How to Become a Substitute Teacher?

diligent schoolkids and their teacher talking at lesson

A substitute teacher is one who is substituted in place of a full-time teacher. A substitute teacher is called an on-call teacher who fills up for a full-time teacher when they go on leave.

Substitutes are employed in the place of a full-time teacher only for a temporary period until they are back. However, a substitute can choose to work as a part-time teacher as well. They look for long-term openings to work.

If you want to become a substitute teacher but have no idea about the process, then you are in the place. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about becoming a substitute teacher.

Substitute Teacher Requirements

The requirements of a substitute teacher differ from state to state. Different school districts have various conditions that are required to be fulfilled to become a substitute teacher.

A good substitute teacher is expected to take the responsibilities of a full-time teacher. In other words, they need to teach regular classes, attend staff meetings, teach full-time lessons, and also address the needs of the students.

Not just that, but a substitute teacher is also expected to take responsibility for non-classroom activities, whenever necessary. This includes parent-teacher meetings, keeping track of students’ progress, etc.

Student and teacher at geometry class


Becoming a Substitute Teacher

If you think that becoming a substitute teacher is a child’s play, then you are entirely wrong about it. It requires the same amount of effort as you would have put in any other job. To become a substitute teacher, you need first to complete a few essential steps.

Here are the steps that you need to complete to achieve your dreams:

  1. Earn a high school diploma
  2. Get an undergraduate degree
  3. Meet other requirements for substitute teachers in your state or district
  4. Apply for a position as a substitute teacher in a school in your district

As already mentioned above, the requirements to become a substitute teacher is dependent on the state or district you belong to. It may vary from state to state. Not just that, but even schools have their requirements that need to be fulfilled to get employed.

This is why you are advised to do some research on your state requirement before jumping into it. Also, do the same for the school that you intend to teach.

Earn a High School Diploma

One of the very first steps to become a substitute teacher is to earn a high school diploma. In many states and districts, it is the minimum qualification that is required to apply for the position of substitute teacher.

However, in other states or districts, you need to have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible to become a substitute teacher. You can get a bachelor’s degree in any subject you want. Without a bachelor’s degree, you can, however, apply for the position of substitute teacher assistant.

Get an Undergraduate Degree

If you want to aim higher in this field, then you need to have a higher degree. This will help you to increase the potential of your job as a substitute teacher. In this case, you should complete your undergraduate degree program.

  • In some districts, an associate’s degree is the minimum qualification required for applying for a substitute teaching job.
  • Other districts may provide long-term substitute teaching licenses to those who have a bachelor’s degree. They may even pay you a higher salary.

The definition of long-term and short-term is dependent on your district or state. This denotes the number of days a substitute teacher can spend in a single classroom.

  • If you want to apply for a long-term substitute teaching job, then you have to fulfill additional requirements. For example, it can be a specific degree or a specified number of credit hours in the subject you want to teach.
  • If your state requires you to have a substitute teaching license, your bachelor’s degree may be a co-requisite.

In short, the higher the degree you have, the more job opportunities you get. It will also help you to get more long-term assignments and a high pay salary.

Elementary school teacher with students

Apply for a Substitute Teacher Position in Your District

You need to have a good idea of the process of applying for the position of a substitute teacher in your district or state. Again, this process may differ from state to state. However, you can find out the details from the website of your school district.

Your application process may include creating an online account on the official portal. You need to follow all the instructions carefully to avoid any mistake. Not just that, but you also need to be prepared with everything that you need to submit along with your application. This may include references, training confirmation, transcripts, fingerprint cards, and a few other documents.

Because substitute teaching is an on-call job role, you need to apply for more than one substitute teacher position in your district. If you apply for just one position, you mean never get it. Therefore, you need to expand your options. Once your application is approved, you can then join as a substitute teacher in the school, and you applied for it.

Now that you know the steps to become a substitute teacher, it should be easier for you to follow the process. It will help if you put in all your hard work to become a successful substitute teacher.

Just like any other career, even this job role is an important one, and therefore, you should not take it for granted.

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