AA Degree for Paraeducators
are an integral part of the learning and teaching team. Under the supervision of the teachers, paraeducators assist with multiple levels of support in schools. Washington State has two distinct efforts to provide assistance for paraeducators.
YVC Paraeducator Degree
Paraeducators, teacher assistants, and paraprofessionals are an integral part of the learning and teaching team. Under the supervision of the teachers, paraeducators assist with multiple levels of support in schools. Washington State has two distinct efforts to provide assistance for paraeducators. The law states in Section 1119(g) that all paraprofessionals who are performing instructional duties and are funded with Title I funds, including all paraprofessionals performing instructional duties in a schoolwide building, must meet specific requirements.
These requirements are: Paraprofessionals must currently have a secondary school (high school) diploma or its recognized equivalent and a Paraprofessionals can complete at least two years of study at an institution of higher education or obtain an associate’s (or higher) degree. The AAS-ECE for Paraeducator will fulfill this requirement. Students are encouraged contact the school district(s) to learn specific job qualifications and requirements.
The AAS for Paraeducators is designed to provide specific professional-technical career development. AAS-ECE is a terminal degree, and is not meant to directly transfer to a 4-year college or university. If you are seeking a transferable degree, please consult your advisor.
What are the requirements to be a paraeducator?
Depending on your district and/or position, the answer could be both. The Title I, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Paraeducator Requirements apply to paraeducators funded out of Title I or are working in a Title I school-wide. The Paraeducator Competencies apply to paraeducators who are funded out of Special Education. It is the district’s decision to decide if all paraeducators must meet one or both of the requirements.
More Information and Resources can be found at: Paraeducator in Washington State or at OSPI.
Office of Superintendent of Public School Instruction (OSPI)
OSPI guidelines provide options and pathways for paraeducators to meet the federal requirements of demonstrating content knowledge and skills needed to assist in reading, writing, and mathematics instruction.
OSPI has current resources and complete manual located on their website: Complete Manual
Transfer Degrees for Paraeducators and Routes to Alternate Certification
Alternative route programs operating Route 1 enroll currently employed classified instructional employees (paraprofessionals) with transferable associate degrees seeking residency teacher certification with endorsements in special education, bilingual education, English Language Learner or other subject matter shortage areas.
Candidates enrolled in Route 1 will complete both their baccalaureate degree and requirements for residency certification in two years or less, including a mentored internship to be completed in the final year.
At-a-Glance Title I, Part A Paraeducator Options and Pathways
Alternative Route 1 programs uphold entry requirements for candidates that include:
- District or building validation of qualifications, including one year of successful student interaction and leadership as a classified instructional employee;
- Successful passage of the WEST-B statewide basic skills exam, and,
- Meeting the age, good moral character, and personal fitness requirements adopted by rule for teachers.
- As of January 2014, the edTPA became consequential for all preservice candidates completing an approved Washington teacher preparation program. (RCW 28A.410.280)
For more information on Alternative Pathways for Paraeducators to become Certified WA State teachers:
Visit Professional Education Standards Board at PESB Alternative Route
Resources for Paraeducators
Organizations that Support Paraeducators
AFT PSRP (Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel)
The Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) division of the American Federation of Teachers represents more than 360,000 school support staff in K-12 districts, colleges and universities throughout the country.
Alternative Routes to Certification (Washington State)
Alternative pathways for paraeducators to become teachers in high need areas such as special education, science, math and ELL.
Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education (COPSSE)
A partnership between the University of Florida (UF) and Johns Hopkins University (JHU)—uses insights from research to address special education personnel issues.
National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals (NRCP)
The National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals provides information and community resources to serve paraeducators, teachers, policymakers and administrators.
Paraeducator.com is a way to provide high quality training and regularly updated information and services to paraeducators and the teachers with whom they work.
Study of Personnel Needs in Special Education (SPeNSE)
SPeNSE was designed to address concerns about nationwide shortages in the number of personnel serving students with disabilities and the need for improvement in the qualifications of those employed.
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (US Department of Education)
NCLB Act of 2001 is designed to increase accountability of students in schools, and to ensure that they are getting proper education.
- Let’s Team Up: A Checklist for Paraeducators, Teachers and Principals, Kent Gerlach, 5th Edition, National Education Association of the United States, 2007
- A Teacher’s Guide to Working with Paraeducators and Other Classroom Aides, Jill Morgan, Betty Y Ashbaker, 2001
- Supervising Paraeducators in Educational Settings: A Team Approach, Anna Lou Pickett and Kent Gerlach, 2nd Edition, Pro-Ed, 2003