There are 14 competencies which address paraeducator knowledge and skill needs for areas ranging from assisting with general instruction to providing life skills management assistance to students.  North Central ESD provides professional development opportunities to paraeducators and their teachers to ensure students are provided services and instruction through a team approach.  These competencies are for ongoing staff development and not necessarily a requirement for employment at this time.  Individual districts decide how to provide this training for their staff as well as how often.  Districts have different procedures on how to record competency completion and individual paraeducators need to keep certificates for their records.

Recommended Core Competencies for Washington State:

To work in education and related services programs for children and youth with disabilities, paraeducators will demonstrate:

  1. Understanding the value of providing instructional and other direct services to all children and youth with disabilities;
  2. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of certificated/licensed staff and paraeducators;
  3. Knowledge of (a) patterns of human development and milestones typically achieved at different ages, and (b) risk factors that may prohibit or impede typical development;
  4. Ability to practice ethical and professional standards of conduct, including the requirements of confidentiality;
  5. Ability to communicate with colleagues, follow instructions, and use problem solving and other skills that will enable the paraeducator to work as an effective member of the instructional team;
  6. Ability to provide positive behavioral support and management;
  7. Knowledge of the legal issues related to the education of children and youth with disabilities and their families;
  8. Awareness of diversity among the children, youth, families, and colleagues with whom they work;
  9. Knowledge and application of the elements of effective instruction to assist teaching and learning as developed by the certificated/licensed staff in a variety of settings;
  10. Ability to utilize appropriate strategies and techniques to provide instructional support in teaching and learning as developed by the certificated/licensed staff;
  11. Ability to motivate and assist children and youth;
  12. Knowledge of and ability to follow health, safety, and emergency procedures of the agency where they are employed;
  13. Awareness of the ways in which technology can assist teaching and learning; and
  14. Awareness of personal care and/or health related support.