Stack of Books IllustrationThe Paraeducator Certificate Program offers statewide standards-based training for all paraeducators, and supports a career growth ladder for those who wish to advance their career as a paraeducator or pursue a teaching profession.

Training components*

  • The training begins with the 28-hour Fundamental Course of Study (FCS), a course focused on the new paraeducator standards of practice.
  • Following the completion of the FCS, a paraeducator has three years to complete an additional 70 hours of training to earn the General Paraeducator Certificate.
  • A paraeducator may choose to earn a Subject Matter Certificate by completing 20 hours of training. There are two Subject Matter Certificates: English Language Learner and Special Education. These certificates expire after five years (may be renewed), and are not prerequisites for employment. A paraeducator may use their Subject Matter Certificate towards meeting the requirements of the general certificate. The state has developed online courses to meet both of these certificates. These courses are free and upon completion, the paraeducator meets the requirements of the certificate.
  • Finally, a paraeducator may earn the Advanced Paraeducator Certificate once they complete the general certificate and an additional 75 hours of advanced professional development. The advanced certificate expires after five years (may be renewed) and it is not a prerequisite for employment.

*Training is required only if funded by the Legislature. If funded, school districts are responsible for ensuring all instructional paraeducators meet the requirements of the FCS and General Paraeducator Certificate (up to the funded amount). 

WEA Trainings

WEA has a member-based training cadre that can provide training to our members. We currently have trainers that will cover the below objectives. For our Cultural Identity and Equity (7) hour trainings, we have combined FCS01 & FCS06 and for our Methods of Educational Outcomes and Communication Strategies (7) hour trainings, we’ve combined FCS02, FCS11 & FCS12. Questions? Please e-mail Lama Chikh or Cristi McCorkle

FCS01: Introduction to cultural identity and diversity (4 hours) 

  • Describe ways to identify and respond to racism, discrimination, and stereotypes in the classroom
  • List strategies for supporting cultural responsiveness and anti-biased instruction
  • Describe ways to foster and support a safe, positive, and culturally inclusive environment
  • Explain ways students’ family, language, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic background, and other cultural assets impact behavior and learning 
  • Describe strategies to support cultural inclusion and responsiveness when assisting in instruction
  • Demonstrate respectful behavior when working with diverse students

FCS02: Methods of educational and instructional support (4 hours)

  • Identify basic instructional support methods to assist classroom teachers (small group work, one-to-one, computer-aided learning programs)  
  • Introduce diverse learning styles and strategies best suited to enhance and complement student learning requirements various learning styles
  • Review Washington Learner Standards and have a basic awareness of academic achievement goals
  • Demonstrate various instructional support strategies to assist classroom teachers
  • Identify strategies to support classroom environments and apply materials to meet the goals of multicultural requirements 
  • Recognize appropriate instructional support materials which represent and support various cultures and abilities 
  • Review adult social and emotional competencies and what they look like and why they are important (added January 15, 2020)
  • Recognize appropriate ways to direct a student's emotions, thoughts, impulses or stress in constructive ways (added January 15, 2020)

FCS06: Equity (3 hours)

  • Identify the basic regulations and policies that apply to the civil rights of students  
  • Describe ways to respond to racism, discrimination, and stereotypes based on family, language, ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic background, or other elements of culture
  • Define discrimination and recognize unlawful practices

FCS11: Communication basics (2 hours)  

  • Identify the communication skills required for working with team members
  • Explain the importance of decision making as it applies to school-based teams
  • Explain the four stages of developing effective teams 
  • Describe questioning strategies which improve performance, productivity and clarify misunderstandings 
  • Identify strategies used to initiate and receive feedback regarding student learning and/or personal performance
  • Describe ways to apply conflict resolution strategies

FCS12: Communication challenges (1 hour)

  • Identify and give examples of the types of strategies used to seek, provide and clarify information and feedback to staff, students and families 
  • Discuss the nature and possible sources of conflict among team members, students, and families
  • Identify strategies for repairing relationships after conflict
  • Identify and apply problem-solving processes to various case studies and scenarios

Additional resources

Paraeducator certificate program infographic