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Instructional Paraeducator Minimum Employment Requirements

Paraeducator Certificate Program Components

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Paraeducator Certificate Program?
The State of Washington requires all paraeducators to meet minimum requirements for employment, the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS), and the General Certificate. Additional, optional certificates will also be available under this program and will be applied towards the General Certificate.


What paraeducator certificates are available?

  • General Paraeducator Certificate – Requires completion of Para FCS and 70 additional clock hours. 
  • Sped Subject Matter Certificate (optional) – Requires completion of Para FCS and online subject matter course. This course is 20 clock hours. 
  • ELL Subject Matter Certificate (optional) – Requires completion of Para FCS and online subject matter course. This course is 20 clock hours. 
  • Advanced Paraeducator Certificate – Requires General Paraeducator Certificate and an additional 75 clock hours.

Click here for information from OSPI on the Certificate Types. 


Where do I begin to get my paraeducator certificate(s)?

  • Step 1 – Completion of the Para FCS is required, and is a prerequisite for all paraeducator certificates. If you have completed the Para FCS, complete the OSPI FCS Clock Hour Form. This form requires a signature from HR, contact Kari Lucey for assistance. 
  • Step 2 – Create an e-certification profile in OSPI EDS. If you need assistance, click here for information from OSPI for first time users
  • Step 3 – Complete training to obtain clock hours. The general paraeducator certificate requires 70 clock hours. The subject matter courses for ELL and Special Education are a great way to earn clock hours. 
  • Step 4 – Apply for each certificate through e-certification. You will need to upload clock hour forms and enter all clock hours in your EDS profile before you can apply. 

If you need assistance with any of these steps contact Kari Lucey, 


What is the FCS?
The Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) is the initial 28 hours of training required for all instructional paraeducators. These hours are similar to graduation requirements - there is an overall requirement of 28 hours and those hours are aligned to specific standards comprising 12 units.


What is a clock hour?
Clock hours are individual hours of professional training. They must be preapproved and are issued by an Approved Clock Hour Provider. The University Place School District is an approved clock hour provider.


Where can I get information on how to complete the optional Subject Matter Certificates?
There are two online courses offered (20 hours each) for paraeducators to earn the optional Subject Matter Certificates for Sped and ELL. Click here to access these online courses. The clock hours you earn from these courses can be used towards your General Paraeducator Certificate. 


What RCW and WAC is associated with this program?
Chapter 28A.413 RCW and WAC 179 are the relevant laws and rules associated with this program. The RCW established the paraeducator minimum employment requirements, the standards of practice for paraeducators, the Paraeducator Board, and the Paraeducator Certificate Program. The Paraeducator Board further defines the RCW through rules in WAC 179.


How do I make sure I get the clock hours when I attend a training?
When preapproved clock hours are offered, you will be asked to sign-in on a clock hours request form at any training offering clock hours. You should also pick up a copy of the provided clock hours form for your own records.


Other helpful resources: 

Click here for a Paraeducator User Guide for the OSPI EDS system. 

Click here for instructions on how to log clock hours with OSPI EDS. 

Click here for video resources for paraeducators from the PESB Paraeducator Board.