The Process of Becoming a Substitute Teacher with or without Degree

Substitute Teacher are important in schools because they step in when regular teachers can not be there, making sure students keep learning.

If you want a job in education that is flexible and fulfilling, think about becoming a substitute teacher.

But how can you become one. This Article will help you understand the steps to start as a substitute teacher, including what you need to qualify, and how to find these jobs.

What is a Substitute Teacher

Substitute teachers are called when they are needed, and they get paid a fixed rate per hour without any extra pay for extra hours. They are often more experienced and educated. Schools use them to make sure education stays high quality.

Why Substitute Teacher

Substitute teachers work under a contract and need to have a teaching license, but they do not necessarily need teaching experience. Schools call in substitute teachers for various reasons. When regular teachers can not come to work, like when they are sick or have a family emergency, substitute teachers step in. They also fill in if there is an unexpected event at school, like a natural disaster.

Teachers may also be absent for personal reasons, like taking a vacation or caring for a sick child. In such cases, schools hire substitute teachers to take their place.

Sometimes, a teacher’s professional license might have issues, like if they are fired or convicted of a crime, and substitute teachers are brought in, to cover their classes.

How to Become a Substitute Teacher

To become a substitute teacher, you should start by enrolling in a substitute teacher training program. This will give you an advantage when you apply for the job. It is a good idea to choose a program that is accredited by a school or university. Now, let us go through the steps to become a substitute teacher in more detail:

Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

To become a substitute teacher, you must have a bachelor’s degree. However, the degree requirements can be depending on the state you are in. Some states might even require a master’s degree, while others does not. The specific degree needed can differ based on your state’s regulations. Generally, a bachelor’s degree is necessary for many substitute teaching positions, whether it is in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, or colleges. In some states, they may also require that your bachelor’s degree is related to the subject you want to teach.

Complete A State-Certified Teacher Program

After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, the next step is to complete a state-certified teacher program. If you are already an educator with a bachelor’s degree and teaching experience, you can often skip this step and move directly into substitute teaching. However, if you do not have teaching experience or have been away from the classroom for some time, you will likely need to complete a state-certified teacher program. The specific requirements can differ from one state to another, but in most cases, having a bachelor’s degree is a fundamental requirement to begin working as a substitute teacher.

Obtain Your Substitute Teaching License

Once you have earned your bachelor’s degree, you can apply for a substitute teaching license. The process for obtaining this license can be from state to state, and most states offer online application options. The specific requirements also differ; for example, some states may require you to pass an exam, while others do not have this requirement. If you do not pass the exam in states where it is required, you can still apply for a license, but it may not be valid within that state.

Apply for a Teaching Job

After you have fulfilled the requirements for your substitute teaching license, you can start searching for job openings. To apply for these positions, you will typically need to create a resume and cover letter, and you may be required to pass certain tests as well. It is important to note that the specific qualifications and requirements can differ depending on the state and the particular job you are applying for. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully review each job posting to ensure you meet all the necessary condition, including any required exams.

How to become a Substitute Teacher without a Degree

Becoming a substitute teacher without a degree varies from one location to another, as requirements can differ depending on local regulations and school districts. While many places may require at least an associate’s degree or some college coursework, there are some areas where you can work as a substitute teacher without a degree.

Here are steps you can take to become a substitute teacher in areas with less stringent requirements:

1. Research Local Requirements:

Start by researching the specific requirements for substitute teachers in your area. You can check with your local school district or educational service agency to find out their specific requirements and policies. Some areas may accept individuals with a high school diploma or GED, while others may have additional requirements.

2. Obtain Necessary Qualifications:

If your local area allows substitute teaching without a degree, make sure you meet any other qualifications they may require. This could include passing a background check, having a clean criminal record, and meeting age or residency requirements.

3. Gain Relevant Experience:

While not always required, having some relevant experience with children or in an educational setting can improve your chances of being hired as a substitute teacher. Consider volunteering at schools, tutoring, or working in youth programs to gain experience and build your resume.

4. Create a Resume:

Prepare a professional resume that highlights your qualifications, experience, and any relevant skills. Even if you don’t have a degree, emphasize your commitment to education and your ability to work with students effectively.

5. Contact Local School Districts:

Reach out to local school districts or educational agencies in your area to inquire about substitute teaching opportunities. Visit their websites or call their human resources departments to ask about their application process and any upcoming job openings.

Complete Required Training: Some regions may require substitute teachers to complete training or orientation programs before they can start working. Be prepared to attend any required training sessions or workshops.

6. Apply for Substitute Teaching Positions:

Once you have the necessary qualifications, submit your application for substitute teaching positions when they become available. Be sure to follow the application instructions carefully and provide all requested documentation.

7. Prepare for Interviews:

If you are called for an interview, be prepared to discuss your qualifications, experience, and your ability to manage a classroom effectively. Highlight your enthusiasm for education and your commitment to providing a positive learning experience for students.

8. Network:

Networking with educators, administrators, and other substitute teachers can be beneficial. Attend educational events, join local education-related groups or forums, and connect with professionals in the field to learn about job opportunities and gain insights.

The bottom line, always remember that substitute teaching requirements can change over time and depends widely by location, so I will advise you to stay informed about the specific requirements in your area. Additionally, pursuing further education and training in education-related fields may open up more opportunities for substitute teaching roles and career advancement in the long term.

