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50-State Scan of Professional Development for Instructional Paraprofessionals

Research for this Database Updated July, 2006

Source: This data was collected directly from DOE websites, local Administrative Code, General State Statutes, etc., at the state level. Links to all sources are listed and the collected information was verified by the appropriate paraprofessional, Title I or certification expert from each state.

Is There Any Type of Professional Development Program for Paraprofessionals at the State Level? Information About Any Existing Professional Development Programs for Paraprofessionals
Alabama
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Alaska
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Arizona
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Arkansas
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • California
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Colorado
  • No
  • The Collaborative Training Opportunities for Paraeducators (CO-TOP), developed at The PAR2A Center at the University of Colorado at Denver, provides a systematic, comprehensive, sustainable training model for paraeducators across Colorado. CO-TOP provides training to already-employed paraeducators who may have little professional preparation and may or may not have college-level education. Although the CO-TOP program was created by The PAR2A Center it is locally “owned” and controlled.

    Local districts: (1) nominate potential trainers; (2) determine local training needs of paraeducators, (3) determine training logistics and the content they want to offer; (4) work with The PAR2A Center to set up college credit for the course; and sometimes, (5) pay tuition for paraeducators who attend CO-TOP courses or arrange for third-party payments.

    The PAR2A Center: (1) prepares trainers to deliver training locally; (2) provides instructors’ manuals for the CO-TOP curriculum; (3) provides registration materials, evaluations, and course materials for trainers (4) uses grant funds to pay for CO-TOP courses and (5) assesses the quality and effectiveness of training.

    The CO-TOP curriculum consists of Instructors’ Manuals for 21 courses that are research-based, and field tested with over 10,000 paraeducators. The curriculum includes pre- and post-assessments of paraeducators’ knowledge and skills, and also includes course/instructor evaluations. Over 12,000 paraeducators have participated in CO-TOP training since 1995.

    Course evaluation and Pre-post skills assessment data support the quality of the curriculum and the training model. For additional information about the CO-TOP Model, visit the Paracenter website.

    While statewide standards have not been adopted by the State Board of Education, The Colorado Department of Education recognizes the need for paraeducator training. Thus, the Special Education Services Unit has made funding available to districts since 2001. Much of that funding has been used to provide CO-TOP training locally.

    Connecticut
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Delaware
  • Yes
  • The Budget Bill (HB 300) appropriated $50,000 for Paraprofessional Training. Such funds are being utilized by the Department of Education to implement a program for a career pathway for school district paraprofessionals at Delaware Technical and Community College.

    The Budget Bill (HB 300) appropriated “$1,100,000 for Tuition Reimbursement. This allocation provides, at the discretion of the Department of Education, for the possible operation of a tuition reimbursement program for the purpose of reimbursing public school employees. A minimum of 20 percent of these funds shall be used for reimbursement to paraprofessionals.” HB 300

    District of Columbia
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Florida
  • No
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Georgia
  • Yes
  • Unavailable On-Line
    Hawaii
  • Yes
  • The ParaEducator Training Program under the Hawaii Department of Education Human Resources branch provides professional development opportunities for all paraprofessionals.
    Idaho
  • Yes
  • LEAs must use 5-10% of their Title I-A allocations for professional development for ALL staff:
    • Title I funds used for professional development activities may be combined with funds from other programs (such as Title II, Title III or state/district funds) but cannot pay for credits,
    • Funds used to ensure all teachers and paraprofessionals are Highly Qualified by the end of the 2005-06.

    Source: Idaho Department of Education; NCLB Qualifications for Paraprofessionals

    The Para-educator to Teacher Route

    The route expands opportunities to enter teaching and expedite the process toward highly qualified status by “crediting” relevant work and life experiences.

    Source: Idaho Department of Education; Idaho State Plan: Highly Qualified Teachers

    Illinois
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Indiana
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Iowa
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Kansas
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Kentucky
  • No
  • The KY Department of Education is currently working on an on-line professional development course for paraprofessionals.
    Louisiana
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Maine
  • No
  • The Maine Community College System and University College Adult Education programs offer ParaPro preparation.
    Maryland
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Massachusetts
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Michigan
  • Yes
  • Standards for the Preparation of Paraprofessionals were approved by the Michigan Department of Education on October 12, 2004.

    The Michigan Department of Education sponsors an on-line professional development community called Learnport, which is open to all Michigan educators.

    The Michigan Education Association (MEA) has three annual state-wide professional development conferences offering sessions led jointly by MEA and the Michigan Department of Education. Many Michigan community colleges have specific associate degrees or programs for paraprofessionals.

    Minnesota
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Mississippi
  • Yes
  • The Mississippi Department of Education established the Assistant Teachers’ Scholarship Program for the purpose of assisting eligible assistant teachers to become certificated teachers through the awarding of financial scholarships and to attract and retain qualified teachers for those geographical areas of the state and academic subject areas in which there exist a critical shortage of teachers.

    Under the assistant teacher scholarship program, qualified assistant teachers may be awarded financial assistance in an amount that is equal to the actual cost of three (3) three-hour academic courses per year. However, no assistant teacher may receive assistance through the program for more than fifteen (15) three-hour academic courses.

    In order to qualify for an assistant teacher scholarship, an applicant must satisfy the following requirements:

    • The applicant must be employed full-time as an assistant teacher with a local school district;
    • The applicant must be accepted for enrollment at a baccalaureate degree granting institution of higher learning in the State of Mississippi which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges on College Accreditation or at any accredited nonprofit community or junior college in the state.

