Paraprofessional Certification in Texas

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Learn how to get certified as a paraprofessional in Texas. Explore your options for fulfilling the education and testing requirements, and find resources to help you pass some of the exams used for certification.

How Do I Get a Paraprofessional Certification in Texas?

If you are going to work as a paraprofessional in a Texas school that receives federal funding to support the needs of low-income students under Tile I, Part A of the No Child Left Behind Act, you will need to meet one of the certification requirements listed below:

  • Hold an associate's degree or have completed a minimum of 2 years of college coursework
  • Pass an assessment that indicates you are prepared to help students learn about reading, writing and mathematics

What Are My Options for Completing an Assessment?

Assessments are included in paraprofessional training programs offered by some school districts and college continuing education departments. These programs can be completed in a matter of days and typically cover child learning and development along with some of the strategies that can be used to help teach students basic academic skills. Successful program completion and eligibility for paraprofessional certification is contingent on passing the assessment exams administered during your training. Typically, a GED is required for program admission.

You can also opt to take a standardized test approved by your school district in order to fulfill the assessment requirement. Some school districts use locally developed exams, while others use national standardized tests. Two of these types of assessments are profiled below:

ParaPro Assessment

The ParaPro Assessment, developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), tests your knowledge of:

  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Writing

The exam is computer based and includes 90 multiple-choice questions. You'll have up to two and a half hours to complete the entire assessment. Each school district determines the minimum passing score they will accept. Passing scores in Texas range from 455-467. You can find out the exact score cut-off for your area on the ETS website (www.ets.org). You will be able to see your unofficial score directly after finishing the exam, and your official score will be received by your school district in 2-3 weeks.

You will need to register for this exam through the testing center closest to you. There are a handful of testing locations in Texas. You can access a full list of your choices on the ETS website. You will need to pay a testing fee of $55 before you can take the test. You may purchase additional copies of your score for $50 each.

ACT WorkKeys

In order to complete your assessment through WorkKeys, you will need to take three tests:

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Reading for Information
  • Business Writing

These exams may be available in computer- or paper-based formats. The math and reading exams each include 33 questions to be completed in around 50 minutes of testing time. The business writing test consists of a prompt; you will have 30 minutes to develop a response. You can pay for these tests separately or altogether. A directory of testing centers that offer these exams is available on the ACT website (www.act.org).

How Can I Prepare for These Assessments?

ETS offers a free study companion as well as a tutorial for the ParaPro exam. You can also purchase a practice test from ETS that will allow you to get experience answering the kinds of questions you will face on the ParaPro Exam. Similarly, ACT allows you to take practice tests and complete sample questions for the WorkKeys assessments.

You can also develop your abilities with these college-level reading and composition lessons. These short videos allow you to brush up on your language arts skills before you complete either test.

Checking out these lessons on general mathematics, probability and statistics and geometry can provide you with additional math help. All of these lessons are easy to understand, and you can get in contact with experts in these fields if you need help while you're preparing.

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