- Minimum of 18 years of age
- Verification of high school completion or equivalence (See Step 2 below for more information)
- Participants must have access to a computer/internet in order to take the courses
- It is preferred, but not required, that participants be employed by an accredited Iowa school district as a practicing paraeducator, or work as a substitute paraeducator in an accredited Iowa school district, or have a teacher and administrator who are willing to mentor you through the certification program.
Step 1: Complete Paraeducator Courses I, II, and III
To obtain a Paraeducator Generalist Certification, you must successfully complete the following three courses in order (from any AEA). At Central Rivers AEA these courses are offered as a blended opportunity (Virtual Face to Face and online coursework) Together these three courses cover all six competencies.
- Paraeducator Generalist Certification Program – Course I Introduction/Foundation (Course #204124)
- Paraeducator Generalist Certification Program – Course II Instructional Support (Course #204317)
- Paraeducator Generalist Certification Program – Course III Behavioral Supports (Course #204318)
Each of the three Paraeducator Generalist Certification courses involves virtual meetings and completion of online units. Participants need to have access to a computer (not a mobile device such as an iPad or mobile phone) and internet to complete these courses.
Fee for each course: $120 (Total $360)
The AEAs are not the only options for paraeducator certification, programs are also offered by other organizations: Iowa Lakes Community College, Iowa Western Community College, Kirkwood Community College, Northeast Iowa Community College, Western Community College, and Mt Mercy University. Their contact information can be found on their websites for further information regarding their offerings.
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.
- Application Fee (subject to change by the BOEE): $115 ($40 Application Fee; $75 Background Check Fee)
Term of Paraeducator Certification
A Paraeducator certification is valid for five years.
Renewal of a 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.
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. Credits should be relevant to education.
Early Childhood Area of Concentration
If a school or building has a Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program, please use the Qualifications for Preschool Teacher Assistants document to determine who in your program requires an early childhood paraeducator certificate.
Central Rivers AEA Early Childhood Area of Concentration Instructors
In order to be certified as a paraeducator with an area of concentration in Early Childhood three courses are required:
Paraeducators: Enhancing Learning in the Creative Curriculum Classroom (course #4802)
Early Childhood PBIS Preschool Modules (course # 202694)
Literacy Development in Early Childhood- TBA
For more information about the process and courses check out the Early Childhood Information Packet for all things Early Childhood Paraeducator Concentration Area!