No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires that paraprofessionals hired by a Local Education Agency (LEA) after January 8, 2002, meet one of the following qualifications if the paraprofessional will perform instructional duties in a Title I, Part A program:
- have completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education [defined as completion of 48 semester hours (or equivalent trimester hours) of college coursework or an applicable number of semester hours as defined by the institution of higher education attended, whichever is less]; or
- have obtained an associate’s (or higher) degree; or
- have met a rigorous standard of quality and can demonstrate, through a formal state or local academic assessment
- knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing, reading, writing, and mathematics; or
- knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing, reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness, as appropriate.
For the purpose of Title I, Part USDE guidance defines a paraprofessional as an employee of an LEA who provides instructional support in a program supported with Title I, Part A funds. LEAs are prohibited from assigning any paraprofessional who does not meet the qualification requirements to a program support with Title I funds. Also, Title I paraprofessionals must work under the supervision of, and in close proximity to, a highly qualified teacher on campus.
For the 2010-2011 school year and beyond, the LEA must remove, or reassign to another non-Title I campus, any non-qualified paraprofessionals from Title I programs immediately.