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ESP Professional Growth Continuum

Advancing the professional learning and growth of education support professionals throughout their careers

The ESP Professional Growth Continuum (PGC) is a first-of-its-kind framework to help education support professionals (ESPs) raise their professional standing at every stage of their career. The continuum model reflects the current skill levels of an ESP and provides a path to attaining further knowledge and mastery as indicated within eight universal standards.

Each standard contains three levels of practice—foundational, proficient, and advanced/mastery—and applies to all career families.   

ESP Professional Growth Continuum Cover

The Eight Universal Standards

  • Communication
  • Cultural Competence
  • Organization
  • Reporting
  • Ethics
  • Health and Safety
  • Technology
  • Professionalism

The Standards span across all career families and provide ESPs with:  

  • a way to identify skills, knowledge, experience, and responsibility they bring to the job and want to strengthen to better serve their community, students, and school;  

  • the language to describe their value and contributions to the school, district, or worksite with peers, supervisors, and school leadership;  

  • guidance on how to advance their skill set through leadership, mentorship, serving as a peer role model; and 

  • a Standards-based demonstration of skills and knowledge that can be used to bargain for: time, space, and money for professional development; paid professional development; continuing education credits; and movement on a salary scale (e.g., increased pay or stipends).       

ESP Professional Growth graphic

Implement the PGC Standards into Your Professional Practice

  • Take a look at the Standards for your career family. (Download below)

  • Contact your association to see what opportunities you have on using the Standards. 

  • Pursue NEA’s PGC micro-credentials. Through this digital learning opportunity, ESPs will demonstrate how they apply the Standards in their jobs.  

Kimberly Scott-Hayden
It gives you an opportunity to show your district that you are an important stakeholder in your career development. You can use PGC to bargain, as leverage to increase your salary, or for career advancement. It will cultivate leaders.
Quote by: Kimberly Scott-Hayden, Inventory Control Clerk

ESP Growth Continuum Micro-Credentials

Earn micro-credentials while learning how to use The Universal Standards and Levels of Practice in order to move along the continuum of professional growth.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.