How do I Become a Substitute Teacher?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 April 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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The specific requirements one must meet to become a substitute teacher will vary depending on jurisdiction, but in most places, a college degree is necessary; if you do not have a college degree, you will need to be working toward one and have proof that you are doing so. In the United States and other countries, you will also need to procure a fingerprint identification card to become a substitute teacher, and you will have to fill out an application that shows your qualifications. Very often, school districts will require you to pay a fee to become a substitute teacher.

It is not uncommon for school districts to perform a background check before allowing you to become a substitute teacher. The welfare of the students is the top priority of every school district, so they are likely to require you to report any criminal history you might have. If you have a criminal history, this will not necessarily exclude you from being hired, but it does make the process more difficult. Another form of security school districts are likely to employ is a fingerprinting requirement; you can usually go to a local police station to get fingerprinted, and you will then submit those fingerprints to the proper authorities who can issue you a fingerprint clearance card. Such a card is almost always necessary to become a substitute teacher.


Most school districts will require that you have a college degree or are working toward one in order to become a substitute teacher. It helps to have specific expertise in one or more subject area as well, and it also helps to have experience working with the age group you intend to teach. While these are not often specific requirements, they can help improve your chances of being hired. A flexible schedule is also important, as you may be called in to teach at the last minute at any school within the district. Be sure you have reliable transportation to get to the different schools in the district; also make sure to get onto any phone lists you need to be on in order to be called by different schools.

Be prepared to submit school transcripts, letters of recommendation, a fingerprint clearance card, proof of identification, and any other requirements listed on the job application. Some school districts may also require you to attend a substitute teacher orientation, so make sure to check for any such requirements.



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