Paraeducator Fundamental Course of Study


NEW PARAEDUCATORS! Fundamental Course of Study  (FCS)

The Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) is the core training developed to assist paraeducators working with students and their families.  Seven (7) hours of the FCS must be taught in-person; the remaining training hours may be provided online.


The district partnered with NWESD 189 who developed the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) courses, Units 1-12, through the online Canvas training platform. The Human Resources Office will register you for an account in NWESD/Canvas -- you will receive an email invitation to finalize your account and begin training.


The window for the FCS training modules during the 2022-2023 school year will open in August 2022 through June 30, 2023 -- paraeducators must complete the courses by June 30th to assure uninterrupted employment for the 2023-2024 school year.  Paraeducators  may complete the training modules during their contracted/paid time, if possible, additional pay is available (up to 28 hours) if you are unable to complete the training during your regular work day.  Submit training clock hour form no later than August 15, 2023.

  • FCS 01:  Intro to Cultural Identity and Diversity (4 clock hours)

  • FCS 02:  Methods of Educational and Instructional Support (4 clock hours)

  • FCS 03:  Technology Basics (2 clock hours)

  • FCS 04:  Using and Collecting Data (1 clock hour)

  • FCS 05:  District Orientation of Rules & Responsibilities (3 clock hours)

  • FCS 06:  Equity (3 clock hours)

  • FCS 07:  Behavior Management Strategies including de-escalation techniques (3 clock hours)

  • FCS 08:  Child & Adolescent Development (2 clock hours)

  • FCS 09:  Emergency & Health Safety (1 clock hour)

  • FCS 10:  Positive & Safe Learning Environment (3 clock hours)

  • FCS 11:  Communication Basics (2 clock hours)

  • FCS 12:  Communication Challenges (1 clock hour)


Remember! This is REQUIRED training for ALL paraeducators (returning and new) regardless of post-secondary degree or experience.


In-Person Training Opportunities for New Employees - register through pdEnroller


Tell Me More-Fundamental Course of Study

  • When do the FCS trainings need to be completed for 2023-2024 school year?

    • by June 30, 2024

  • Where do I find the Clock Hour form?

    • It is located below under Forms below or included with emails regarding training opportunities (or you may email Ashleigh Hollmann)

  • Will I get paid for training?

    • Yes, if training is completed outside the paraeducator's work day.

  • How will I know if I have completed training?

    • Paraeducators who have completed the Fundamental Course of Study (28 hours) will receive a Certificate of Completion as well as the original clock hour forms.  The original clock hour forms must be retained by the paraeducator.  Paraeducators will also receive instructions to set up their EDS/eCert account which will be used to record General Paraeducator Certificate and Subject Matter Certificate training.


Forms, Links & Additional Resources

FCS Clock Hour Report Form

MVSD Additional Pay Form

Paraeducators: What We Do Matters Journal

Click here to learn about the Apprenticeship Program

Tools for Success: A Paraeducator's Guide to Special Education Support

Website: Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB)



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 a 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 Mount Vernon?

Yes--courses will be tracked in the EDS/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.

  • How do I complete the online trainings if I don't have a computer at home?

You may be able to access and/or check out a Chromebook from your school. Check with your building administrator.


  • There's so much paperwork - how will it be tracked/managed?

Paraeducators will need to complete Section 1 of the Continuing Education Credit Hours (Clock Hours) form for the Fundamental Course of Study. Submit the clock hour form to Grace Arnold, Personnel for processing.

Once signed by Jon Ronngren, the ORIGINAL clock hour form will be held by the personnel office until completion of 28 hours. The district will also maintain a database of courses completed by employees. Upon completion of the 28 hour Fundamental Course of Study, the district will issue a Certificate of Completion and send original clock hour forms to employee for their files; a copy will be maintained in the employee's personnel file.

Employees will complete additional pay forms for hours worked beyond their normal contracted work day. Submit the additional pay form to Grace Arnold, Personnel.


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

Trainings must be provided by an approved clock hour provider; following training completion, the paraeducator will need to download/sign the clock hour form (titled Transcript) and submit to Grace Arnold to process.

  • How do I enter college credits towards the General Certificate?

Any college credits (100 level or higher) taken on/after July 1, 2019 can be used towards their general certificate. 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 Mount Vernon to work in another school district before I complete the General Certificate program?

It is the responsibility of the paraeducator (with the help of the school district) to track and record training completions in their e-cert account--if recorded in e-cert, the training will follow the paraeducator.


  • 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 EDS/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).

  • Do Subject Matter certificates expire?

Yes - they are valid for 5 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.

If the paraeducator does not apply for the Subject Matter Certificate and it is embedded in the General Certificate training hours, then the paraeducator does not need to re-do the Subject Matter training program -- it only becomes invalid if they apply and obtain for the specific subject matter certificate through OSPI.


Additional FAQ's - Professional Educator Standards Board