    Mississippi Department of Education

    Missouri
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Montana
  • No
  • Professional development programs for paraprofessionals are provided by CSPD regions, public and private colleges and universities, MEA-MFT, and NWREL.
    Nebraska
  • No
  • No information found.
  • Nevada
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • New Hampshire
  • Yes
  • Through a grant from the NHDOE to the College for Lifelong Learning in partnership with the NH Community Technical Institute, the Center for Paraeducator Professional Development (CPPD) has been developed. The Center will provide assistance to schools, existing paraeducators and applicant paraeducators, and will facilitate a New Hampshire formal assessment process for paraeducators.
    New Jersey
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • New Mexico
  • Yes
  • New Mexico Legislation, HB 137, Section 22-10A-17.1, outlines a multi-tiered licensure system for paraprofessionals that encourages professional development through minimum pay requirements that increase with certification level.
    New York
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • North Carolina
  • No
  • The State Board of Education approved NC alternatives for paraprofessionals who do not have an AA degree. Local boards of education and paraprofessionals determine which alternative to use. In addition to the North Carolina Association for Teacher Assistants program described below, the NC Department of Labor teacher assistant certification program is approved.

    The North Carolina Association for Teacher Assistants has a Professional Development Plan that is a “certification” program that distinguishes the amount or level of education a teacher assistant has achieved. From the beginning level, Standard, all the way to the Baccalaureate Level, PDP recognizes teacher assistants’ efforts to improve their educational skills.

    North Dakota
  • No
  • The State Title I office has been working with the two-year college consortium in North Dakota and through a series of meetings, the two-year college consortium has put together a two-year degree and a certification program to provide aides/paraprofessionals with another way to meet the requirements under NCLB and to better prepare for the challenges they will meet in their profession.

    For further information on the degree or certification program, please contact any of the North Dakota two-year schools including:

    • Bismarck State College,
    • Lake Region State College,
    • Minot State University at Bottineau,
    • North Dakota State School of Science, and
    • Williston State College.
    Ohio
  • Yes
  • The Educational Paraprofessional Associate Degree provides a route for individuals to move into a program for full teacher licensure should they wish to do so. The standards are rigorous to assure solid preparation for those paraprofessionals who decide to seek full teaching credentials. The candidate who completes an approved program of preparation for educational paraprofessionals as provided in Section 3301-24-05 of the Ohio Administrative Code, Teacher Education and Licensure Standards, will acquire a 5-year Educational Paraprofessional Associate License. Paraprofessional prepared through any of the other routes will be credentialed under the Educational Aide Permit.

    Source: Ohio Department of Education

    Oklahoma
  • No
  • Professional development opportunities are provided through the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (PD), the State Improvement Grant (SIG), interagency coordination, and various sponsored and co-sponsored activities.

    Source: Oklahoma State Department of Education

    Oregon
  • No
  • Training programs offered through local colleges and Education Service Districts include the following.

    • The Professional Development Services, PDS, collaborated with the University of California at Long Beach, Center for Language Minority Education Research (CLMER) for a five year grant. This grant provides free tuition for on-line classes, practicums through Willamette University Continuing Education and training to pass the praxis assessment needed for certified Oregon teachers to obtain their English as a Second Language (ESOL) licensure. The grant also partners with Chemeketa Community College to provide tuition free classes and college credit to instructional assistants who are seeking to meet the "Highly Qualified" status under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
    • The Pathways to Progress Program, PTP, is a two-year degree program that offers bilingual individuals a supportive pathway into the field of education. Funded by a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant, PTP Students receive tuition and fee waivers for 31 credits of the program’s core course requirements. Upon completion of this program, students will be qualified to work as instructional assistants in any public school setting.
    Pennsylvania
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Puerto Rico
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Rhode Island
  • Yes
  • It is critical that all educators engage in ongoing professional development (PD) to ensure they have up-to-date knowledge and skills to help students achieve at high levels.

    All instructional and non-instructional TAs hired after 1/1/99 must complete a RIDE Approved TA Training Program (as well as meeting other qualifications) prior to employment.

    The TA website Training Opportunities webpage has a TA Training Program Directory and profiles of each training program. It also has information on State and Federal Requirements for TA Qualifications and Use on the Legal Requirements webpage.

    For more information, visit the RI TA website.

    South Carolina
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • South Dakota
  • No
  • For the last two years, TIE has put on an academy as a professional development opportunity for paraprofessionals. During the Academy, parapros also learn about how to become certified. It has been highly successful and is very well attended.
    Tennessee
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Texas
  • No
  • Although there is not a professional development program at the state level, there are programs available through Regional Education Service Centers.
    Utah
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Vermont
  • No
  • There are no existing programs at the state level, however, there are ESA's, Higher Education Institutions, Local Districts, etc. that offer professional development opportunities.
    Virgin Islands
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Virginia
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Washington
  • No
  • Nine educational service districts (ESDs) throughout the state provide professional development opportunities for paraeducators in the recommended core competencies. Beginning in the 2005–2006 school year, additional professional development opportunities will be available to paraeducators through their local ESD.

    Check the ESD websites for further information regarding training for paraeducators. E-mail addresses for ESD paraeducator contacts are available on the OSPI website.

    West Virginia
  • No
  • Local districts typically provide professional development for paraprofessionals employed in that district.
    Wisconsin
  • No information found.
  • No information found.
  • Wyoming
  • No information found.
  • No information found.


  • The collection and analysis of this database is supported by The National Center for Teacher Transformation based at St. Petersburg College, Florida.

    For questions, comments or changes, please contact Angela Baber at 303.299.3655 or ababer@ecs.org. To request permission to excerpt part of this publication, either in print or electronically, please fax a request to the attention of the ECS Communications Department, 303.296.8332 or e-mail ecs@ecs.org.


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    To request permission to excerpt part of this publication, either in print or electronically, please fax a request to the attention of the ECS Communications Department, 303.296.8332 or e-mail ecs@ecs.org.
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