Washington State Recommended Core Competencies for Paraeducators

The Washington State Recommended Core Competencies for Paraeducators were developed to meet federal requirements mandating qualifications and training for special education paraeducators and the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 392-172A-02090 (f). Implementation of the core competencies provides compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004 and WAC 392-172A-02090 adoption of October 25, 2013.

These core competencies are different from the Title I Paraeducator requirements. Title I requirements specifically mandate knowledge and ability in reading, writing, mathematics, and assisting with instruction in these specific subject areas. Washington State Recommended Core Competencies for Paraeducators (9, 10, and 11) addresses assisting with instruction, but only in general terms. Thus, the Washington State Recommended Core Competencies cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of ESEA Title I Requirements.

Special Education Recommended Core Competencies

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 or 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.

Training Opportunities

As classified employees, local school districts are responsible for training paraeducators. However, Educational Service Districts (ESDs) also have training opportunities available. For more information about training opportunities in your region, please see:

NEWESD 101 (Spokane)
(509) 789-3800

ESD 105 (Yakima)
(509) 454-3102

ESD 112 (Vancouver)
(360) 750-7503

Capital Region ESD 113 (Tumwater)
(360) 464-6714

Olympic ESD 114 (Bremerton)
(360) 405-5801

PSESD 121 (Renton)
(425) 917-7600
(800) 664-4549

ESD 123 (Pasco)
(509) 547-8441

NCESD 171 (Wenatchee)
(509) 665-2621

NWESD 189 (Anacortes)
(360) 299-4000