Para Educator Partnership Benefits Local Districts

Great Prairie AEA has provided Para Educator certification courses for 11 years, but this spring we partnered with Southeastern Community College (SCC) and IowaWorks to offer credit and financial assistance.

Great Prairie AEA holds the Department of Education certification process to qualify participants for the Para Educator Certificate, SCC grants post-secondary credit (6 credits for three courses) for those classes, and IowaWorks helps fund qualifying candidates with scholarships. This partnership has benefited local school buildings, teachers and students. 

Para Educator Courses I, II and III are required for certification.  Courses are held at the Great Prairie AEA Burlington Office. All courses have an online component. There is an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check for a fee of $65 and a $40 license fee due upon completion of all three courses (when submitting application to the BOEE).

Register through GPAEA’s course catalog at www.gpaea.orgFor more information contact: Megan Cramblet, Great Prairie AEA, at 319-753-6561 ext. 1261 or

For information about financial assistance contact:
Debbie Dowell
IowaWORKS Region 16 Director
319-753-1671  ext. 31406

What is a Para Educator?

Para Educators, in partnership with other staff, support and enhance the education of children. They work under the supervision of teachers, who have the ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of education. 

Para Educators are assigned to students who have barriers to learning. They may work with small groups of children, or one on one and are often assigned job duties to free up teachers’ time for other instructional tasks.

Other terms:  paraprofessional, educational aide, associate, or instructional aide.

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