How can I become a Substitute Teacher? Training, Licenses, Salary & Cost

Can you think well on your feet? Would you like to work with children from kindergarten to high school? If you answered “yes,” you may want to consider paying attention to our details on becoming a substitute teacher.

Substitute teaching is one of the most challenging educational tasks. It is also one of the most important. It takes a remarkable person to adapt effectively to any situation that awaits her as a substitute teacher. Substitute teachers are used daily in almost every school in the country.

In this article, we promised to provide all the information you need to become a substitute teacher.

When you become a substitute teacher, you open yourself up to the unexpected. Schools call in substitutes whenever full-time teachers get sick, travel, or take maternity leave.

Who is a Substitute Teacher?

A substitute teacher is a readiness teacher who usually represents a full-time teacher for a short time. Substitute teachers can often opt to work part-time or accept longer-term positions.

Assistant teacher positions require that an instructor perform the duties of the absent teacher he/she represents. It is a temporary or long-term replacement for the full-time teacher who is absent.

The substitute teacher is, therefore, responsible for providing the lessons based on the lesson plans established by the full-time teacher.

In the event of unforeseen or prolonged absences, the substitute teacher may need to create lesson plans that meet the objectives of the class for which he or she is taking over.

Do all substitute teachers have to teach?

Every substitute lesson is different. Sometimes you look after a class while watching a movie or do a job your regular teacher left for you. On other days, you follow a detailed timetable. Their workday usually lasts six to seven hours and ends when the students go home.

If you take on an advanced role, you must correct homework and create lesson plans. Regardless of the time frame of the job, however, you will occasionally be asked to improvise if the regular teacher does not leave a class schedule or activity.

Where can I work as a substitute teacher?

When you become a substitute teacher, you never know where your work will go. They may spend one-day teaching science in the inner city, two days teaching third-graders at an international school, and two months teaching Junior High English at a private school.

A substitute teacher can work in public, private, or charter schools. In addition, many substitute teachers also function as tutors or teach online classes. Substitute lessons differ from lessons in that they are not acquired through teaching, and there is no guarantee for their daily work.

Substitute teachers are needed at all levels, from preschool to high school, and in all subject areas and subject areas.

Public Schools

Many substitute teachers will take up their work at a public school. All students can visit a public school for free. The county controls the curriculum, although educators usually specify how the information is shared.

If you would like to become a Substitute Teacher in a particular area, visit that district’s school board to complete an application form.

Teachers can call participants of their choice in some areas, while others use an automated call log. Some areas use a combination of both.

Private schools

Other assistants may wish to participate in a private school. Private schools require lessons so students can attend.
The school often chooses the curriculum, but students must meet all state standards.

Private schools may also have a religious affiliation and require that substitutes are part of the denomination or at least understand and obey the school’s principles.

Charter schools

Charter schools also run the syllabus independently but are kept at a higher standard due to the decision to be charter schools. Charter schools can be selective in their choice of students, and so are teachers and substitute teachers.

You can choose which tasks you want to perform in which schools. Since substitute teachers often teach a wide range of grades, you are likely to accept assignments at elementary, middle, and high schools if you need significant work hours.

Over time, you might develop a preference as you learn which age groups you like and teach most effectively. When you build relationships with districts and schools in your area, you may have much to do to teach only specific grade levels or subject classes.

School districts are often interested in your preferences and abilities, especially if you have an apprenticeship or work experience in a particular subject.

How much can a substitute teacher earn?

According to the US Labor Office, the average annual salary for temporary teachers in 2016 was $28,010. Different education industries pay off differently, as some industries may require more prior knowledge or training. Here is a breakdown of the average salary of the highest-paid industries:

  • Junior Colleges: $46,110
  • State Government: $38,710
  • Technical and Commercial Schools: $36,780
  • Other schools: $35,320
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $34,650

The pay of the substitute teachers is usually based on a daily rate. However, a full-time substitute teacher can achieve a salary comparable to a full-time teacher’s, depending on the school district.

In addition, many school districts increased the daily rate for substitute teachers who worked more than 30 days in the previous calendar year.

