Certification for Paraprofessional Educators in Georgia

Read on for an overview of the credentialing process for paraprofessional educators in Georgia. Get the facts on the required education, examination, and salary potential. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Info for Georgia Paraprofessional Educators

Paraprofessionals assist teachers or other professionals in the execution of educational programs and may be involved in tutoring, providing parent council, or conducing other teaching assistant duties. The state of Georgia requires all paraprofessionals to hold a valid license, which is issued by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and is valid for five years. The table below provides a summary of Georgia paraprofessional requirements.

Education Required Minimum high school diploma or equivalent
Exam Requirements GACE Paraprofessional Assessment for some applicants
Certification Renewal Period 5 years
CEU Credits Required for Renewal None
Average Salary (2018) $21,770 (for all Georgia teacher assistants)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% growth (for teacher assistants nationwide)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

In order to be eligible for a Georgia paraprofessional license, you must have an associate's degree (or higher) from an accredited institution or at least two years of college credits (which is measured as at least 60 semester hours of completed courses). There are no requirements on the course topics or degree areas of study.

GACE Examination and Paraprofessional Preparation Program Requirements

If you have not completed at least 60 semester hours of college education and have a high school diploma or equivalent, you can still be eligible for a paraprofessional license by completing the GACE Paraprofessional Assessment.

The GACE examination is composed of three sections evaluating a candidate's skills in math, reading and writing. It is available from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in several testing locations in the state. Visit its website for instructions on registering for the exam. Online study guides and interactive tutorials are also available for free on the ETS website.

Aspiring paraprofessionals also have the option of completing a Paraprofessional Preparation Program approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Several of these programs are offered across the state. Check the Georgia Professional Standards Commission website for more information on the available programs, registration instructions and locations.

Employment Requirements

In order to begin the licensing process, you must first secure employment for any paraprofessional position in a Georgia public school. The state permits schools to hire unlicensed paraprofessional educators as long as they have successfully met all the applicable requirements. Once hired, schools begin the licensing application process through the Georgia Professional Standards Commission on behalf of their employees (as the commission does not process licensing applications from individual candidates).

Once approved, licenses are valid for a period of five years. The paraprofessional license can be used for any paraprofessional position, as there are no specific designations for area of study or grade level. License renewals are also processed directly by employers.

Salary Expectations and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups all paraprofessional educators under the category of teacher assistants. In 2018, an average annual salary of $28,750 was estimated for all teacher assistants nationally. The average salary estimate for this category in the state of Georgia is slightly lower at $21,770. The projected growth in employment opportunities for the same category is 8% nationwide between 2016 and 2026.

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