Requirements for Becoming a Substitute Teacher in Massachusetts

Generally, substitute teachers are individuals who fill in for full-time teachers whenever they are absent for a short period of time. A substitute teacher may be given short notice to carry out their duties depending on the nature of the absence, so potential availability must be borne in mind when applying for these positions. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Info on Massachusetts Substitute Teachers

In Massachusetts, a substitute teacher would be employed in the same capacity for no more than 90 consecutive days. While the criteria needed to become a substitute teacher may vary from one school district to another, the general requirements for becoming a substitute teacher are shown in the table below.

Education/Experience Required High school diploma or G.E.D. at a minimum; some school districts require a bachelor's degree and teaching experience
Exam Requirements Skills tests or assessments in some school districts
Average Salary (2018) $38,310 (substitute teachers in MA)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 10% (all other teachers and instructors, nationally)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Experience Requirements for Becoming a Substitute Teacher

The minimum requirement for becoming a substitute teacher in Massachusetts is a high school diploma or GED. Any additional requirements are dictated by the specific school district in which a candidate is interested in securing work. It is therefore important that applicants consult a school district's website or contact the human resources department for details.

As examples, in Northhampton, a substitute teacher must have a bachelor's degree, while the Lowell and Wayland school districts will accept a substitute teacher without one. Lowell schools, however, require substitute teachers to participate in a two-hour substitute training workshop that covers areas such as classroom management, special education regulations, multicultural and bilingual awareness, and teaching expectations. Interested candidates submit their application and resume, complete with references for review, after the workshop, but attendance does not guarantee that the interested candidate will be hired.

The Boston School District goes even further in requiring not only a bachelor's degree but also a teaching license or some teaching experience and a passing score of 85% on the Sub Skills Basic Training Course, which is available online from STEDI.org.

Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Requirements

According to recent regulations governing all personnel present on school grounds, someone interested in becoming a substitute teacher must go through a state and national criminal record check in order to qualify. This information will be requested by the school to which the candidate has applied, so it is important for applicants to request the details of this process from a school administrator. It typically entails visiting a school to present photo ID and sign an authorization for a background check.

The results of the CORI test will be sent back to the school that requested it. The frequency with which this fingerprint-based background clearance must be completed is determined by the school district. Some school districts, such as Lowell, require this process to be completed annually.

Extensions

While a license is not required to teach as a substitute for the given 90-day period, one will be required if a candidate wishes to continue teaching. The routes to obtaining a license will vary depending on the level of education the candidate already has. There are also assessments, exams and coursework requirements that would need to be satisfied. The full details of the requirements for attaining a license while still teaching as a substitute can be found on the Massachusetts State Department of Education website.

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