Federal Education Law — Paraeducators Must Be Highly Qualified
If you plan to work as a paraeducator in a school that operates a Title I, Part A schoolwide or targeted assistance program, you must meet the highly qualified requirements — before hire.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act ǀ
Section 1119 (c) through (l)
Basic Education Qualifications
All paraeducators must have the first, essential credential —a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development). With this credential in place, there are two educational pathways and one evaluation option a potential paraeducator can take to meet federal requirements.
- Two years of study at an institution of higher education. The institution you choose must meet five criteria of the Higher Education Act, Section 101(a). All classes must be at level 100 or higher.
- Associate degree or higher. All associate degrees are acceptable.
- Pass the ETS ParaPro Assessment. The assessment measures skills, and content knowledge related to reading, writing and math. Contact ETS 800-772-9476 or visit
ETS ParaPro Assessment.
Qualifications Vary By District
Be aware that districts can require more education or higher credentials. Contact
district staff where you plan to work and find out what requirements you must meet. Many districts require all paraeducators to meet Title I, Part A requirements because of the flexibility it affords as they assign paraeducators to different duties.
Special Education — Additional Requirements for Paraeducators
Paraeducators must meet the 14 competencies — knowledge and skills — necessary to support students with disabilities consistent with
WAC 392-172A-02090 (1) (f). In Title I, Part A schools, paraeducators, who work in a special education programs, must meet the
core competencies for special education and the requirements of Title I, Part A, ESEA
Section 1119 (c) through (f).