How to Become a Substitute Teacher

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How to Become a Substitute Teacher. Being a substitute teacher can be a great way to supplement your income or make a viable career. On any given day, approximately 10 percent of teachers in the United States are not at school. There is a need for substitute teachers in almost every school district and becoming a substitute teacher can allow work flexibility for college students, homemakers and anyone looking for some extra work.

Check with your local school district. School districts are going to have different requirements for their substitutes. Some school districts will only accept applicants that have a bachelor's degree while others only require a high school diploma.

Fill out an application. Applications for substitute teaching can be long and tedious compared to applications for other jobs. It is essential to completely fill out the application regardless of how repetitive it may be.

Take any necessary tests. Some school districts will require you to take basic aptitude tests to verify that you are capable of filling in for a teacher. Make sure that you are scheduled to take a test if necessary.

Tell the school district what grade levels you are willing to substitute for. This may be on the application or you may have to tell an administrator in an interview. Be sure you consider what grade levels you want to substitute for so you do not end up with high school seniors if you are really interested in substituting for elementary students.

Familiarize yourself with the automated substitute system if the school district uses one. Many school districts use an online or phone automation system to place substitutes when a teacher is going to be absent. You stand a better chance of getting consistent work if you know how the automation system works.

Make a good impression and get to know the administration at individual schools. You are more likely to be called to substitute for a teacher if you have substituted for that teacher before and did a good job. This will also increase the chances that you are called upon for a long-term substitute position if a teacher is going to miss a long period of time because of maternity leave, retiring before the end of a school year or other reasons.


Check with a school district about substitute teaching positions, not an individual school. Individual schools usually handle placement of substitutes, but school districts will almost always take care of the actual hiring process.

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