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What are the Requirements for Paraprofessionals?

The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Every Student Succeeds Act or ESSA), grants states and local education agencies the authority to determine the minimum necessary qualifications for teachers and paraprofessionals working directly with students.

Michigan paraprofessionals are required to hold a high school diploma (or equivalent), regardless of their assignment, under Michigan law. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) does not issue a certificate or license for paraprofessionals. Additional requirements for the employment of a paraprofessional may be determined by the employing school district, public school academy, or non-public school.

As partners in the instructional process, paraprofessionals who work in programs supported with Title I funds must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Completion of two years of study or more at an institution of higher education (equal to 60 semester hours);
  2. Obtain an associate’s degree or higher;
  3. Meet a rigorous standard of quality and demonstrate, through a formal state or local academic assessment:
  • Knowledge of, and the ability to assist in, instructing reading, writing, and mathematics; 


  • Knowledge of, and the ability to assist in, instructing reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness, as appropriate.

       4.  The Michigan Board of Education has approved the following formal assessments by which a
            paraprofessional can demonstrate knowledge to meet standard #3:

  • ETS ParaPro Assessment with a passing score of 460.
  • Michigan Test for Teacher Certification – Basic Skills (MTTC)
  • WorkKeys® through June 1, 2017. After June 1, 2017, MDE recommends the use of the other credit or assessment options. Anyone that has passed the Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Writing portions of the WorkKeys® prior to June 1, 2017 will still meet the state requirements.

Please note these are minimum certification requirements and districts may have additional requirements as part of their terms of employment. Please contact the district directly to determine what requirements are needed for employment.


Paraprofessional Testing

The Macomb Intermediate School District administers the ETS ParaPro Assessment to anyone wishing to fulfill the requirements of a Title I paraprofessional. The assessment measures the skills and knowledge in reading, writing, and math possessed by prospective and practicing paraprofessionals. It also measures their ability to apply those skills and knowledge when assisting in classroom instruction.

All portions of the assessment are computer based and administered on the same day. It takes approximately 2 ½ hours to complete the test. The test has 90 multiple-choice questions, approximately two-thirds of which focus on basic skills and knowledge. The remaining one-third focus on applying skills in the classroom. All test questions are in English.

The state of Michigan established a minimum passing score of 460; districts can require a higher passing score. 

Successful completion of these tests does not guarantee employment. Please check with your district or potential employer for additional information regarding hiring requirements.

What Can I Do to Prepare For the Test?

Participants have the option of attending the ETS ParaPro Assessment workshop to prepare for the test. All materials and resources are included in the fee for the workshop. The workshop will include the following:

  • A general overview of the assessment including what to expect on the day of the test
  • Specific content and practice related to the reading, writing, and math portions of the test
  • Study skills to prepare for the test
  • Materials developed by ETS to prepare for the test

This is an optional component and is not required in order to take the ETS ParaPro Assessment.

You may also access the ETS ParaPro Assessment website to download free materials. These materials are included in the registration fee for the optional workshop.

A 90-day paid subscription to the practice test is available on the ETS ParaPro Assessment website for $19.95 (see access link above). This practice test is not included in the optional workshop fee.  

Registration and full payment for the workshop is required prior to attendance.

You may access registration for the ETS ParaPro Assessment workshop here.

When is the Test Given?

Testing dates are held throughout the year. View the schedule of dates.

Registration and full payment for the ETS ParaPro Assessment is required prior to attendance.

You will receive an email confirmation outlining the testing guidelines. The Macomb Intermediate School District has the right to refuse admittance on the day of testing should a participant not adhere to the guidelines provided.

Those needing specific accommodations due to a disability or a health-related need will be responsible for contacting ETS to arrange for approved accommodations. The ParaPro Assessment Information Bulletin outlines the procedures for requesting accommodations in addition to important information for all test-takers. View the bulletin here.