On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush singed into law the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. One part of the law makes a number of changes in the qualifications for paraprofessionals who provide instructional support in programs supported by funds that come from Title 1 of ESEA. The No Child Left Behind Act requires that paraprofessionals who provide instructional support must now meet new qualifications standards.


You are considered to be providing this instructional support if you perform any of the following duties:

  • provide one-on-one tutoring, if the tutoring is scheduled at a time when the students would not otherwise receive instruction from a teacher;
  • assist with classroom management;
  • provide assistance in a computer laboratory;
  • conduct parental involvement activities;
  • provide support in a library or media center;
  • act as a translator; or
  • provide instructional services to students under the direct supervision of a teacher.

All paraprofessionals with instructional duties working in Title 1 programs are required under the law to be high school graduates or to have received its recognized equivalent. If you were hired after January 8, 2002, you must have fulfilled one of these requirements upon employment. Per the new provisions in the No Child Left Behind law, you must also:

  • complete at least two years of study at an institution of higher education;
  • obtain an associate's (or higher) degree; or
  • pass a 'rigorous' academic assessment demonstrating knowledge of, and the ability to assist in the instruction of, reading, writing, and mathematics (or reading, writing, and math readiness, as appropriate).

Of the three requirements for the qualifications of paraprofessionals, the 'academic assessment' option is one that many will opt for if they choose not to pursue an associate's degree or two years of higher education.

For more information regarding the new paraprofessional requirements, please click on this link to the NEA ESP webpage.