How to Become a Substitute Teacher
If you have ever been a substitute teacher, you know that this job presents a unique set of challenges. But, really, a substitute is essential to the success of a school, and learning strategies to bring order and learning to a class whose teacher is out is invaluable. You must choose the tone that you bring to the class, the focus of instruction, and the excellence of learning that you require from the students.
If you want to serve as a substitute teacher in America, keep reading.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Alabama
To become employed as a substitute educator in Alabama, you don’t need a teacher’s license, but you require a high school diploma or high school equivalent. You’ll also need to pay a $30 fee and application packet verifying these other requirements:
- Background check
- Eligibility to work in the United States
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Alaska
There is no formal licensure process in Alaska to become a substitute educator. Instead, job-seekers should apply directly to districts and comply with their requirements. Most districts require applicants to have at least a 4-year degree, and they may also ask for:
- Evidence of classroom experience
- Fingerprinting and background check
- Letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Arizona
You don’t need an instructional license to be a substitute educator in Arizona. If you have a 4-year degree from an accredited school and meet these additional qualifications, you can apply to substitute:
- Completed application plus $60 fee
- Official transcript(s)
- A copy of your Arizona Department of Public Safety Identity Verified Prints fingerprint card
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Arkansas
The state of Arkansas requires prospective substitute educators to have a high school diploma or high school equivalent plus a completed background check. Some school districts may require some college credits and completion of training or observation time. Suppose you become employed as a substitute and remain employed for more than 30 days. In that case, your school district will need to submit a licensure exception for you to continue teaching without a license.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in California
California calls all of their substitutes “emergency substitutes,” while other states only use “emergency” about truly unexpected situations. There are several substitute educator permits you can apply for in California; it just depends on your qualifications:
Emergency 30-Day Substitute Permit: This option is only for daily substitute teaching and requires the following:
- Official transcripts showing you’ve earned a 4-year or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Meeting basic skills requirement
Emergency Substitute Permit for Teachers: This permit is for people who have not earned a 4-year or higher degree and requires:
- Completion of at least of 90-semester units from a regionally accredited four-year institution
- Verification of enrollment in an accredited teacher prep program
- Meeting the basic skills requirement
Emergency Career Substitute Permit: This option is for those with 3+ years of substitute teaching in California and requires:
- Official transcripts showing you’ve earned a 4-year or higher degree from an accredited institution
- Meeting the basic skills requirement
- Verification of past classroom experience
- Statement of endorsement signed by the highest-ranking official in the district
Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Permit: For substitute educators in career technical education to stay employed for up to 30 days, they have to meet the following requirements:
- A high school diploma or an equivalent
- Three or more years of work experience
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Colorado
Colorado gives one-year, three-year, and five-year authorizations that permit you to work as a substitute educator. The one-year authorization requires you to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, and while you can renew it, not all school districts will accept it. The three-year authorization requires a 4-year degree from an accredited school, and the five-year authorization requires a current or expired Colorado instructional license or license.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Connecticut
You’ll need a 4-year degree and a strong background in your subject of choice to become a substitute educator in Connecticut, although requirements vary by the school district. Typically, substitutes must pass a background check before being employed and work up to 40 days per year without a valid teacher’s license.
