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Certification for Emergency Teachers in California

An emergency teacher, also known as a substitute teacher, is a teacher employed during times of unavailability or shortage of permanent teachers. Get to know about certifications for emergency teachers in California in this article.

Get Certified to Be an Emergency Teacher in California

Schools may face a shortage of credentialed teachers. In such a situation, non-credentialed emergency teachers, or day-to-day substitute teachers, are employed. California offers emergency teaching permits that allow non-credentialed but sufficiently skilled individuals to serve as teachers, filling in for one or more permanent teachers for a limited time. Such permits can be obtained from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing by submitting an application with the required documentation. Read on for an overview of these permits and the requirements for obtaining them.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree or
90 semester units of coursework (Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers) or
High school diploma/GED and 3 years recent industrial work experience (Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit)
Exam Requirements Basic skills requirement (except Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit)
Certification Renewal Period 1 year
CEU Credits Required for Renewal 15 semester units of coursework required for renewal of Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers
Average Salary (May 2018)* $42,010 (substitute teachers in California)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-26)** 6.9% (elementary school teachers in CA)
7.1% (secondary school teachers in CA)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Employment Development Department, State of California

Types of Emergency Teacher Permits

In California, there are four types of permits issued for the purpose of emergency teaching:

  • The Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit: It authorizes substitute teaching in any classroom, including K-12 and adult education classes, for up to 30 days for any one permanent teacher in a year.
  • The Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers: If you are in the process of earning a bachelor's degree but desire to start your teaching career right away, the Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers is the right choice. It allows for up to 90 days of substitute teaching during a school year.
  • The Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit: This type of permit is issued to those with 3 years or more substitute teaching experience and allows them to substitute for up to 60 days for any one teacher during a school year. Apply for this if you would like to pursue a teaching career in the capacity of a substitute teacher.
  • The Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit: If you hold a diploma and are an industry professional with sufficient work experience, the Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Permit gives you an opportunity to teach Career Technical Education classes as a substitute for any one permanent teacher for up to 30 days over a school year.

Education and Experience Requirements for Emergency Teachers

There are different education and experience requirements for each of the four types of permits.

  • For the Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit, a baccalaureate or higher degree is a must.
  • By contrast, you do not need to possess a degree to obtain the Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers. Nevertheless, it does require the completion of a minimum of 90 semester units of coursework towards a 4-year degree; one must also be currently enrolled in a college or university in California.
  • The Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit is issued to those who already have a minimum of 3 years of experience in substitute teaching and have taught for at least 90 days each year. It hence requires verification of employment for initial issuance, in addition to a baccalaureate or higher degree.
  • Issuance of the Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Permit requires proof of a high school diploma or GED and employer verification of 3 years of industrial work experience.

Examination Requirements for Emergency Teachers

The basic skills requirement applies for the issuance of the Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit, the Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers, and the Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit. It can be validated through exams such as the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), California State University Early Assessment Program, California State University Placement Exams, or their equivalents in another state. You can also validate your basic skills by securing a qualifying score on the SAT or ACT, or through the College Board Advanced Placement Exams.

If you are applying for the Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Permit, you are not required to appear for any examinations. Nonetheless, you need a verification of your industrial work experience by your employers.

Renewal Requirements for Emergency Teachers

Emergency Teaching Permits can be renewed any number of times except in the case of the Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers, which can be renewed only once.

  • The Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit can be renewed online.
  • You can get your Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers renewed if you have completed 15 semester units of coursework after the initial issuance of your permit and continue to be enrolled in a regionally-accredited California college or university.
  • In order to renew your Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit, the superintendent of your school district or your county education office must issue a statement of continued endorsement and a verification that staff development activities were made available to you.
  • Applicants for the renewal of the Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Permit have it easy; all they need to submit is a completed application form with the applicable fees.

Submission of the Application

Depending on the type of permit you are interested in obtaining, you may submit your application and supporting documentation either directly to the Commission or through your employer. If you are applying for an Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit, you may submit only through your employing agency. Applicants for the other three permit types have the option of submitting their application packets to the Commission directly.