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Wisconsin Special Education Paraprofessionals


Becoming a Paraprofessional

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Quotes from paraprofessionals in action



  • “Never having worked in a school setting I was a little hesitant but was made to feel welcome and immediately and became part of the team. I quickly found that there are so many of these kids that just need some help to keep focused and stay on track. This allows them to get the most out of their education and feel like they have support in the classroom. In some cases you may be one of the only trusted adults they can come to and talk about what is going on in their lives.”
  • “Supporting our students and staff is positively life changing! My life is enriched daily. There is no greater sense of community than serving our students and engaging with the entire student body.”

  • “I recently retired from a 35 year career in banking but felt like I wasn’t quite ready to stay home everyday. Over the years I taught Sunday School for 22 years and Junior Achievement for 11 years. I have always loved working with kids so I applied for a position as a Special Education Assistant. My husband is also retired so the school schedule allows us time to travel during breaks and summers.”

How to Become a Paraprofessional- Licensing Information

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Any person employed by a Wisconsin public school as a special education program aide must hold a Special Education Program Aide License issued by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) or another valid and current DPI license or permit. Special Education Program Aide licenses are valid for five years.

Note that the DPI does not license regular education classroom aides or paraprofessionals. Educators who hold a valid and current DPI license or permit may work as a special education program aide under their DPI license. The valid DPI license or permit is acceptable for state categorical aide reimbursement for districts.

IDEA 2004 Special Education Paraprofessional Requirements

Under IDEA 2004 612 (A)(14)(B), the Wisconsin Special Education Paraprofessional meets the state requirements of the law through obtaining a Special Education Program Aide License (0070).

Wisconsin Statutes

PI 34.34 (18) SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM AIDE LICENSE. Any person employed by a school district as a special education program aide shall hold a license under this subsection. A license as a special education program aide may be issued to an applicant who is at least 18 years of age and is recommended by the district administrator of the employing school district, the administrator of a CESA or his or her designated official to receive a license under this section.

PI 34.01 Definitions. (4) "Aide" means a school employee who works under the direct supervision of a licensed teacher in a school or district whose responsibilities include, but are not limited to, supporting the lesson plan of the licensed teacher, providing technical assistance to the teacher, helping with classroom control or management, and other duties as assigned. Aides may not serve as substitute teachers.

Additional Resources and Professional Development Opportunities