Teacher Assistant Requirements in Rhode Island

Basic qualifications of instructional teacher assistants as established in state and federal law.

  • Be of good character as verified by the employer;
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete a training program approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) in compliance with RIDE teacher assistant program standards. The training program shall not be required of those persons employed as a teacher assistant in another Rhode Island school district prior to January 1, 1999, those who hold certification as a teacher assistant in another state, or those who hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and have completed coursework or other training consistent with the teacher assistant program standards developed by the department of elementary and secondary education.

Requirements to work in Title I School
NCLB’s Highly Qualified Standard applies as a requirement for all teacher assistants seeking employment in Title I schools. An instructional paraprofessional in a Title I schoolwide program or Title I targeted assistance program who is paid with Title I funds is required to meet at least one of following requirements in the state of Rhode Island:

  • Successfully complete at least two years (48 semester hours) of study at an institution of higher education
  • An associates degree from an accredited institution of higher education
  • Pass a state approved local assessment or pass with a minimum score of 461 on the ParaPro Assessment provided by the Educational Testing Service. For more information regarding the exam please see the ParaPro website or you may call ETS to request a registration bulletin at 1-800-772-9476.

Certification Requirements for All Instructional Paraprofessionals
Although teacher assistants do not need to be certified, they are required to be qualified. The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) ensures that teacher assistants are qualified through a process other than certification. This process includes:

  • Approving the pre-employment teacher assistant training programs that teacher assistants are required to take (for persons hired after January 1, 1999).
  • Requiring employers (school districts and related educational programs) to ensure that teacher assistants meet the above qualifications as established in state and federal law;
  • Having in place monitoring and enforcement procedures for ensuring that employers’ personnel policies and procedures comply with teacher assistant qualifications requirements.

Please see the Rhode Island Department of Education website to find out further information regarding teacher assistant quality standards.