The services for substitute teachers may vary depending on the school and the duration of the assignment. Schools often need substitute teachers for short-term emergencies as well as longer-term assignments.

Substitute teachers earn significantly less than full-time teachers, but there are many reasons to become substitute teachers. Often a student becomes a substitute teacher to explore the teaching profession.

Training and certification

The qualifications you need to become a substitute teacher depend on where you want to teach.

To be considered a substitute teacher, you should have a bachelor’s degree. Generally, a bachelor’s degree can be in any area or subject.

The educational requirements for substitute teaching differ from those of a licensed teacher, as no substitute teachers are required to complete an education or a teacher education program.

There is a minimum requirement for a substitute teacher with a high school diploma or equivalent in all districts and schools. Many also require the successful completion of competency tests.

Sometimes a bachelor’s degree is required, which will undoubtedly give you an extra advantage when applying for a job, especially if you have completed a degree in education. In some areas, substitute teachers must have full teaching qualifications.

Contact the school you are interested in to determine what kind of requirements substitute teachers face.

A substitute teacher must pass a basic skill test. This exam evaluates basic skills in math, reading, and writing. The scores for the proficiency tests vary depending on the state. So you need to get a score in the state where you take the exam, not where you go to college.

This institution, responsible for the accreditation of proxy teachers in the US, is the NSTA – National Substitute Teachers Alliance (

How much does it cost to start substitute teaching training?

Depending on the district requirements, applicants may pay between $50 and $75 for background checks, tuberculosis, or other medical tests. For orientation, training, or licensing, other fees may be charged, ranging from $40 to $100.

It would be best if you also were prepared to pay low fees to obtain your diplomas, certificates, or attestations that may need to be submitted with the required documentation.

Steps to becoming a Substitute Teacher

First, let’s take a quick look at the steps you need to take before you become a substitute teacher:

  • Earn a high school diploma
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Check for additional requirements for substitute teachers in your district and complete them.
  • Apply as a substitute teacher in your district

Earn a high school diploma

In most states and school districts, a high school diploma or equivalent (such as a GED) is a minimum requirement for substitute teachers. In some districts, you may be unable to apply as a substitute teacher if you have not yet earned an associate or undergraduate degree. Earn a Bachelor’s degree

To maximize your professional potential as a substitute teacher, you first want to complete an introductory course.
Some districts set an associate’s degree as a minimum for each type of substitute teaching assignment.

Other districts may restrict long-term or higher-paid substitute teaching or assignments to persons with a bachelor’s degree.

The definition of short-term or long-term depends on your state or district. This indicates the number of consecutive days a substitute teacher may spend in a single classroom.

In the case of long-term substitute teaching assignments, additional requirements may be required, such as: For example, a degree or a specific number of completed credits in the subject you wish to teach.

A bachelor’s degree may be a co-requisite if your state requires a substitute teaching license. In some states, such as Kansas, you must also complete a state-approved teacher preparation program before purchasing your first license.

The higher your education, the more opportunities you have for longer-term assignments and higher pay. However, even if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may find that your district limits certain positions to those who have a professional teaching qualification or have passed certain proof-of-course tests. Research and Complete Other Requirements for Substitute Teachers in Your District

The required credentials for substitute teachers can vary greatly depending on where you want to teach. Therefore, it is important to look for substitute schools for your state and district to make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you.

Some other things to look out for are:

Substitute Teacher License or Approval: Some states, such as Illinois, Ohio, and North Dakota, require a license for all substitute teachers. This license can usually be extended.

Background Checking and Fingerprinting: Most prospective substitute teachers must complete a background criminal check before hiring or as part of a licensing process. This process can also include submitting fingerprints to your public school district. Contact your district for detailed instructions on where and how to perform the fingerprint.

College/university credentials: You often have to submit these documents as part of the application process, so getting them as soon as possible may be a good idea. If the job does not require a bachelor’s degree, you may still need to submit a copy of your high school diploma or equivalent.

References: Most substitute training applications require professional references from current or past employers. Sometimes the school district provides a reference form your employer must submit.

