What Are the Education Requirements for Substitute Teachers?

The necessary education for substitute teachers varies by state and school district. Some states require only a high school diploma or GED credential, while others require a bachelor's degree and teaching certification. Keep reading to learn more. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


If you'd like to become a substitute teacher, you'll probably need some type of formal education. The requirements for substitute teachers tend to vary by state or school district, though, so you may want to check with your local school district for exact requirements.

For example, you could work as a substitute teacher in the state of Michigan if you had completed 90 credit hours at an accredited college or university, whereas in Wisconsin you'd need to have earned a bachelor's degree. Some states, such as Alabama, don't require substitute teachers to have attended college at all; in these cases, holding a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) diploma is usually sufficient.

Important Facts About Education for Substitute Teachers

Common Courses Substitute teacher certification course, substitute skills, substitute training class
Online Availability There are many online programs for substitute teachers available
Concentrations Age groups (e.g. early childhood education, secondary) and academic subjects (e.g. science, English)
Continuing Education There are trainings and workshops available for substitute teachers to increase their skills

Other Requirements

You'll need to meet a few other requirements besides those related to education to become a substitute teacher. Some school districts require that you hold a teaching license or a substitute permit or certification. In many cases, you'll need to undergo a background check and tuberculosis screening.

School districts might also require you to submit letters of recommendation that prove you have experience working with students. If you meet all the necessary requirements and are hired by a school district as a substitute teacher, you'll probably have to complete substitute teacher training or orientation.


Some school districts limit the amount of days that you can substitute teach during the year or the length of time you're eligible for work as a substitute teacher. Sometimes the amount and type of education you have will change these limits. For instance, in Wisconsin, you might be able to obtain a 3-year substitute teaching permit if you've earned a bachelor's degree but don't hold a teaching license.

Optional Education

Some colleges offer substitute teaching programs that award you a certificate upon completion. If you decide to enter one of these programs, you probably won't earn college credit, but you'll learn many skills that substitute teachers need, such as how to control a classroom and how to be an effective educator. These programs vary in length and course requirements, but some can be completed in only a couple of days.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »