How to Become a Substitute Teacher in Minnesota

By Nicole Vulcan
Teacher between two children (5-7) decorating paper plates, portrait
Katy McDonnell/Digital Vision/Getty Images

To work as a substitute teacher in Minnesota, you need to obtain a substitute teaching license from the state. Like other teachers in this state, you also need at least a bachelor's degree; however, depending on the license you get, that degree may or may not be related to teaching.

Three Types of Licenses

Minnesota offers three types of substitute teaching licenses:

  • The Two-Year Short-Call Substitute license, available to people who have bachelor's degrees in any subject. If you get this license, you can only work in districts that are having a difficult time finding licensed teachers -- meaning the license won't be worthwhile if you want to work in a district with a high volume of existing substitutes.

  • The Five-Year Short-Call Substitute license, available to people who have finished a teacher license program but don't want to pursue a full-time teaching license.

  • The Lifetime Short-Call Substitute license, available to people who have had a regular teaching license in the past and are now receiving teacher retirement pay.

These licenses will meet the minimum requirements in the state, but particular school districts may have their own requirements, so check each district's website before applying there. Some districts may only accept the five-year or lifetime license.

Retired Teachers' Application

If you're a retired teacher applying for the Lifetime Short-Call Substitute license and you already have a Minnesota File Folder number, visit the state's Licensing Web page and print out the paper application titled "Verification of Teacher Retirement for a Lifetime Short-Call Substitute License." Since you've already been a teacher in Minnesota, the application process will involve verifying your license with the help of an official from your Teacher Retirement Association. If you don't have a Minnesota File Folder number, apply online in a similar manner as other substitute teacher applicants.

Applying Online

If you're applying for a two- or five-year license or you're a retired teacher without a Minnesota File Folder number, visit the Minnesota Board of Education's User Account System website, and click "Create Account" to create an account. After creating your account, log in and choose the type of substitute license you want to apply for. Provide your personal information as requested, which includes your contact information, as well as information about any arrests or convictions you've had and post-secondary institutions you've attended, including the student ID numbers for each institution. You also need to provide your post-secondary transcripts as part of the application process, but unlike those applying for a full teaching license, you won't have to take any practical exams or content area exams.

Fingerprints and Fees

At the end of the online application, enter your credit or debit card information to pay the licensing fee. As of 2015, it is $99.15 and includes a fee for a criminal background check. In addition, go to your local police station and get fingerprinted. Print out the confirmation page from your application, as some districts may ask you to show them a copy of that confirmation page, your official transcripts and your fingerprint card when you apply for a substitute teacher position within their district. You may also need to have the district's superintendent sign or verify your application before you turn it in to the district's human resources officers for final approval.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.