The pay for subs varies by the school district. For instance, in the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS), you’ll get $155 per day as a sub, while other district rates start at $120 a day.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher Delaware
Requirements for substitute educators in Delaware are set at the district level, so it’s a good idea to speak with the district where you want to work for a list of requirements. You can expect each district to do a background check on you, and districts require at least a high school diploma for consideration.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Florida
The requirements for substituting in Florida are governed by the district and not set by the state’s department of education. At at least, you’ll need to show proof of both a background check and a high school diploma.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Georgia
Georgia employs substitute educators in priority order according to an applicant’s licensure. While the baseline requirement is a high school diploma and the passage of a background check, many schools prefer that you possess a valid teacher license. The preference order for hiring includes:
- Holding a valid teacher licensure in-field
- Holding a valid teacher licensure
- 4-year degree or higher
- High school diploma or high school equivalent license
Most substitute educators have a 45-day limit in one classroom, but those teaching without a license can work no more than 10 days.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher Hawaii
To be a substitute educator in Hawaii, you can apply to the school you’re interested in, and you’ll need to reapply each year. To be considered, you must possess a 4-year degree, and the state prioritizes the hiring of any teachers with a license or license. You’ll need to complete some other requirements:
- Complete a statewide substitute educator class
- Pass a background check
- Submit official transcripts
Substitute teachers enjoy a better wage than many states; they can earn between $151 to $178 per day, depending on their licensure and experience.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Idaho
Idaho districts set the standards for their substitutes, requiring that you be 21 years old, have at least a high school diploma, and finish school-required training. Many schools will also require that you be available for a specific number of days each year, and you’ll be asked to pass a fingerprinting and background check.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Illinois
To get a substitute license in Illinois, you must possess a 4-year degree or higher from an accredited higher ed institution. Licenses are valid for 5 years and can be renewed. The state requires you to finish short-term substitute training before you can start.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Indiana
Employers in Indiana screen candidates for a substitute teaching license, which is valid for 1 school year. To be eligible, you must meet these minimum requirements before you can apply for licensure online:
- Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Meet the requirements of the school employer
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Iowa
The state of Iowa gives a renewable 5-year substitute license to teachers with a valid or expired teacher credential, enabling them to teach for up to 90 consecutive days. Iowa also offers a non-renewable two-year license for individuals over 21 enrolled in a teacher prep program in the state. You must be a junior/senior and be recommended an administrator in your program. For candidates who do not have and are not pursuing teaching licensure or degree, 5-year substitute authorizations are available to those with a 4-year or higher and complete a substitute authorization course.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Kansas
In Kansas, you must finish a teacher prep program to become a substitute educator. The state also allows districts to hire subs with an emergency license to fill positions in areas of need, which is valid for the year. To apply for this license, you must possess a 4-year degree in your subject of choice. All substitute educators in Kansas also need to submit a fingerprint card for consideration.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Kentucky
Kentucky issues either a standard five-year license or an emergency license to its substitute educators. To qualify for the five-year license, you need a B.A. in a teacher preparation program and either a Kentucky instructional license (current or expired) or a valid out-of-state instructional license.
Schools eligible for an emergency substitute can hire individuals with a 4-year degree from an accredited institution or individuals with at least 64 semester hours and a 2.5 minimum GPA. You can renew your five-year substitute licensure by submitting the application and licensure fee.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Louisiana
In Louisiana, the qualifications for becoming a substitute educator vary from district to district. You can apply for jobs with a high school diploma and the passage of background check; most schools will also ask the following of you:
- A 4-year degree or higher with at least a GPA of 2.5
- Classroom experience or hours taken in a teacher prep program or related training program
- Completion of state competency or subject-matter tests
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Maine
Maine districts set the standards for subs. State law requires just a high school diploma to substitute; most schools want candidates with some college education. Maine has a teacher shortage, and some districts like Portland Public Schools are incentivizing substitute educators with different pay rates based on their licensures. In PPS, subs with A.A. degrees earn $85 per day, those with 4-year degrees are paid $95 per day, and licensed educators receive $100 per day.
Other requirements that prospective substitute educators will need to meet:
- Complete orientation, training, or observation time
- Have previous classroom experience
- Complete background checks or fingerprint cards
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Maryland
School districts set the standards for substitute educators in Maryland, but most require the following:
- High school diploma or higher (associate or 4-year degrees are preferred)
- Completed background check
- Be at least 18 years old
- Submit an online application
- Provide recommendations
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Department of Education doesn’t dictate the standards for subs and leaves hiring processes up to the school districts. However, you do need a 4-year degree to work as a substitute educator, and most districts require at least one of the following licensures:
- An instructional license (in Massachusetts or another state)
- 2+ years of teaching experience
- Completed background check
- Completion of a school-mandated training course
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Michigan
In Michigan, substitute educators are issued permits to teach for different time amounts, and the requirements for each differ:
Daily Substitute Permit: Used for daily assignments, this permit requires that you have at least 60 semester hours of coursework from an accredited 2 or 4-year school. These permits can be used once in a 90-day time frame but can be extended if the school does a formal observation and assigns the substitute a mentor.
