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The federal "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2002 instituted standards that all paraprofessionals employed in school districts -- namely teacher and educational aides -- must meet. In addition, the Texas Education Agency has its own specific requirements if you wish to be certified as a teacher's aide. You can achieve certification as an "Educational Aide I," "Educational Aide II" or "Educational Aide III," depending on the education and experience you've attained. As you achieve higher levels of certification, your work responsibilities as a teacher's aide grow.
Complete your high school diploma or its educational equivalent, such as the GED.
Enroll in college and complete either an associate or higher degree, or at least 48 semester hours of college coursework. Complete at least some coursework in child growth and development or related areas if you wish to eventually qualify for Texas' "Educational II" or "Educational III" certificate. In lieu of college, contact the school district in which you plan to work and ask which state or local academic assessment you can take that demonstrates your knowledge and/or ability to assist in the instruction of reading, writing and math. For example, some school districts may allow you to take and pass the ParaPro Assessment test offered by Educational Testing Service.
Seek employment or volunteer experience in a setting that allows you to work with students or parents before you apply for work as a teacher's aide. For example, you may work in a church-related or private school, a day camp or youth group, or in a licensed day care center. Contact the school district before you gain this experience and ask if it meets the district's approval.
Apply for a teacher's aide position in your desired school district. Complete the requirements for employment, such as submitting fingerprints and information for a background check.
Consult with your employing school district on how you can fulfill eligibility requirements for educational aide certification. In Texas, your school district must "recommend" you for certification before you can apply. In some cases, you may need to meet additional requirements of your school district.
Set up an account on the Texas Educational Agency's (TEA) website (see Resources) after your employing school district has recommended you for educational aide certification. Select "Educator Login" from the TEA website and "Create New Account." Submit the online application for the educational aide certification for which you qualify (e.g., Educational I, II or III certificate).
- Texas Education Agency; Guidance for the Implementation of Paraprofessional Requirements Under Title I, Part A; July 2008
- Texas Education Agency; Becoming an Educational Aide in Texas; July 2010
- Texas Classroom Teachers Association; Analysis of The Federal No Child Left Behind Act (Also Known As ESEA); February 2011
- Texas Education Agency; Educational Aide Application Instructions; July 2010
- Texas Classroom Teachers Association; USDE and TEA Guidance on Paraprofessionals Under the NCLB Act; June 2011
- Association of Texas Professional Educators: Educational Aide Certification Requirements and Role Descriptions
Matthew Schieltz has been a freelance web writer since August 2006, and has experience writing a variety of informational articles, how-to guides, website and e-book content for organizations such as Demand Studios. Schieltz holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He plans to pursue graduate school in clinical psychology.