Information in this appendix is based on the results of the most recent NRCP survey and follow- up phone calls to chief state school officers. The survey was designed to answer questions about the following policy and systemic issues.)
- Does your state have a credentialing, licensure or permit system for paraeducators? Is the system incorporated in written rules or regulatory procedures that mandate LEAs to comply with requirements for training and employment, or is it an optional system?
- Does your state have education standards or guidelines for paraeducator employment?
- Does your state have standards for paraeducator roles and responsibilities?
- Does your state have standards for knowledge and skill competencies for paraeducators who work in different programs and different positions?
- Does your state have guidelines for paraeducator supervision?
- Does your state have standards for preparing teachers to supervise paraeducators?
STATES WITH CREDENTIALING SYSTEMS FOR PARAEDUCATORS
No two credentialing, certification, licensure, permit systems are alike. The only shared characteristic of the systems is that all are non-binding on LEAs. Currently, with the exception of requiring a minimum of a high school diploma or GED for employment as a teacher aide, there is little consensus among states with a credentialing systems about what the components of a credential should be, let alone what the standards for paraeducator roles, skills and preparation should be. Moreover, the states that have established standards for paraeducator preparation that are not embedded in their rules or regulatory procedures have no way of requiring LEAs to provide training for paraeducators that meet the standards. The following are the states that currently have a certification system in place.
ALABAMA (in effect since the 1970s applies to all paraeducators, 30 clock hours of formal training are required, additional standards for knowledge and skills and training for special education paraeducators established.)
DELAWARE (original system established in 1970s, revised in 1993, applies to all paraeducators, recognizes three levels of paraeducator positions, includes guidelines for training.)
FLORIDA (legislation enacted in 1998, includes guidelines for an optional career ladder, applies to all paraeducators.)
GEORGIA (two year licensure system applies to all paraeducators and includes guidelines for employment; LEAs are required to provide 30 clock hours of in-service training for tier 1 teacher aide; and 50 clock hours for tier 2 paraprofessionals, renewable after 3 years upon completion of 50 additional clock hours.)
ILLINOIS (in effect since the 1970s. applies to all paraeducators, LEAs are required to provide in-service training that is approved by the state superintendent).
IOWA (established in 2000, two levels of paraeducator certification apply to all paraeducators, Level 1 is a generalist certification and requires completion of at least 90 clock hours of training, and level 2 requires paraeducators to have an associate degree or have 62 hours at an IHE, all level 2 paraeducators must complete two semester hours of coursework involving at least 100 hours of supervised practicum.)
KANSAS (established in the mid 1970s, applies to special education paraeducators only, 3 tiered system with standards for advancement based on training that recognizes both in-service training and an AA degree or a combination of both.)
MAINE (recognizes three levels of education technician positions; tied to in-service and post secondary education, applies to all paraeducators).
NORTH CAROLINA (established by the NC Department of Labor in 2001, the credential contains standards for the employment and preparation of all paraeducators.)
NEW HAMPSHIRE (in effect since early 1970s, recently revised applies to all instructional paraeducators; a 3 three-tier system that requires LEAs to provide orientation training for level 1 paraeducators, and additional training to enable paraeducators to advance to levels 2 & 3.)
NEW MEXICO (a four tier licensing process was approved in 1990 for teacher aides, assistants, and OT & PT aides.)
NEW YORK (includes certification for teacher aides who must meet civil service requirements and four levels of teacher assistants beginning with a provisional license, advancement to higher levels based on in-service training and completion of post secondary requirements).
OHIO (recently revised, applies to all paraeducators, requires high school diploma, includes a suggested career ladder, training is non specific and not competency based.)
OKLAHOMA (in the process of establishing standards for a certification system that was created in response to legislation enacted in 1999; statndards for training andcertification for paraeducators working in special education programs for learners with severe and profound disabilities have been in place for several years,)
TEXAS (in effect since the early 1980s, applies to all paraeducators, local options for employment and training standards prevail).
WEST VIRGINIA (a licensure mechanism includes standards for training established for a Paraprofessional position; Paraprofessional employees are allowed to work more independently than teacher aides and assistants; there are no standards for training teacher aides and assistants.)
STATES WITH STANDARDS FOR PARAEDUCATOR ROLES AND PREPARATION
The knowledge and skill standards developed by most of the following states are designed to serve as non-binding guidelines for LEAs to follow as they develop training opportunities for paraeducators.
ARKANSAS (standards for special education paraeducator training have been established)
HAWAII (knowledge and skills for a three tiered training program, initially developed for special education paraeducators in response to a court ordered consent decree have now been expanded to accommodate Title I paraeducators; Orientation and Intermediate (levels 1 & 2) training is provided by the SEA; the Advanced (third level) is provided by community colleges in collaboration with the SEA.)
IDAHO (knowledge and skill standards established in 2001 for special education and Title I paraeducators were developed jointly by the two divisions in the SEA.)
MARYLAND (knowledge and skill standards established for all paraeducators.)
MICHIGAN (standards for paraeducators in early childhood have been established.)
MINNESOTA (SEA developed knowledge and skill standards for special education paraeducators in 1997, state legislation enacted in 1998 requires LEAs to ensure that paraeducators employed in special education have sufficient skill to perform their assigned tasks, and to provide training opportunities annually.)
MONTANA (training standards based on identified skills and knowledge required by special education paraeducators, and the SEA supports regional training opportunities.)
RHODE ISLAND (knowledge and skill standards for paraeducators established for special education and ESL/bilingual paraeducators were established by the SEA in 1998 and 1999.)
SOUTH CAROLINA (SEA has established standards for special education paraeducator skill and knowledge competencies.)
UTAH (established standards for special education paraeducator roles and preparation have been approved; work is currently underway to revise the skill and knowledge competencies to apply to Title I paraeducators as well.)
VERMONT (standards for special education paraeducator knowledge and skill competencies approved by State Board of Education in 2001 and have been incorporated in the stateís rules for special education; the certification system that applied to all paraeducators established in the 1970s is no longer recognized.)
WASHINGTON (core knowledge and skill competencies established for all paraeducators; community colleges have developed standards and a curriculum based on the core competencies).
WISCONSIN (standards for special education paraeducators have been developed and are awaiting approval; the certification system established for special education paraeducators in the 1970s is no longer recognized.)
STATES WITH STANDARDS FOR THE SUPERVISION OF PARAEDUCATORS AND LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR PREPARING TEACHERS TO SUPERVISE PARAEDUCATORS
Only states that have standards for paraeducator supervision that go beyond stating "that paraeducators work under the direct supervision of teachers"are included in this section.
CALIFORNIA (standards for preparing special education teachers to supervise paraeducators have been established, but are not part of the stateís credentialing system; legislation introduced in 2002 requiring that all teachers be prepared for emerging supervisory roles was not passed.)
MINNESOTA (standards for preparing special education teachers to supervise paraeducators are incorporated in the stateís licensure system.)
RHODE ISLAND (standards for the supervision of paraeducators developed at the same time as the standards for paraeducator knowedge and skills competencies were approved.)
UTAH (standards for paraeducator supervision are established.)
WASHINGTON (standards for preparing special education teachers to supervise paraeducators are incorporated in the state's licensure system.)