Full-Year BASIC Substitute Permit: The BASIC permit dictates that subs have 60 semester hours or more of college coursework and a major comparable to the subject area they want to teach or a state-approved test for that subject. The school is required to provide mentors to these substitutes, and they can renew their permit up to 3 times with either effective or higher ratings or courses earned toward a teacher preparation degree.
Full-Year SHORTAGE Substitute Permit: This permit allows teachers who have finished a teacher’s license and endorsement to teach as a sub at 0.5 FTE. This permit can be renewed up to 3 times.
Expert Substitute Permit: This permit is for individuals who have the expertise and enables up to 0.5 FTE employment as substitute educators.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Minnesota
Substitutes in Minnesota need at least a 4-year degree and enrollment in a teacher prep program to apply for a Short-Call License, which is good for three years. Retired teachers might obtain the Lifetime Substitute License if they held a Tier 3 or Tier 4 license.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Mississippi
There are no license requirements for substitute educators in Mississippi, so check with the district you want to work in to see what qualifications they’re looking for in a sub. Along with a fingerprint card and a high school diploma, schools will prefer applicants with a 4-year degree or completion of a teacher preparation program.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Missouri
Unless you already possess a valid instructional license in Missouri, you’ll need to apply for a substitute educator license before you can teach. The application requirements are as follows:
- Send an application with a $50 fee
- Submit original transcripts
- Pass a background/fingerprint check
Content subs need to verify at least 60 hours of credit from an accredited institution, while career technical subs need an A.A. or 4-year degree plus occupational experience tied to the vocation you’re applying to. You can expect to make an average pay of $109 a day as a substitute educator in Missouri.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Montana
Montana substitute educator requirements are created at the district level, so they may differ based on the school you’d like to work in. Many districts will ask for the following qualifications:
- A 4-year degree
- A satisfactory background check or fingerprint card
- An orientation session or training
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Nebraska
Nebraska offers two permits for substitute educators, each with varied requirements. Both require fingerprint cards, official transcripts, and an online application:
Local Substitute Permit: This permit involves the passage of 60 semester hours of college coursework, a professional education class, and a human relations requirement, and a written request from the chief executive officer.
State Substitute Permit: This permit dictates the completion of a 4-year degree, a teacher education program at an approved institution, and a human relations training requirement.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Nevada
Nevada issues both substitute educator and emergency substitute educator licenses. Substitute teachers must possess a valid teaching license and endorsement and associate degree plus at least 60 hours from an accredited institution. They can be employed as a short-term or long-term classroom sub. Emergency teachers need a high school diploma to apply and teach for up to five days in 20 days in rural classrooms.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in New Hampshire
You don’t need a license to be a sub in New Hampshire. School districts manage the hiring process of substitutes, so the requirements will vary:
- High school diploma, college credits, or a 4-year degree
- Background check and fingerprinting
- Mandatory training, orientation, or observation time
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in New Jersey
In New Jersey, you can be a sub if you possess a New Jersey educator licensure or substitute licensure or career and technical education (CTE) substitute licensure. To qualify for substitute licensure, you’ll need at least 60 semester credit hours at a regionally accredited institution and a background check. To be eligible for a CTE licensure, you’ll need at least 2 years of relevant full-time work experience in the past 5 years and to pass a background check. The state has a different application process and service times depending on the licensure you want. The compensation differs by district, but any sub who is has worked for over 60 days must be given a teacher’s salary.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in New Mexico
Substitutes in New Mexico need to submit an application and a Superintendent Verification Form signed by the school employing you before issuing a license. After earning a high school diploma and completing orientation, you’ll need to demonstrate:
Option 1: That you’ve either finished an approved teacher prep program from an accredited institution OR possess a current substitute or standard teaching license.
