Paraeducator Certificate Program
The Paraeducator Certificate Program offers standards-based training for all instructional paraeducators in Washington State. It has two required training components and three optional certificates.
Please watch this short video which briefly describes the Paraeducator Certificate Program and its components.
Steps to Successfully Complete the Paraeducator Certificate Program Requirements
- Create pdEnroller account and enroll in FCS classes as they become available, completing all 12 classes during the first school year of employment.
- Create EDS account with OSPI.
- Upon completion of FCS hours, create a single entry in EDS account for FCS to notify OSPI of completion. (instructions)
- Link pdEnroller and EDS accounts to automatically transfer clock hour classes taken in pdEnroller to EDS. (instructions)
- Complete 70 clock hours (14 hours each year following completion of FCS), log them in EDS account and apply for general certificate.
- Send PDF copy of general certificate to Amy.Martinez@ksd.org – OSPI does not send certificates on behalf of educators.
Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) Components
As part of a paraeducator certificate program, Washington State has mandated that Paraeducators have a Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) totaling 28 hours within their first school year of employment. Failure to complete the 28 required hours within the stated time frames of the program may lead to termination of employment. There is no substitution for the Fundamental Course of Study; it is a requirement of all paraeducators, regardless of college degree, certificate held, or prior experience.
It is the responsibility of the school district to provide the FCS and general certificate training to their paraeducators. Paraeducators should not independently seek out training to meet training requirements.
Introduction to Cultural Identity and Diversity
Methods of Educational and Instructional Support
Using and Collecting Data
District Orientation of Roles and Responsibilities
Behavior management strategies including de-escalation techniques
Child and Adolescent Development
Emergency and Health Safety
Positive and Safe Learning Environment
Classes do not need to be taken in numerical order. When you are finished with the Fundamental Course of Study, you will have completed all 12 classes for a total of 28 hours.
Next Steps after completing FCS
Once you’ve finished with your FCS classes, you will receive a system-generated email with Form 1128-10 attached. This is your official proof you’ve completed your Fundamental Course of Study – save this email because you may need the form when applying for your general certificate with OSPI.
It is your responsibility to log into your OSPI account and create a single entry for your 28 FCS hours. This is a requirement, even if your pdEnroller classes are automatically transferring to your OSPI account. The single entry is what triggers OSPI’s system to recognize you’ve completed the FCS prerequisite and are now eligible to apply for your general certificate (once your 70 PD hours are completed). Please follow the instructions in the attachment labeled “Paraeducator Handout” to add your FCS hours to your OSPI account. DO NOT CREATE MORE THAN ONE ENTRY FOR YOUR 28 FCS HOURS. Notify HR once this step has been completed. No documentation is required to be sent to OSPI until an application for the general certificate is being submitted.
General Paraeducator Certificate
The General Certificate is earned by a paraeducator who completes ten days (70 clock hours) of professional development training in addition to the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS). Paraeducators must receive the number of hours towards the general certificate that is funded by the Legislature each year.
Training to meet the requirements of the general certificate is broadly conceived. Any clock hour training that will assist the instructional skills of a paraeducator may count. For example, any training that is already provided to teachers can be provided to paraeducators to meet the requirements of this certificate.
Training for the general certificate must be clock hour training; paraeducators must receive training from PESB-approved clock hour providers. Clock hours obtained prior to July 1, 2019 will not count toward the general certificate requirements.
Paraeducators enrolled in college courses can use their college credits toward their general certificate hours. Any credit taken on or after July 1, 2019, can count toward their general certificate.
Paraeducators who have a valid 181 certificate (e.g., a teaching certificate) can apply for the General Certificate when they have finished the FCS without taking additional training. Limited certificates, such as Emergency Substitute Certificates, do not qualify.
Subject Matter Certificates
Subject matter certificates are for paraeducators who wish to further their skills in English Language Learner (ELL) or Special Education instruction. These certificates are optional and are not requirements of the program.
