Paraeducator Employment Requirements

Frequently Asked Questions: New Paraeducator Minimum Employment Requirements


New Requirements

I’m not a paraeducator.  Will my position be impacted by the new legislation?

  • As defined by the bill, a “Paraeducator means a classified public school or school district employee who works under the supervision of a certificated or licensed staff member to support and assist in providing instructional and other services to students and their families.”  With very few exceptions, all of our ESP staff, including School Assistants, will be required to meet these new minimum employment requirements.

If I’m already a Northshore ESP staff member, will I be grandfathered in if I don’t meet the new employment requirements? (UPDATED 04.09.18)

  • A person working as a paraeducator for a school district before or during the 2017-18 school year must meet the requirements below by the date of hire for the 2019-20 school year or any subsequent school year. A person who has not previously worked as a paraeducator for a school district must meet the requirements below by the date of hire for the 2018-19 school year or any subsequent school year.

What are the new employment requirements? (Updated July 23, 2023)

  • (1) Be at least eighteen years of age and hold a high school diploma or its equivalent; and
  • (2)(a) Have received a passing grade on the ETS ParaPro assessment, Pearson's Paraprofessional assessment, or the Master Teacher Inc. Paraeducator Online Training Program; or
  •      (b) Hold an associate of arts degree; or
  •      (c) Have earned seventy-two quarter credits or forty-eight semester credits at an institution of higher education; or
  •      (d) Have completed a registered apprenticeship program.

When do the new requirements go into effect? (UPDATED 04.09.18)

  • RCW 28A.413.040 is effective September 1, 2018 for new hires and September 1, 2019 for current employees.

Are these the same requirements that have been in place for Title I paraeducators?

  • Yes, these are currently the same requirements for Title I paraeducators, Title I schools, or Title I school districts. 

I have completed the paperwork with NAEOP and have a Professional Standard Certificate.  Will this count as meeting the new requirements?

  • No.  The district has no flexibility around RCW 28A.413.040 and cannot substitute any other experience or certification to meet the new employment requirements.

Why are there a few ESP positions that don't need to meet the new requirements? (added 12.14.17)

  • There are a few positions, such as school nurse, who don't meet the instructional capacity portion of the legislative definition.

High School Diploma

Will I need to provide a copy of my high school diploma to HR?

  • Yes.  All employees will need to provide a copy of their high school diploma or equivalent unless the high school name and graduation date is referenced on college transcripts provided.  

ParaPro Exam

What is the paraeducator assessment?

  • The ParaPro assessment, administered by the Educational Testing Service, is an exam that has been in place for some time.  It is a general knowledge assessment that measures skills and knowledge in reading, writing and math.  The test has 90 multiple-choice questions. Approximately two-thirds of the questions focus on basic skills and knowledge. The remaining one-third focus on applying skills in the classroom. The test is delivered on a computer and test takers have 2½ hours to complete the test.  All test questions are in English. 

Where can I take the ParaPro assessment? (UPDATED 03.18.19)

  • A list of test centers is available on the ETS website

How can I prepare to take the ParaPro assessment? (UPDATED 03.18.19)

How much will the test cost?  Will I have to pay the fee? (UPDATED 03.18.19)

  • The testing fee is $55.  Test cost coverage by the district was only available during the transition period which ended September 1, 2018.

What if I don’t pass the first time?  Can I retake the test? (UPDATED 03.18.19)

  • Yes, you can retake the ParaPro assessment.  Test cost coverage by the district was only available during the transition period which ended September 1, 2018.

Can I use my professional hours to pay myself for preparing for the test? (UPDATED 03.18.19)

  • ESP staff could only use professional hours to attend NSEA and district sponsored test prep classes.  ESP staff will not be allowed to use their professional hours for any time spent studying on their own.

How long does it take to get my scores when I take the ParaPro Assessment? (added 01.16.18)

  • Unofficial scores are available onscreen at the end of your test. Official score reports are sent approximately 2-3 weeks after your test date.

How do I request a testing accomodation for the ParaPro Assessment? (added 01.22.18)

  • The ETS website has a specific page that deals with accommodations.  On that page you will find an information bulletin that contains specific instructions and forms for requesting an accommodation.  The necessary accommodation forms can be found in the middle portion of that document. You will need to complete all of their forms and submit them to ETS for approval.  This includes specific documentation provided by "an evaluator qualified to make the diagnosis."  Also, be aware that it can take up to six weeks to hear back from ETS as to any accommodations they may grant, so submitting this request as soon as you are able is advisable.

    This exam is governed by ETS, and in order for the exam to be considered valid, we have to abide by their policies in this matter.  The Northshore School District has no latitude to make any accommodations that ETS does not approve.

College Transcripts

How will my work in college count towards the new requirements? (updated 01.18.18)

  • You must have earned an AA degree or earned seventy-two quarter credits or forty-eight semester credits at an institution of higher education. If you have a Bachelors or Masters degree, you would have completed the number of credits required.

Will I need to provide the District with transcripts from my college work?

  • Yes, we will need official college transcripts if this is the path that is being used to meet the requirements.

What if HR already has a copy of my transcripts because I was hired as a Title I para?

  • You have satisfied the requirements and will not need to resubmit to HR.

Can I submit transcripts electronically? (added 12.14.17)

  • Yes. They will need to come straight from your college or university directly to Human Resources. If you have the college send the transcripts to you and you forward them, they are no longer "official". Please send them to

If I am getting a PSP stipend because of my college degree, do I still need to turn in my transcripts to the District? (added 12.14.17)

  • Yes. The PSP stipend is handled through NAEOP, not Northshore School District, so we would not have record of your college credits.

What if I completed my college degree in a foreign institution? (UPDATED 04.09.18)

  • Foreign Transcripts must be translated and evaluated for equivalency to U.S. standards on a course-by-course basis. Washington State accepts courses approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services If you are a current NSD employee, please contact human resources at regarding your foreign transcript.


What is an Apprenticeship Program?

  • An apprenticeship is a program developed by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries that is a combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction under the supervision of a journey-level craft person or trade professional.  Those meeting the apprenticeship requirements must present a journey card or certificate.  Apprenticeships are no longer offered for enrollment, but the state will still honor those who were previously hired under these conditions and agreements.

General Information

 Do I need to send my documents to Human Resources now? (added 01.16.18)

  • Yes, please send documents directly to Human Resources.

This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. For questions, contact