Changes made to ESA certification


Changes made to ESA certification

August 9, 2019

BULLETIN NO. 03-2019


( X ) Action required


( X ) Informational


Educational staff associates (ESAs) play a vital role in serving our students. At the July 2019 board meeting, PESB approved several changes to ESA certification policy.

What are some of the new policy changes?

New ESA certificate

The board approved a new ESA certificate role: school behavior analyst. For more information on how educators can obtain this new certificate, please visit our website

Certificate renewal requirements

Initial and continuing certificates

Initial and continuing ESA certificate roles include school behavior analysts, school nurses, school occupational therapists (OTs), school physical therapists (PTs), school social workers, and school speech language pathologists/audiologists.

  • These certificates can be renewed every five years.
  • Previously, there were no clock hours required for reissuance of an initial certificate. Initial certificates now have a renewal requirements of 100 clock hours or equivalent in credits or professional growth plans (PGPs) for applications received beginning September 1, 2020.
  • Completion of a three-hour course in suicide prevention is required for renewal of school counselor, school psychologist, school nurse, and school social worker certificates. View approved courses
    • Required for initial certificate renewal for applications received beginning September 1, 2020. This requirement is already in place for continuing certificates in these roles.
  • Valid DOH license required for school nurses, OTs, and PTs. Valid BCBA required for behavior analysts.

School counselors and school psychologists

The residency and professional ESA certificate requires completion of an approved preparation program and can be renewed every five years with:

  • 100 clock hours or the equivalent in credits or PGPs
    • Clock hours or equivalent must be aligned to the school counselor or school psychologist domains.
  • Suicide prevention training: required for residency certificate renewal beginning September 1, 2020. This requirement is already in place for professional certificates in these roles.

For all ESA roles and certificates

A valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), or National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) may be used in place of the clock hour requirement for certificate renewal.

Learn more