Starting next month, area teacher’s aids and those interested in working in education can now earn certification as a Para Educator through a program at SCC. They are in partnership with the Great Prairie Area Education Agency and IowaWORKS. Para educators work in the classroom to support learning with individuals or small groups under the direction of a teacher and provide assistance for children with special needs. The certificate training requires three separate classes for a total of six hours of college credit and classes are held both on-campus and with online coursework. The classes are flexible with portions available online to fit into schedules. Reports show that school districts favor para educators who are certified as those who aren’t. Though Iowa doesn’t require the certification, schools that receive Title 1 funding for their preschool programs do. This is also useful for those who are employed as uncertified teacher’s aids. The certification cost is $600; the certification exam and mandatory criminal background check are an additional $105. Participants may qualify for free tuition or financial aid. The next certification class begins on February 6th. Classes are Wednesday nights from 4 to 8:30 pm at the Burlington GPAEA offices with an online component as well. To register or learn more, contact the Great Prairie AEA at 753-6561.