Where Can I Earn a Substitute Teacher Certification?

Education requirements for substitute teachers vary by state, while most individual school districts set additional requirements. Keep reading to learn how you can become a substitute teacher. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Where to Apply for Certification

Aspiring substitute teachers should apply for certification with the school district where they intend to work. Information about this process is typically available through department of education and local school district websites.

Important Facts About This Certification

Prerequisites None required, but there are recommended courses
Online Availability Available through some programs
Continuing Education Licensure required for individual states
Common Courses Introduction to substitute teaching, classroom management, teaching strategies

General Requirements


According to STEDI.org, an organization dedicated to substitute teacher training, more than a dozen states require prospective substitute teachers to have college degrees, while several more mandate at least some postsecondary education.

The majority of states, however, only require that substitute teachers hold a GED or high school diploma. In some cases, these candidates are required to pass a competency exam or complete a substitute teacher training program before they can work in a classroom.

Other Requirements

Requirements for substitute teachers can vary greatly by school district. In general, candidates must meet health requirements (which in some cases includes a complete physical exam) and pass a criminal background check, in addition to meeting education requirements. They also must submit an application and any necessary fees.

Variance in Pay

Pay for substitute teachers is set by individual school districts and typically varies by level of qualification and length of expected service. For example, a substitute teacher who holds a degree in education along with his or her state-level teaching certification usually is paid more than a sub with lesser education and district-level substitute teacher certification. Likewise, a substitute teacher who's filling in on a semi-permanent basis - for example, one who's subbing for a teacher on maternity leave - generally earns more than a sub who's working on a day-to-day basis.

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