Work As A Substitute Teacher

When you secure a position as a substitute teacher, you will be working on a temporary basis. In many cases, schools would not require you to have a formal contract with them. However, some schools might ask for an agreement before hiring you. The duration of your role as a substitute teacher can be from one school to another. Some schools may only have assignments for a single day, while others might have opportunities that last for several weeks or even months. Substitute teachers are typically paid on a per-day basis, and the compensation can fluctuate depending on how long you work and the number of days you work. Generally, working as a substitute can be more costly for schools than having full-time teachers.

Become A Licensed Teacher

Once you successfully finish your state-certified teacher program, you become eligible to apply for a full teaching license. This license can be obtained by passing a standardized exam. While every state has its own licensing exam, the key content of the exam is generally consistent across all states. When you complete your state-certified teacher program, you gain eligibility to apply for a professional teaching certificate, and passing the exam is the final step to acquiring a full teaching license.

FAQs on Becoming a Substitute Teacher

What does Substitute Teacher do

A school district hires substitute teachers to step in for regular teachers when they are absent. The substitute teacher might teach a class for the entire day or just part of it, depending on the circumstances. When the regular teacher is not available, the substitute teacher steps in to manage the class. Often, the substitute teacher works with the same group of students as the regular teacher, and some students might be in both teachers’ classes.

What Qualifications Do Substitute Teachers Need

To work as a substitute teacher, you must undergo thorough training to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for students. Being a substitute teacher requires at least an associate degree, but having a bachelor’s degree or higher is preferred. Additionally, you must obtain certification from your state. However, you will need training to help disabled students and deal with school emergencies.

What Are Some Common Responsibilities of a Substitute Teacher

Substitute teachers play a vital role in education by ensuring that students receive proper instruction and support in the absence of their regular teachers. Their responsibilities include:

  • Assignment Management
  • Progress Assessment
  • Support for disabled
  • Familiarity with School Policies
  • Attendance Tracking
  • Classroom Oversight
  • Discipline Maintenance
  • Instruction Delivery
  • Safety and Well-Being
  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Professional Development

Substitute teachers play a crucial role in maintaining the continuity of education, and their dedication contributes to a positive learning experience for students.

The substitute teacher must be able to:

  • Know the subject matter
  • Be able to motivate students
  • Be able to interact well with students
  • Be able to work with the principal and other teachers
  • Be able to handle unexpected situations
  • Be able to cope with stress Substitute teachers need to be prepared for every situation.

What Benefits Do Substitute Teachers Get

Teachers employed by a school district usually receive similar benefits to full-time teachers. In contrast, substitute teachers usually do not receive the same benefits.

Substitute teachers are typically paid on a daily basis rather than receiving a fixed salary. Consequently, they do not receive paid time off when they are not working. In some cases, substitutes may earn higher pay than regular classroom teachers if they are called in to work during holidays or summer breaks when other teachers are not on duty. The particular benefits available to substitutes can be depending on the state in which they are employed.

What Is The Average Salary of A Substitute Teacher

The average salary for a substitute teacher can be depending on the district and the type of position. Different districts may offer different pay rates, so it is important to research your specific district’s pay scale to find out how much you can expect to earn each day.

On average, substitute teachers in the United States earn around $110 per day. However, this figure can be based on location and other factors.

What Skills Are Needed To Be A Substitute Teacher

The skills needed to be a substitute teacher can mostly dependent on the level of education and the school or institution where you work. For example, substitute teachers in elementary and high schools often need to be able to handle multiple tasks because students in these grade levels may require more direct supervision.

Here are some essential skills that substitute teachers should possess:

  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to educate and explain concepts effectively
  • Understanding of the students’ needs
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Awareness of current events and trends in education
  • Flexibility to adapt to different teaching environments
  • Ability to teach various subjects and classes
  • Patience is a must-have quality for all teachers

What Is Substitute Teacher Training

In the United States, there are approximately 1.3 million substitute teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. In some states, substitute teachers are required to complete state-approved training, which can range from a single day to several weeks or even months. Specific additional requirements may apply depending on the state.

Can Substitute Teachers Apply For Unemployment

During school breaks, such as holidays or winter vacations, substitute teachers may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits if they meet the necessary requirements. Eligibility for unemployment benefits typically depends on the number of hours worked. If a substitute teacher has not worked enough hours to meet the eligibility criteria, they may not be approved for unemployment benefits.

What Is A Substitute Teacher Certificate

The substitute teaching certificate is recognized and valid in all U.S. states. Additionally, it may be accepted in certain countries outside the United States. This certificate typically remains valid for a period of two years. Having a substitute teacher certificate is a requirement for teaching in public schools.

Is Substitute Teacher Pay Taxed

If you work as a substitute teacher and receive payment for your services, it is important to note that the compensating you receive for substitute teacher, pay is usually not subject to taxation. If you are employed as a full-time substitute teacher and receive a W-2 form, your earnings are generally not taxable.

Is Substitute Teacher Self Employed

The brief response is YES. Nonetheless, the detailed response is that the substitute teacher must still be employed by a public school district to qualify for the tax deduction.


So, if you want to be a substitute teacher, here is what you need to do: Start by getting a bachelor’s degree. Then, finish a teacher training program and get a substitute teaching license. After that, apply for substitute teacher jobs in your area. When you get hired, be prepared to work with students, follow school rules, and be flexible. It is a rewarding job that can help you make a difference in students lives. So, go ahead, take those steps, and become a substitute teacher.

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