Fundamental Course of Study

Resources for Paraeducators

Click to expand the relevant sections below:


The Washington State Legislature recognizes that all instructional paraeducators need and deserve professional development opportunities and training to support successful academic outcomes for our students. Through a legislative directive (HB1115, 2017), the Paraeducator Certificate Program was created to meet this demand. The program includes new state standards of practice and professional development training to advance the skills and knowledge of paraeducators and to reduce the opportunity gap in education.

All instructional paraeducators will be required to complete this training for continued employment, regardless of education level or previous training.

(A paraeducator is defined as a “classified public school or school district employee who works under the supervision of a certificated or licensed staff member, from grades kindergarten to grade 12, to support and assist in providing instructional and other services to students and their families, including library assistants, and excluding bus monitors, lunchroom aides, and community service aides. Paraeducators are not considered certificated instructional staff.)


All paraeducators covered under the PSEA MOU will complete 13 modules online of the OSPI “Paraeducators What We Do Matters” modules.

Documentation shall be kept by the employee of the completion of these online modules. If you have trouble accessing the modules you will need to contact OSPI directly for assistance. (If you have already completed them you do not have to do it again).

28-hour Fundamental Course of Study (FCS)

Some of you may have completed trainings over the summer or at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year that will count towards the required trainings.

PLEASE NOTE: Trainings must have been completed after July 1, 2019 to qualify toward the required hours.

2019-2020 Requirements

All 28 hours of the FCS training requirement have been funded, however there are some changes and an extension to the requirements:

  • 7 of the 28 hours must still be in-person (you may have already completed this, but if not you have more time)

  • The additional 21 hours can be EITHER online or in-person, or a combination of both (you can be working on this now)

School districts affected by the required closures have until the end of next school year (September 30, 2021) to provide all four days (28 hours) of training on the FCS.

If you have already completed your first 14 hours or more of FCS training, the additional FCS hours will be counted toward the 28 required. You still must keep track of your hours and completion documentation. If you would like to turn in the 14 once they are completed, you may do so to your strand lead as before (see information on webpage listed below).

This applies to ALL Instructional paras, regardless of hire dates.

General Paraeducator Certificate

If funded by the Legislature, school districts are responsible for ensuring all employed paraeducators meet the requirements of the FCS and General Paraeducator Certificate (up to the funded amount). Following the completion of the 28 hours of FCS, a paraeducator has three years to complete an additional 70 hours to earn the General Paraeducator Certificate.

In addition to the General Paraeducator Certificate, a paraeducator may choose to attain a Subject Matter Certificate by completing 20 hours of training in the subject of the certificate. There are two Subject Matter Certificates: English Language Learner (ELL) and Special Education. These certificates expire after five years of attainment, are not prerequisites for employment in any program, and once attained can be used to help meet the requirements of the General Paraeducator Certificate.