Physical Health Review: Some states and districts require you to submit confirmation of good physical health with your job or license application. You may also need to complete a drug test or tests for certain diseases, such as tuberculosis.

Safety training: In some districts, you must confirm that you have completed specific training related to classroom or child safety, including first aid / CPR / AED training, anaphylaxis awareness, and diabetes care.

Teaching experience: Some substitute teaching posts require classroom experience or an internship. Other districts offer orientation training for substitute teachers covering topics such as class management, teaching, and the teaching profession.

Some training requirements may be national, for example, substitute teachers in Oregon must complete the exam to protect students and citizens in the educational environment, while substitute teachers in Virginia must receive training to detect signs of child abuse. Apply as a substitute teacher in your district

After completing your research, you should know ​​how to apply to become a substitute teacher in your district. This process also depends on your location. However, you will generally find the application details on your school district website.

Your application process may include setting up an online account on an official website. Follow the instructions carefully and ensure you have prepared everything you need to submit your application, such as Protocols, references, training confirmation, fingerprint cards, etc.

Since substitute education is usually on-demand, you will most likely apply to a pool of substitute teachers in your district rather than a specific position. Once your application has been approved, you can accept orders as they come in.

How to Find Jobs

It is important that you have the necessary qualifications before you apply for a substitute teacher position.

If you have a particular school in mind, you can call them or visit their administrative target group to introduce themselves and ask what the application process involves.

Otherwise, you can take some measures to ensure the schools can access your contact information if you need a substitute teacher.

Once you’ve been successful as a substitute teacher at a school, your chances of being recruited depend significantly on how you leave things to the teacher.

Here are some tips on what teachers like to find after their return, increasing your chances of being reinstated or specifically requested:

  • Take notes on how the days have gone and what has been achieved. Do not worry if you can not follow the instructions exactly. The teachers know that spare days are not perfect.
  • Explain the status of a project or task that has not yet been completed.
  • Correct everything that needs to be corrected. The teacher should deposit a key or an answer sheet for you.
  • Note extreme discipline issues, but teachers know who their problem students are.
  • Clean up the room and stash any supplies or books that can be stored.
  • Thank you for the opportunity.

Qualities of a substitute teacher

Remember, as some may believe, it’s not easy to go into a classroom and show a movie. A good substitute teacher will arrive prepared if no hours have passed, he is flexible and authoritative.

Substitute teachers are in a unique position where they may only see a student for one hour but need to maintain control of the lesson as if it were a daily job.

A deputy must have a sense of humor and yet be able to control a classroom full of children without being threatened.

A substitute should also have thick skin since the students are often much harder on substitutes than a daily teacher. A good representative also notes the returning teacher about the tasks completed and some positive remarks on the day. Enter a name and number if you want to be called back.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a Substitute teacher?

Earn a bachelor’s degree in a teachable subject.
Apply for a substitute teaching license, if required in your state.
Take any tests required for substitute teacher licensure.
Once licensed, apply to your local school district’s substitute teacher pool.
Substitute teachers usually make a daily wage that, at full-time hours, amounts to about $25,000 to $40,000 annually. The amount depends on the school or district.

Is Substitute teaching an excellent career?

Substitute teaching is an excellent career opportunity for many types of people, but it isn’t for everyone. Schools are always in need of qualified substitute teachers, so as long as you have a Bachelor’s degree, no criminal record, and are good with children, you will likely be hired.

What is the requirement for becoming a Substitute teacher?

There is a shortage of substitute teachers. A minimum of a high school diploma is needed, but a person substituting for more than 19 days needs a certificate. Substitute pay rates vary from district to district. Pay rates with certification generally range from $100-$125 daily; without certification, $75-$80 daily.

How much does Substitute teachers make?

Substitute teachers usually make a daily wage that, at full-time hours, amounts to about $25,000 to $40,000 annually. The amount depends on the school or district. However, most substitute teachers do not have a consistent schedule and do not work full-time.


Becoming a substitute teacher is a good profession.

We have given you all the information about becoming a substitute teacher.

Best wishes as you pursue this career.


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