Certificate, there may be tests.
How do I complete the online training if I don't have a computer at home?
You may be able to access and/or check-out a Chromebook from your school. Check with your building administrator.
How is my progress tracked?The FCS completion is tracked by the district office. Please submit your Paraeducator FCS Outline form to the district office at the end of each month. When you have completed all the modules and the required in-person training (for those starting in 2022-23), you need to fill out the FCS clock hour form and enter it into the EDS system (see the FCS section and/or the Forms section). Submit your original copy to the district office.
Clock hours or credits that apply to the General Certificate must be provided by an approved clock hour provider. For courses in the District, the paraeducator must sign up for the course in ProDev, ensure you document attendance, and complete the evaluation. Following training completion, the paraeducator will need to input the completed clock hours/credits in the e-Cert system (see the forms section for the e-Cert instructions).
What does this cost?
There is no cost for the FCS.
When do I complete the FCS and General Certificate?
Paraeducators may complete the training modules during their contracted/paid time on early release Wednesdays or conference days as scheduled on the district calendar.
Frequently Asked Questions - General Certificate
How do I enter college credits towards the General Certificate?
Any college credits (100 level or higher) taken on/after July 1, 2019 can be used towards their general certificate. Paraeducators must enter their credits into the e-Cert system similar to entering clock hours and should maintain transcripts showing credits earned.
Does the General Certificate expire?
No. Once a paraeducator completes their General Certificate, it is valid for life.
What if I resign my position to work in another school district before I complete the program?
It is the responsibility of the paraeducator (with the help of the school district) to track and record training completions in their e-cert account--if recorded in e-cert, the training will follow the paraeducator.
Frequently Asked Questions - Subject Matter Certificates
What are the Subject Matter Certificates?
Subject matter certificates are for paraeducators who wish to further their skills in English Language Learner (ELL) or special education instruction. These certificates are optional and are not requirements.
To earn a subject matter certificate, a paraeducator must complete 20 hours of professional development in the subject area of the certificate (See forms and links). The certificate expires after five years, and it is not a prerequisite to work in any program. A paraeducator can only earn a subject matter certificate if they have completed their FCS training. A paraeducator may allocate completed subject matter certificate hours towards their general certificate hours.
The subject matter certificates have specific standards, learning objectives, and course outlines that must be met to receive the certificate.
Do Subject Matter certificate completions count towards the General Certificate?
Yes! Each Subject Matter Certificate equals 20 hours of training and counts towards the 70 hour requirement for the General Certificate. The paraeducator will then only have to complete 50 hours of training for the General Certificate. If the paraeducators completes both Subject Matter Certificate programs (ELL and Special Education - a value of 40 hours), they will only need to complete 30 hours of training for the General Certificate.
Embedding the certificates is an excellent opportunity to meet the required hours AND receive focused training in a subject area. Note! Each course is 20 hours -- the modules are time-driven. If you rush/skip through, you will only receive credit for the time you spent in the program.
Is there a cost associated with the Subject Matter Certificate?
The courses are FREE. To get the actual certificate, there is a $54 fee for each certificate ($108 if you complete both); once the hours have been earned, the fee is assessed through the EDS/e-Cert account when the paraeducator applies for a certificate. Subject Matter Certificate fees will not be reimbursed by the District.
Note-- If you complete the training for the subject matter certificates, you do not need to get the certificate. The hours will still apply to the General Certificate.
Are there different documentation requirements for the Subject Matter Certificates?
The clock hours are documented just like other clock hours for the General Certificate. If you would like the actual certificate, you apply through e-Cert.
Do Subject Matter certificates expire?
Yes - they are valid for 5 years; the application for renewal must be submitted during the last year of the currently valid certificate. Expired certificates may be renewed with completion of 20 clock hours within the previous five years from the date of the renewal application.
Forms & Links
- FCS clock hour form.pdf (FCS)
- E-Cert Instructions
- E-Cert Login page
- FCS Canvas Login
- Special Education and ELL clock hour courses (Subject Matter Certificate Program)
- Professional Educator Standards Board (info about training requirements)