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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. 

ELL Subject Matter Certificate (optional) – Requires completion of Para FCS and online subject matter course.

Advanced Paraeducator Certificate – Requires General Paraeducator Certificate and an additional 75 clock hours.


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.


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


What happens if I don’t attend the training, or I miss an opportunity?
You are responsible to ensure you’ve completed all 28 required hours, by September
30, 2022 if hired on/before September 1, 2021. The district is responsible to ensure there are ample
opportunities available to you. This includes offerings provided by the district.


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.


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.


How do I get the FCS Certificate?
When you have completed all 28 hours of the required FCS, you will submit your state approved
FCS clock hour form(s) to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) through
their Education Data System (EDS) at