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

No, family members may not be paid by ESA relatives to instruct their child, but may be employed by other non-related ESA parents and families.

Can I hire a paraprofessional with ESA funds?

Yes, ESA statute allows parents to hire certified paraprofessionals. 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.

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


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).

 ADE requires parents to submit accreditation on behalf of the tutor for one of the following:

  • A state’s teaching certificate
  • National board certification
  • Individuals who completed teacher preparation in another state at an institution of higher education whose teacher preparation program has been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
  • A nationally accredited tutoring facility (a parent may submit the learning centers’ credentials in place of the individual tutor since they may be learning from multiple teachers).
  • Bachelor degree or higher in a subject area (e.g. literature, math, chemistry, geography, physical education, music, drama etc.), elementary education, secondary education, or special education.  *Please contact ESA Staff at 602-364-1969 or if you have questions regarding an individual’s degree.  Certain degrees can be approved on a case by case evaluation.
  • Substitute teaching certificates are only acceptable for tutors/ teachers that are teaching the core subjects (math, science, reading, grammar, & social studies).  A Substitute teacher cannot be used to teach PE, dance, music, etc.

Note: A parent must submit 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.