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Becoming a Paraprofessional

Requirements for Educational Assistants to Become Paraprofessionals

Federal Requirements for Paraprofessionals

A. Regardless of their date of hire, paraprofessionals working in a Title I program who provide instructional support must hold at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

B. Paraprofessionals hired on or after January 8, 2002, who provide instructional support in a Title I program, must have:

C. Paraprofessionals hired prior to January 8, 2002, must meet the above standards by January 8, 2006.

How New Mexico Meets Federal Requirements

All educational assistants (EAs) assisting in instruction in Title I programs must hold a New Mexico Level III Educational Assistant license.

How to Obtain Level III Educational Assistant (EA) Licensure

A. Minimum general requirements:

B. Applicants for Level III licensure must also meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Earn an associate's degree from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university that includes at last 15 semester hours in non-remedial degree coursework, as follows:
  • 3 hours of language arts/reading or language arts/reading pedagogy;
  • 3 hours of writing or writing pedagogy;
  • 3 hours of mathematics or mathematics pedagogy;
  • 6 hours of reading, writing, and math readiness, or professional education, or classroom management, teaching assistance, or special education; or

2. Complete forty-eight (48) semester hours of academic credit awarded by a nationally or regionally accredited college or university that includes at least 15 semester hours in non-remedial coursework, as follows:

  • 3 hours of language arts/reading or language arts/reading pedagogy;
  • 3 hours of writing or writing pedagogy;
  • 3 hours of mathematics or mathematics pedagogy;
  • 6 hours of reading, writing, and math readiness, or professional education, or classroom management, teaching assistance, or special education; or

3. Obtain a passing score of at least 70% on a locally administered test* that includes:

  • an assessment of basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics at an 8th grade level as established in the New Mexico Content Standards and Benchmarks for Language Arts and Mathematics; and
  • an assessment of the ability to assist in instruction in reading, writing, and mathematics, which may include knowledge of professional education practices, or classroom management, or teaching assistance techniques, and
  • a sufficient number of high quality, reliable test items that demonstrate that the test is a valid measure of competence and knowledge.

     

    *The Public Education Department will approve local school district's tests for educational assistants.

4. A fourth option is possible only if the educational assistant was hired prior to January 8, 2002. A local district may administer a portfolio assessment for the purpose of determining if an EA/paraprofessional has sufficient knowledge and ability to assist in instruction in reading/language arts, writing, and mathematics; or reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness, provided that the portfolio assessment demonstrates items from among the following:

  • lesson/unit plans, projects, samples of student work/portfolios, teaching aids, multi-media materials, and visuals;

  • evidence, which could include use of videotaped lessons, that the EA/paraprofessional understands the reading, writing, and mathematics concepts identified in New Mexico Standards and Benchmarks for the grade level at which he/she assists or intends to assist in instruction;

  • a copy of classroom management plans, discipline referral forms, rules, photos, charts, posters, letters of appreciation from parents, certificates of achievement, completion of training certificates, case studies, observation reports;

  • evidence of ability to help students use instructional resources, hands-on materials, and technology.

A portfolio assessment may be conducted by:

1. the principal of the school where the EA/paraprofessional is employed forming a portfolio assessment team of at least 3 members, two of whom must be licensed teachers – one chosen by the EA and the other by the principal – and a licensed administrator agreed upon by the principal and EA/paraprofessional; or

2. completion of a class in EA portfolio preparation and assessment with a grade of “C” or better at a regionally or nationally accredited college or university.

See 6.63.9 NMAC, Licensure of Educational Assistant

CLICK HERE for Professional Licensure Information from the New Mexico Public Education Department

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