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A paraeducator is a school employee who works under the supervision of teachers or other licensed personnel. The ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of education and related service programs belongs to the supervising teacher or other licensed personnel. The paraeducator is the one whose position is either instructional in nature or who delivers other direct or indirect services to children, youth, and/or their parents.  Synonyms for the term paraeducator include paraprofessional, educational aide, instructional aide, or associate.

Appropriate Paraeducator Duties - Department of Education Matrix

Paraeducator Certification

Great Prairie AEA is an approved provider of the Paraeducator Generalist Certificate Program.  This certificate is a voluntary program supported by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners and the Iowa Department of Education.  The certificate requires successful completion of 90 hours of training.  The focus of paraeducator training includes behavior management, skills to work with students, and roles and responsibilities.

Great Prairie AEA offers the Paraeducator Generalist Certificate Program in three 30-hour courses.  The three required courses are Paraeducator Course I, Paraeducator Course II and Paraeducator Course III.  All three courses are blended format and involve an online component.  Participants also have the option to get Indian Hills Community College credit or Southeastern Community College credit for these courses.  To find upcoming classes and to register, please visit our course catalog.

Classes are generally offered in Ottumwa/Burlington (September-November) and Ottumwa/Burlington (February-May). 

Participants must successfully complete all three courses to apply for the Iowa Paraeducator Generalist Certificate.  All applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age and must have a high school diploma or graduate equivalent diploma (GED) and will need to provide verification.  Fingerprinting is required prior to submitting your application.  All applicants are required to undergo a DCI/FBI background check.  This is performed by the Board of Educational Examiners when the application is submitted.  The BOEE has a fee of $50, effective July 1, 2017,  for the generalist certificate and a fee of $75 for the background check. 

Pareducator and Level II information sheet

Course offerings through Kirkwood Community College to certify for Level II Generalization

Career & Transitional Programs Area of Concentration 

English as a Second Language (ESL) Area of Concentration

Paraeducator Certification Level II - Adding a Concentration Area to Paraeducator Certificate

Participants must successfully complete requirements of a Level II class.  Complete application, attach the $25.00 to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners and mail to Professional Development, 3601 West Ave, Burlington, Iowa 52601 to validate completion of course. Paperwork will be mailed directly to The Board of Educational Examiners for processing.

Application for Adding a Concentration Area to a Paraeducator Certificate

Paraeducator Certification Renewal

Paraeducator Certificates must be renewed every five years. Recertification coursework can be completed anytime during the five year certification period.  Three credits are needed to renew the certificate.  Guidelines for the credits are outlined in the top portion of the renewal application. Renewal application fee with the Iowa BOEE is $95.00, effective July 1, 2017.  Verification of completion of the mandatory child and dependent adult abuse class approved by the state abuse education review panel is also required.  To find upcoming classes and to register, please visit our course catalog.

Link to Iowa Board of Educational Examiners page for Paraeducator Certification online Renewal Application

Substitute Authorization for Paraeducators

An individual who holds a paraeducator certificate and completes the substitute authorization program is authorized to substitute only in the special education classroom in which the paraeducator is employed.  The special education classroom may be on the elementary, middle, junior high or high school level.  The Substitute Authorization is limited to no more than five consecutive days.  To find upcoming classes and to register, please visit our course catalog.

Iowa Department of Education Paraeducator Resources

To visit the Iowa Department of Education site, please click here.

Guide to Effective Paraeducator Practices Edition II by the Iowa Department of Education

Appropriate Paraeducator Duties - Department of Education Matrix

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