What Credentials Do I Need To Be A Substitute Teacher?

SubstituteTeachingWhen it comes to the world of education, there is always a need for qualified individuals to fill in when the teacher is absent, but you may be wondering what credentials are needed to become a substitute teacher. You’ll find that every school varies on their specific requirements, but can follow these general guidelines if you’re interested in being a substitute teacher.

Inquire with the District Office as a Starting Point

Your best place to begin is by contacting the district office that serves the area where you prefer to substitute teach and ask what credentials are required. Qualifications vary from state to state and even town to town, according to the Substitute Teachers Institute. You may find that a small, rural school that has a great deal of difficulty locating substitutes will have a more informal process, requesting an application to check into your background, and an interview. You might not even require a college degree. However, most districts will insist upon at least a two year degree. Many will only accept applicants who have a degree in education. Those that are most selective will insist that you are a certified teacher. Many states require fingerprint testing that will cost you a fee of approximately $100 as the administration selects only those with spotless records and the appropriate educational background.

You May Need to Work with Each School or Through a Substitute Service

As you discover what credentials are necessary for substitute teaching, you’ll find that every school is different. Some schools create their own list of substitute teachers and take charge of the entire process. Other schools, especially larger districts, are a part of a substitute placement service. This centralized service takes over the job of screening and hiring applicants. Staff members will call to place substitutes or the whole process can be run by an automated system. From that point, it is a matter of accepting the jobs that interest you or that you feel you are the most qualified to perform. Many substitutes will accept any position that is offered, from kindergarten to high school social studies or gym. It really depends on the preferences of the individual and what is considered acceptable by the district.

Related Resource: Become a Teacher’s Assistant

Your Personality is Key

Remember that your personality is a key factor in becoming a substitute teacher as well. This is definitely not the job for you if you just want to punch the clock or get by with minimal effort. You need to have patience and calm presence of mind. Organization is key as well, because you will be multitasking. You also need to be firm. While you may be a pleasant person, the students need to know that you’re a figure of authority. When you walk into a classroom, you will have a few minutes to review the plan for the day before you are surrounded by students. The right personality is another part of credentials of becoming a substitute teacher, in additional to the concrete ones listed above.