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Requirements to Become a Substitute Teacher in Houston

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Houston Independent School District substitute teachers, also known as associate teachers, must fulfill certain education and application requirements before they can get hired. Associate teachers fill in for full-time classroom teachers when they are sick or on vacation. They are expected to closely follow lesson plans and to manage classroom behavior.

Meet the Education Requirements

Associate teaching candidates must have a minimum of 60 semester college hours or at least an associate degree from an accredited college or university. They're paid by the hour, and their pay is based on the level of education they have. Those with teaching degrees and those with Texas teaching certifications are paid more than associate teachers without degrees. Associate teacher candidates with Texas teacher certificates must show that they have completed the Texas Examination of Current Administrators and Teachers or the Texas Academic Skills Program to receive a higher hourly rate.

Understand the Expectations

You must work a minimum of 10 days per month in months with 20 or more working days as an associate teachers, according to the HISD website. The normal teaching schedule is 7.75 hours per day, and an associate teacher’s schedule is generally similar to that. After receiving an assignment, associate teachers are expected to be at the school within one hour of or by the designated start time. They must follow the directions of both the classroom teacher and the school principal. This may include taking on non-teaching responsibilities, such as monitoring students in the morning, during lunch or at afternoon dismissal. They may also be required to complete certain tasks during the teacher’s planning period.

Apply for a Position

Associate teacher candidates can view job openings and submit applications through the HISD website. Applicants must also submit a resume and cover letter online. The HISD website stresses that the cover letter is an integral part of the application process and should not state qualifications, but rather should include the applicant’s philosophy of working with children and their interest in doing so. The recruiting department evaluates candidates on a rolling basis and only contacts qualified candidates to set up an interview via email. Candidates should bring a valid driver’s license or other government-issued ID to the interview. As with the cover letter, it is important to demonstrate your teaching philosophy and the reason you would like to work in education during the interview.

After Being Hired

Candidates selected to work as associate teachers need to complete and pass a background check. The State Board of Educator Certification requires that all associate teachers get fingerprinted. However, your prints only need to be reviewed if you have previously submitted digital fingerprints to the SBEC. You must pay for fingerprinting services if you need to submit them, and you must schedule an appointment within seven business days of getting an email on how to schedule the appointment. Associate teacher applicants must submit Social Security cards, teacher certification, university transcripts, proof of fingerprinting, referral letters, and a blank, voided check for direct deposit after they have passed the background check. All associate teachers must complete a training session scheduled by the HISD Onboarding department.


Marie Gentile has a passion for personal finance and style, and takes a special interest in the places where they intersect. She specializes in writing about money management and frugal living. Gentile has a bachelor's degree in journalism and has been published in several personal finance-related print and online publications.

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