Rhode Island Substitute Teacher Certification Requirements

Persons who wish to be substitute teachers, either day-to-day or long-term, in Rhode Island may do so by meeting the specific requirements set by the Rhode Island Department of Education. These are detailed below. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Become a Substitute Teacher in Rhode Island

As of 2017, the state of Rhode Island no longer issues permits for substitute teachers but still recognizes two types of substitute teachers. These are day-to-day substitute teachers and long-term substitute teachers. While the criteria for long-term substitute teachers are more intensive than those for day-to-day substitute teachers, the basic requirements are summarized in the table below.

Education/Experience Required Two years of college leading to a four-year degree
Exam Requirements None
Certification Renewal Period One year
Requirements for Renewal Satisfaction of specific teaching area criteria
Average Salary (2018) $31,050 (substitute teachers in RI)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 10% (teachers and instructors nationally)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

General Academic Requirements for Day-to-Day Substitute Teachers

The Rhode Island Department of Education defines a day-to-day substitute teacher as someone who teaches in an assigned area for less than 45 days. In order to qualify for this, the candidate must have completed a minimum of two years in a four-year degree program that they are still pursuing. The candidate may also have an associate's degree or bachelor's degree. The degree programs must be from an accredited college or university in order to be considered. Since this type of substitute teacher does not require a permit or certificate, there are no renewal requirements.

General Academic Requirements for Long-Term Substitute Teachers

A long-term substitute teacher is defined as someone who teaches in the same assignment for more than 45 days. To do this, the candidate must have a certificate issued by the Rhode Island Department of Education. This differs from full certification as the candidate may not have satisfied all the requirements for a full certificate yet. Currently, the Rhode Island Department of Education offers the following seven preliminary certificates:

  • Alternate Route Preliminary Certificate - this is applicable for persons who are enrolled in a Rhode Island Alternate Route Program.
  • Career and Technical Education Preliminary Certificate: Emergency Preliminary Certificate - this is applicable for persons who have demonstrated experience in a specific career and technical area.
  • Emergency Preliminary Certificate - a school may request this for an individual who has adequate knowledge of the subject area of interest and is working towards attaining full certification.
  • Expert Residency Preliminary Certificate - this is applicable for persons who have adequate knowledge or work experience to fill the particular position of interest.
  • Expert Residency Shortages Preliminary Certificate - this is applicable for persons who have a bachelor's degree and have passed the proficiency and coursework assessments for the area of interest.
  • Temporary Initial Educator Preliminary Certificate - this is applicable for persons who have completed an approved educator preparation program or is a certified teacher in another state.
  • Visiting Lecturer Preliminary Certificate - this is applicable for persons who have distinctive qualifications that are required by the employing school.

All certificates with the exception of the three-year Expert Residency Shortages Preliminary Certificate, are valid for a year and can be renewed as long as the educator meets the specific requirements.

Background Check

All prospective educators who have not been employed to a Rhode Island school in the year prior to an application must undergo a national and state criminal background check. To initiate this process, the candidate must apply to the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI), department of the attorney general, state police, or the local police department in their vicinity to have the check done by the way of fingerprinting. Favorable results will be communicated to the applicant as well as the department of education in writing. If the check is unfavorable, the candidate may ask that the results still be sent to the department of education.

Application Process

Persons who wish to become substitute teachers should first approach the school at which they would like to teach to be guided through the application process based on their qualifications. In some cases, the school will need to submit a request to the Rhode Island Department of Education while in others, the candidate would be able to apply directly to the department of education.

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