Can a family member or ESA card holder be a tutor, therapy provider, paraprofessional or aid if they’re qualified?

No, family members and ESA card holders may not be paid with ESA funds.

Can I hire a paraprofessional with ESA funds?

Yes, ESA statute allows parents to hire certified paraprofessionals for students with special needs. In order to qualify as a paraprofessional for the ESA program, parents must submit proof, on behalf of the paraprofessional/aide, to the Department. To qualify, one the following requirements must be met:

  • An Associate’s degree or higher OR
  • 60 semester hours of coursework documented on an official transcript from an accredited institution of higher education OR
  • Meet a rigorous standard of quality as demonstrated through the passage of a formal state assessment listed below:
    • Para Pro
    • ACT Workkeys
    • Master Teacher’s Para Educator Learning Network

For more information on taking the state assessment please contact:

Highly Qualified Professionals
Tel: (602) 364-1842



I want to hire a therapist(s) for my child, what does the program require I do?

Approved Expense: “Educational therapies or services for the qualified student from a licensed or accredited practitioner or provider” (ARS § 15-2402).

Much like a tutor, ADE requires parents seeking services to prove licensure or accreditation of their provider.  You must submit the therapy services agreement form to ESA staff in order to have a therapist approved for each student.

Please contact ESA staff if you have an accreditation questions or would like to submit a program evaluation email: [email protected]


What kind of accreditation does a ‘tutor’ need?

Approved Expense: “Tutoring services provided by a tutor accredited by a state, regional or national accrediting organization” (ARS 15-2402).

In order for a tutor to be approved by ESA, a tutor services agreement form and credentials must be submitted for each student.

For core subjects, ADE requires parents to submit accreditation on behalf of the tutor for one of the following:

For non-core subjects, ADE requires parents to submit accreditation on behalf of the tutor for one of the following:

  • A state’s teaching certificate with requested subject endorsement (i.e.: dance, physical education, etc.)
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific subject area being taught, from an accredited University
  • An official or unofficial college transcript showing 24 credit hours in the specific subject area being taught.

Note: A parent must submit the tutor services agreement form and credentials for each tutor (or accredited facility) teaching their child only once. If services are discontinued and a new tutor is hired, new credentials are required to be submitted with the next quarter’s expense report.