Option 2: Meet any 2 of the following:
- Worked as an assistant for at least three hours during three days (in the last 12 months)
- Observed three or more hours of teaching
- Completed an approved substitute educator workshop
- Been a substitute educator in an accredited school recognized by the Public Education Department
- Was employed for the 3 years before applying for substitute teaching employment
- Has completed at least 60 hours from an accredited institution
- Has finished, or is enrolled in, an approved teacher preparation program from a regionally accredited institution
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in New York
In New York State, you need to be nominated by the principal before you can be eligible to sub and must reapply for your nomination each year. Subs teachers are compensated at a per diem daily rate of $188.75, without benefits, and need these licensures to apply for nomination:
- A 4-year degree
- Completion of an online application
- Authorization to work in the United States
- Background check/fingerprinting
- A New York instructional license OR passage of the New York State Combined Assessment and Processing event
To continue your status for the next year, you’ll need to be employed for at least 20 days and maintain a good rating. If you’ve been employed more than 40 days, you’ll also need to prove that you’ve earned credits in a teacher education program.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in North Carolina
You don’t need a license to be a sub in North Carolina, but you’ll need at least a high school diploma and passage of a background check, as with most states. Substitute hiring requirements vary by the school district, so many districts may have more requirements, like college credits earned or direct classroom experience.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in North Dakota
Substitute teaching licenses in North Dakota are good for 2 years and expire on the applicant’s birthday. Requirements:
- Finish at least 48 semester hours of college coursework
- Pass a background check
- Send an official transcript
- Finish an online application and pay the $85 application fee
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Ohio
Substitutes in Ohio can apply for either a 1 or 5-year substitute license, but they are not renewable. The grade level you can teach and the amount of time you can serve in 1 classroom are dependent on your experience and training:
Education Degree-Unlimited: This license demonstrates that the substitute has finished a college degree in education. These subs can teach an undefined number of days in a class in any subject or grade level.
Subject-Specific: For substitutes with a college degree in a subject related to licensure, these people can substitute for undefined days in their subject area at any grade level and can teach up to 1 semester in other subjects with school board approval.
General Substitute: For substitute educators with a college degree in a subject other than the one they are teaching, they can substitute in any grade for up to one semester with local board approval.
To apply for your license, apply for a job through a district’s website and alert them you’ll also be submitting a license application online. The school must e-sign your application when it’s finished. Make sure to submit these documents, as well:
- Completed criminal background check
- Official transcripts
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Department of Education wants substitute educators to possess the standards of ‘highly qualified teachers, but because there are no statewide policies, each district decides how and who to hire.
To be highly qualified means:
- Holding at least a 4-year degree
- Having obtained full Oklahoma licensure or an Oklahoma teaching license and does not have licensure or requirements waived
- Having shown subject-matter competency in each of the academic subjects in which the teacher teaches, in a manner determined by the state
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Oregon
To be issued a substitute educator license in Oregon, you can either apply for a restricted license or a regular substitute license. Restricted licenses are valid for 1 year with an option to renew for three years. You must have a 4-year degree and a district sponsor to be considered eligible.
For a substitute license, you’ll need a 4-year degree and either an out-of-state license or proof that you’ve finished a teacher preparation program and are eligible for licensure. These licenses are valid for three years.