To earn a subject matter certificate, a paraeducator must complete 20 hours of professional development in the subject area of the certificate. The subject matter certificates have specific standards, learning objectives, and course outlines that must be met to receive the certificate.
The certificate expires after five years, and it is not a prerequisite to work in any program. A paraeducator can only earn a subject matter certificate if they have completed their FCS training. A paraeducator may allocate completed subject matter certificate hours towards their general certificate hours.
ELL and Special Education subject matter courses can be found in the Kennewick School District’s pdEnroller catalog. These classes are typically offered on a rolling basis and can be taken at any time.
Advanced Paraeducator Certificate
After completing the general certificate, a paraeducator can earn the advanced certificate. This certificate includes 75 clock hours of training on assisting high-impact classrooms, supporting specialized instruction, and mentoring other paraeducators. This certificate expires after 5 years and is not a prerequisite to work in any program. A para can only earn the Advanced Paraeducator Certificate after completing the General Certificate and must ensure training aligns to the Advanced Certificate standards of practice. (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ijLqeL9xSphvaf-2lG2AZrvYdjZsUYo15UDIJA7YcgI/edit)
Enrolling in Trainings, Tracking and Applying for Certificates
How to Enroll in Trainings – pdEnroller
KSD utilizes pdEnroller for almost all our trainings, including FCS classes. This is an external system, but we can help with most aspects should you need assistance. Each employee will need to create a pdEnroller account to enroll in trainings. You can create an account here: https://id.pdenroller.org/register
When enrolling in classes, please ensure you are in the KSD catalog (https://www.pdenroller.org/kennewick/catalog). You’ll be able to verify you’re in the Kennewick School District’s catalog if you see our logo in the top left-hand corner of the screen. If you do not see the KSD logo, please select our region from the dropdown menu. The Kennewick School District does not charge a fee to paras for most classes. Any fees paid for classes taken through an external vendor will not be reimbursed unless you have been specifically instructed to take a class at the expense of the district.
In general, any class available to paras in pdEnroller (aside from FCS classes) can count toward the general certificate hours. Paras may choose to take classes offered by external providers in pdEnroller, keeping in mind reimbursement will not be received, as previously mentioned.
Paras who choose to take professional development classes outside of pdEnroller should first check with the class presenter to find out if they are on the list of OSPI approved providers and offering OSPI clock hours. Any class taken outside pdEnroller which offers OSPI clock hours must be pre-approved by a paraeducator’s administrator. Once the class is completed, the para must submit the clock hour form received from the class provider, along with a signed Course Approval Form to the Human Resources Office.
KSD pulls data from pdEnroller once a month to add to our internal system for our own tracking purposes. As a result, classes showing in Employee Online are generally about a month behind when classes are added to pdEnroller transcripts. It’s important to note class data is not able to be pulled for incomplete classes not added to pdEnroller transcripts.
EDS (OSPI E-Cert) Account
All paraeducators must create an EDS account through OSPI. It is the responsibility of the paraeducator, with the assistance of the school district, to file completion of the Fundamental Course of Study and training to meet the certificates through e-cert. This is the system used by OSPI to track the completion of the FCS and any clock hours. This is also where you will apply for your certificate(s) when you are ready.
All clock hours and FCS hours must be added by the paraeducator to their EDS account. Paraeducators can link their EDS and pdEnroller accounts to automatically transfer classes taken in pdEnroller to their EDS account by following these instructions. Clock hours taken outside of pdEnroller will need to be manually entered to EDS by the paraeducator.
Pay for Trainings
Trainings, both FCS and other, will occur on professional development days, early release days and conference days (KAESP CBA Section 13.11.). Please review the scenarios below for information on how to receive payment for required classes.
Fundamental Course of Study
Classes taken outside of contracted time: No action is required to receive payment for attending FCS classes, so long as the class is through KSD’s pdEnroller catalog and attendance is marked as present. Payments will be included in the EXTRA PAY line on paystubs, generally in the month following the class.
