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How Can I Earn an Emergency Teaching Credential?

The path for becoming a teacher will depend on the state in which you plan to teach and what type of credential you plan to seek. Emergency teaching credentials can give individuals the opportunity to substitute teach. This lesson looks at how to get an emergency teaching credential with an example from the state of California.

How to Get a Teaching Credential

Requirements to become a teacher vary from state to state. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, general requirements for kindergarten through high school teachers include the completion of a bachelor's degree and student teaching, as well as passing a test to measure competency and a background check.

An emergency teaching credential is usually designed for those who have a bachelor's degree, but don't necessarily have teacher-specific training. It is usually given to substitute teachers, rather than full-time employees with their own classroom. Just like traditional teacher certifications, the requirement to obtain emergency teaching credentials will vary by state. Below are some statistics to compare between substitute teachers and other grade level teachers.

Substitute TeachersHigh School TeachersMiddle School Teachers Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 3% 4% 3% 3%
Median Annual Salary (2018) $28,680 $60,320 $58,600 $57,980

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Emergency Teaching Credential: California Example

How to Become a Teacher in California

The Commission on Teaching Credentialing (CTC) is the body in charge of providing California teaching credentials. For traditional credentialing, there are a number of paths that can be taken depending on your past education and experience, as well as the type of career in teaching you would like to have. For example, there are different requirements for those who completed their schooling within California versus out-of-state programs. Additionally, those who are seeking a credential in a single subject (for example, those who want to become a math teacher) will have different requirements from those looking for a multi-subject credential (such as those who want to teach both science and math).

Emergency Substitute Teacher California Options

California has several types of emergency teaching credentials. These certify individuals to provide substitute teaching in various capacities and include the following four options:

1. Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers

This is designed for those who have not yet earned a university degree and are currently attending school to become a teacher. Rather than the completion of a university degree, applicants are required to prove enrollment. There are also additional restrictions for this permit, including no more than 90 days of working during the school year and no more than 20 days working for any one teacher in a special education setting.

2. Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit

This permit allows you to teach in most types of classrooms for a maximum of 30 days for one teacher, but is valid for one year with the option of renewal. In order to successfully obtain this permit, you are required to have a university degree, meet a basic skills requirement, complete an application, and pay a processing fee. To renew, applicants must fill out an online form.

3. Emergency Career Substitute Permit

This permit allows you to work in most classroom settings, but has a longer 60-day minimum when it comes to working for the same teacher. This permit is only available to those who have at least three years of experience substituting in a school district. Certain permissions from the superintendent of that school district and proof of the duration of work are required.

4. Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Permit for 30-Day Substitute Teaching Service

This type of permit is specifically for substituting for courses in a vocational, technical, or trade school. Unlike the other three options, the minimum education required is a high school diploma or equivalent. However, similar to the other permits, these permit holders are restricted to working no more than 30 days for the same teacher.