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Emergency Substitute Teacher Certification in Washington State

If you don't qualify for a regular substitute teaching certificate in Washington state, you might be able to get an emergency substitute teaching certificate. Find out more details in this article.

Washington State Emergency Substitute Teacher Certification Overview

Substitute teachers in Washington state are hired by individual school districts, but there are requirements for substitute teaching set by the state. Washington requires substitute teachers to be certified, for which they need a bachelor's degree and to complete a teacher training program through an accredited school. (This is the same requirement for a regular teaching certificate in the state.) However, when a school district doesn't have enough certified substitutes, it has the option to widen its search to other candidates, who can apply to get an emergency substitute teaching certificate.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Training Required None
Exams Required None
Certificate Validity Period 2 school years
Mean Salary (2019) $29,501/year for substitute teachers in Washington*

Source: *Glassdoor.com

Emergency Substitute Teacher Certification Requirements

You do not need to have completed a teacher education preparation program or certification exams, but you must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree to get the emergency substitute teacher certification. The state considers this certification limited, so you can't apply for it if you qualify for another regular certification. For example, if you qualify for a regular substitute teaching certification because you have completed a teacher training program, then you must apply for this type of certificate.

Application Requirements

A school district must send in the application request for you to get an emergency substitute teaching certificate. This means you should contact the school where you're interested in teaching and see if it has jobs available for emergency substitute teachers. The job application process varies by school district. Schools could ask for references or want you to have experience working with children. The process could also include an in-person interview. Once the school decides it wants to hire you, it needs to send in a request to start the emergency certification application process. Then you can fill out an application online at the state's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website and pay an application fee.

Background Check

Unless you already have done this for a previous job with the state OSPI, you need to get fingerprinted for a background check in order to get your emergency substitute teaching certificate. There are various locations around Washington that do fingerprinting for school employees, or you can go to a law enforcement agency or a private company. As of July 2019, the fee for this was $45.25. (Applicants who don't live in Washington can get fingerprinted locally and send a fingerprint card to the state office.) Relevant forms are available online.

District Salary Information

Substitute salaries depend on the district. The average annual salary for substitute teachers in the state is $29,501, according to Glassdoor.com in 2019. For reference, Seattle Public Schools (the largest system in the state) paid substitute teachers $26.24-$30.48 per hour (for 2018-2019), depending on numbers of days and hours worked. Spokane Public Schools, the second largest, pays $58.31 for a half day of 3.75 hours and $116.62 for a full day of 7.5 hours.