Classes taken during contracted time: Paras must notify their administrator and payroll secretary of their intent to attend an FCS class. The class tile, date and start and end times must be given to both administrator and payroll secretary. No additional action is required by the para to receive payment for attending the FCS class, so long as the class is through KSD’s pdEnroller catalog and attendance is marked as present. Payments will be included in the EXTRA PAY line on paystubs, generally in the month following the class.
Classes taken from an external provider: Paras should not seek FCS classes from external providers, unless specifically instructed to do so by the Human Resources Office. Should a para be instructed to take an FCS class externally, instructions to receive payment will be given.
General Para Certificate
Only trainings following the above-mentioned CBA guidelines taken outside of contracted time are eligible for extra pay, a maximum of 14 hours per school year (as funded). To request pay for required PD trainings, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/d4SzvNJ4o7s2jQHD9
Applying for the General Certificate
It is the responsibility of the paraeducator to apply for their General Certificate once they have completed their FCS and additional 70 hours of clock hours. There is a fee associated with the General Para Certificate. This is paid directly to OSPI; the Kennewick School District does not provide reimbursement for this fee, nor can the Kennewick School District waive or discount the fee. Please contact OSPI with any questions regarding fees for certification.
Once the general certificate is awarded, it is the responsibility of the paraeducator to send a copy to their employing district. Certificates are awarded to individuals, not districts. OSPI does not send certificates out on behalf of educators, and districts do not have the ability to print certificates.
For more information, please contact OSPI: 360-725-6000
Frequently Asked Questions
I have a college degree. Do I still need to complete the Fundamental Course of Study?
Yes. The Fundamental Course of Study is required for all paraeducators, regardless of degree, certificate, or prior experience.
I’ve received my General Para Certificate. Does my pay increase?
There is not currently an increase in pay for General Para Certificate holders.
Will I receive reimbursement for the certificate fees?
No. The fees for certificates are paid directly to OSPI. The district does not provide reimbursement for certificate fees.
I have created an EDS account and filed the completion of the FCS. Will I receive a certificate?
The FCS is not a certificate so paraeducators will not receive documentation for the FCS. They should keep any documentation of the FCS, including a copy of the FCS clock hour form.
What do I need to do before pursuing the advanced certificate?
To complete the advanced certificate, you must first earn the general certificate. Only once the general certificate is earned, may you begin training to meet the advanced certificate.
Can I take more than 14 hours of training towards the general certificate in a year?
Yes, but only 14 hours of training are required. As a result, only 14 hours of training is eligible for extra pay.
Can I use flex time for taking the required trainings instead of extra pay?
Flex time may be eligible for use during required trainings. Please work with your administrator if you’d like to use flex time for your trainings.
What if I transfer to or from another school district?
If you leave the Kennewick School District prior to or after completing the FCS, your pdEnroller transcript will show you each class you have completed and can be given to your new district. You do not lose access to pdEnroller once you are no longer employed by the Kennewick School District.
If you’re transferring to KSD from another district and have completed some or all of your FCS classes, please request official documentation from your previous district. The easiest thing to do is have your previous district fill out Form 1128-10 with the classes you completed there.
Do I have to finish my FCS before working on general cert hours?
No – paras may begin working on their general certificate hours prior to the completion of the Fundamental Course of Study.
How do I know which classes I’ve completed?
All FCS classes are run through pdEnroller, so your pdEnroller transcript will show all FCS classes. You can also use pdEnroller to check the clock hour classes you’ve completed through that platform. External classes need to be tracked by the para and must be manually added to OSPI.
Do Safe Schools modules count toward my General Certificate?
No. Safe Schools modules will not count toward the General Certificate requirement.
KSD Program Contact: Amy Martinez
EDS Account/OSPI Help: (360) 725-6000
pdEnroller Help: Teaching & Learning – (509) 222-6579