Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to go through the training if I hold a bachelor’s degree or higher?

Yes, all paraeducators regardless of education/experience must complete the Fundamental Course of Study and certificate program.

What if I hold an education certificate? Do I need to complete the General Certificate training program?

For the Fundamental Course of Study – All paraeducators must complete the 28 hour course regardless of certification or education.

For the General Certificate – If you hold a valid education certificate (Teacher, CTE, First People’s Language/Culture, Educational Staff Associate (ESA) or Administrator), you do not need to complete the General Ed or Subject Matter Certificate programs–you are considered to have met the requirement for 70 continuing education credit hours. (You DO need to complete the Fundamental Course of Study program).

**If you only hold a limited certificate (such as conditional, emergency substitute, intern substitute teacher, transitional or substitute), you do need to complete the General Ed certificate program (and Subject Matter Certificate program, if interested).

If I am hired from another school district, will my training hours transfer to Bellingham Public Schools?

Yes, courses will be tracked in the eCert system; paraeducators will not lose training hours provided they completed the course.

Are training requirements different if I work less hours than a colleague?

No, if a paraeducator is providing instruction to students, they will need to complete all of the required trainings regardless of work hours per day.

Will there be any tests?

No tests will be given–paraeducators need to attend the training to receive the clock hour credit. Paraeducators who complete the trainings will be awarded a certificate of completion for the Fundamental Course of Study program.

There’s so much paperwork, how will it be tracked/managed?

Once all 28 hours of FCS have been completed, Paraeducators will need to complete the Continuing Education Credit Hours (Clock Hours) form for the Fundamental Course of Study. Submit the clock hour form to Human Resources for processing.

Once signed by the HR Director, the clock hour form will be scan/emailed to the employee for their files. The district also maintains a database of courses completed by employees.

Employees will complete additional pay forms for hours worked beyond their normal contracted workday. See Skyward Time Sheet Instructions.


General Paraeducator Certificate (GPC)

How do I document training/clock hour completions for the General Paraeducator Certificate?

Trainings must be provided by an approved clock hour provider; following training completion, the paraeducator will need to complete the clock hour form and submit to Cindy Thompson to process. Once it has been verified, the clock hour form will be returned to the employee.

If taking a course through HRMplus, you must complete the evaluation form within the 14-day window to receive credit. A paraeducator may download the clock hour report form approximately 3 weeks after the course.

How to Access Clock Hour Report Form in HRMplus:

  1. Log into HRMplus ProvDev
  2. Go to My Records, Reports
  3. Click on the drop-down box and select the Individual Course Clock Hour report
  4. Select the completed course
  5. Click Preview – if you unable to view the report, you may need to clear the pop-up blocker

Note: If your attendance has not been verified by the instructor and/or you have not completed the evaluation for the course, you will not see this course on the list. To complete an evaluation, go to My Records, My Courses. If you have completed an evaluation, a green icon will appear for that course in the EVAL column. If you do not see the green icon, then either the course end date has not occurred or you did not complete the evaluation by the required due date–and you will not be eligible to receive clock hours for the course.

In addition, paraeducators must enter clock hours in their e-cert account; in the e-cert panel labeled ‘educator professional development hours’, there is a drop-down menu where educators can choose credits or clock hours.

How do I enter college credits towards the General Certificate (GPC)?

Any college credits (100 level or higher) taken on/after July 1, 2019 can be used towards their general certificate. However, any course taken to satisfy the Fundamental Course of Study may not be used towards the GPC.  Paraeducators must enter their credits similar to entering clock hours and should maintain transcripts showing credits earned.

Does the General Certificate expire?

No. Once a paraeducator completes their General Certificate, it will cost $74 to receive the certificate–this is a one-time cost.

What if I resign my position in Bellingham Public Schools to work in another school district before I complete the General Certificate program?

It is the responsibility of the paraeducator to track and record training completions in their e-cert account–if recorded in e-cert, the training will follow the paraeducator.


Subject Matter Certificates

Do Subject Matter certificate completions count towards the General Certificate?

Yes! Each Subject Matter Certificate equals 20 hours of training and counts towards the 70 hour requirement for the General Certificate. The paraeducator will then only have to complete 50 hours of training for the General Certificate. If the paraeducators completes both Subject Matter Certificate programs (ELL and Special Education – a value of 40 hours), they will only need to complete 30 hours of training for the General Certificate.

Embedding the certificates is an excellent opportunity to meet the required hours AND receive focused training in a subject area. Note! Each course is 20 hours – the modules are time-driven. If you rush/skip through, you will only receive credit for the time you spent in the program.

Is there a cost associated with the Subject Matter Certificate?

Yes, the fee is $54 for each certificate ($108 if you complete both); once the hours have been earned, the fee is assessed through the e-Cert account when the paraeducator applies for a certificate.

Are there different documentation requirements for the Subject Matter Certificates?

Yes, the paraeducator will need to complete the Subject Matter Clock Hour form (similar to the Fundamental Course of Study form).  You can find the Subject Matter Clock Hour form.

Do Subject Matter certificates expire?

Yes, they are valid for five years; the application for renewal must be submitted during the last year of the currently valid certificate. Expired certificates may be renewed with completion of 20 clock hours within the previous five years from the date of the renewal application.