Compensation for Oregon substitute educators ranges depending on the district you’re employed in but is competitive. Nationwide substitutes make from $187.91-$248.71 per day.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Pennsylvania
If you already possess a Pennsylvania or out-of-state teaching licensure and a 4-year degree, it’s relatively straightforward to become a substitute educator in the state. School districts can also opt to hire non-licensed subs on a day-to-day basis by requesting an emergency permit. Districts set the compensation level and may have eligibility requirements, so make sure to check with them first before applying.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Rhode Island
To make it easier for aspiring substitute educators to find jobs in Rhode Island schools, the Rhode Island Department of Education eliminated their substitute permit process in 2016 and now requires only a 4-year degree from a regionally accredited school to become a substitute educator day-to-day basis.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in South Carolina
You must possess a high school degree or a high school equivalent to become a substitute educator in South Carolina. The Department of Education doesn’t require prerequisites but instead asks districts to manage substitute educators’ hiring and application process.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in South Dakota
In South Dakota, substitute educators need to apply directly to school districts for any job openings. While the requirements will differ, you can expect that most will want to see that you have:
- A 4-year degree or some (60 credit hours or more) college-level experience in your field
- Direct classroom experience
- Official transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Tennessee
Requirements for substitute educators in Tennessee will vary by the school district, but at least, applicants should expect the following conditions:
- A high school degree or equivalent, or a 4-year degree
- The fingerprint card and background check
- A completed skills test
- Official transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Texas
The Texas Education Agency doesn’t have requirements for substitute educators in Texas, and the districts govern decisions and requirements. However, most districts prefer that substitute educators possess either a valid teacher license or have extensive experience and a 4-year degree or higher level of education in their subject of choice. To be considered for substitute educator roles in Texas, submit your application to the school districts you’d like to work in.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Utah
There are no s requirements for substitute educators in Utah, which means teachers will need to check with the district for information. Many districts require a high school diploma or high school equivalent, teaching or substitute training, and an interview to be considered for a classroom position.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Vermont
In Vermont, hiring for paraeducators, substitute educators, and other support staff occurs at the district level; the requirements are not set by the state’s Agency of Education. Aspiring substitute educators should review job postings through the SchoolSpring Application Network.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Virginia
In Virginia, substitute educators can cover a classroom for up to 90 teaching days during an academic school year. You can become a substitute educator by fulfilling crucial requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or high school equivalent license
- Have 2 years of college education or 2 years of work experience with children
- Complete school-mandated orientation
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Washington
Washington state has identical requirements for regular and substitute educators: a valid teacher’s license from an approved teacher preparation program, completion of a 4-year degree or higher, and passed a background/fingerprint check.
In districts with a teacher shortage, districts can request an Emergency Substitute License to substitute educators with valid or expired licenses.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Washington D.C.
- Be a retired teacher
- Have 1-2 years experience working with students
- Provide a professional reference letter to [email protected]
You’ll also be asked to pass background and fingerprint checks, and you might be asked to participate in a group interview. D.C. Sub rates are competitive: you will make $120 for an entire day of teaching.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in West Virginia
West Virginia provides short- and long-term substitute teaching permits to professionals who meet the following criteria:
- Have a 4-year degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.0
- Completion of a county authorized initial substitute educator training
A short-term permit enables you to sub for up to 30 days in the same classroom. To apply for a long-term permit, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve completed at least 12 semester hours of course working in the subject area you want to teach.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Wisconsin
Substitutes in Wisconsin are given licenses on either a 1 year, 3 years, or 5-year basis. Five-year substitute licenses are given to teachers who have finished a state-approved teacher prep program and are eligible for a teacher license. This license enables you to sub long- or short-term assignments and allows you to apply for a “One-Year License with Stipulations” to sub beyond the grade or subject level of the license.
If you have an A.A. degree or higher and complete the state-mandated substitute educator training, you can apply for a 3-year license, which allows you to sub short-term (45 days or less) for the three-year window. All licenses are eligible for renewal.
How to a Become Substitute Teacher in Wyoming
Aspiring substitute educators in Wyoming need to obtain a Substitute Teacher Permit, which is valid for up to five years and renewable after that. If you have at least 60 finished semester hours or an A.A. degree from an accredited institution, you’re eligible to apply after finishing a fingerprint card, background check. If you haven’t earned college course credit but have a high school equivalent and teaching experience, you can still apply. You’ll need at least 24 hours of training and at least 30 classroom observations to be considered.
Retired teachers with an instructional license can also apply for the Lifetime Substitute Teacher Permit to teach in a K-12 classroom. First-time or reinstatement permits must submit a Wyoming application packet.