Step 1: Complete Paraeducator Courses I, II, and III
To obtain a Paraeducator Generalist Certification, you must at least 18 years of age and successfully complete the following three courses in order:
- PL - Paraeducator Certification-Introduction (Foundations and Professionalism)
- PL - Paraeducator Certification Course: Instructional Support
- PL - Paraeducator Certification Course: Behavioral Supports
The Paraeducator Generalist I certificate program is delivered in three 30-hour courses. Participants will be expected to attend one face-to-face session on the first day ONLY. The remaining hours will be online Moodle units with weekly assignments to complete the additional hours needed to receive a passing grade for this class. Participants must have access to the internet and iPad or laptop computer.
Paraeducator winter offerings from Prairie Lakes AEA. Click here to view the information. Registration deadline is December 29, 2023.
#318107 PL - Paraeducator Certification-Introduction (Foundations and Professionalism), January 6-27, 2024
#318108 PL - Paraeducator Certification Course: Instructional Support, February 10-March 2, 2024
#318110 PL - Paraeducator Certification Course: Behavioral Supports, March 16-April 6, 2024
Step 2: Submit Application to the Board of Educational Examiners
The application directions and assistance will be provided during Course III. The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners’ application system is entirely online at the BOEE website.
Verification of High School Completion
As part of the online application process, you will need to upload verification of High School completion. This may be a scanned or electronic copy of a diploma, transcripts, letter from the school district on school letterhead or verification of GED completion. Accepted forms of verification include:
- High school diploma
- High school transcripts with graduation date
- Certificate of GED completion
- Letter on school letterhead from school district individual graduated from with year graduated listed
- Letter from program GED was completed from including year completed
- Letter from State Department of Education verifying graduation or GED completion
Background Check and Fingerprinting
As part of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners’ application process, a background check and fingerprinting are required for all new applicants for Iowa licensure. The cost of the federal background check and fingerprinting costs will be paid directly to Fieldprint at the time of registering for an appointment. The current cost of this procedure will be $34.35. The remaining fee for background check of $35.00 will be paid to the Board of Educational Examiners in the online application. Click here for more information on the background check process.
Application Fee (subject to change by the BOEE): $115 ($40 Application Fee plus Background Check Fee)
Term of Paraeducator Certification
A Paraeducator certification is valid for five years.
Renewing Your Paraeducator Certification
You will need transcript(s) showing three (3) renewal credits, and the certificates of completion for Mandatory Reporter: Child Abuse and Mandatory Reporter: Dependent Adult Abuse trainings.
If you're seeking courses for renewal credits, here are two options:
- Log into the AEA Professional Learning Registration site (use the same login information as you do for Bloodborne Pathogens, Mandatory Reporter, etc). On the courses tab, you can type in the course or section number or search for by title.
- Visit AEA Learning Online where you'll find facilitated, online courses and self-paced modules. These flexible solutions allow users to complete mandatory trainings or paraeducator certificate renewal requirements. (Here are the Top Five Self-Paced Courses available in AEA Learning Online.)
For renewals, the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners accepts licensure renewal credits from an approved Iowa provider such as the AEA system, ISEA, or PEI or undergraduate or graduate college credits from a regionally-accredited institution. If you choose an out-of-state program, college semester hour credits must be earned (not CEUs or staff development). Credits need to be earned after the issue date of the current license, or be no more than five years old if the license is expired.
Coursework should be related to education or duties performed and can be taken in any combination of the following areas:
- Area of Concentration not currently held (Special Needs, Early Childhood, English as a Second Language (ESL), Library, Media & Technology)*
- Content that will assist a paraeducator in supporting students in reading, writing, or mathematics
- Content that supports either the building’s or district’s career development plan
- College credit earned for each semester hour
- Substitute Authorization course
*In order to receive a Level II certification (Area of Concentration), you must have been issued your Paraeducator Generalist Certificate by the BoEE prior to enrolling in coursework towards an Area of Concentration.
Adding Substitute Authorization to Paraeducator Certification
In order to be able to act and be hired as a substitute teacher, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least age 18
- Have a valid Paraeducator Certification
- Complete the Substitute Authorization program
Once you have met these requirements, you are then able to work as a substitute teacher in the special education classroom in which you are employed for no more than 5 consecutive days.