Substitute Teacher Career Resource

Even teachers need time off, and when they need to take vacations, sick days or even sabbaticals it’s important to have someone there who can effectively fill in for those days. Substitute teachers work in primary and secondary schools, and can work part-time or even more stable long-term positions.

This job can be very difficult, but ultimately very rewarding as it offers valuable teaching experience in a variety of environments with something new every day. Discover what a substitute teacher does, their responsibilities and skills, and how you can get licensed to serve in this career path.

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The Job of a Substitute Teacher

Substitute teachers have a challenging job filling in for absent teachers in a variety of educational settings. They are temporary replacements when full-time instructors aren’t around, which means that they must carry out the pre-existing lesson plans and curriculum left by the permanent teacher, and in line with the school administration’s policies and procedures.

In situations where there will be extended absences, or unplanned-for circumstances, the substitute may have to create lesson plans of their own, which again suit the vision of the administration and district. Substitute teachers may have only a few hours’ notice before being called in for a job, which requires them to maintain lesson plans for a variety of subjects just in case they need them.

How to Become a Substitute Teacher

Common Requirements and Tasks for Substitutes

One of the most interesting things about being a substitute teacher is that the job changes from day to day. Substitute teachers can find themselves in a completely different environment every day of the week. While most work part-time to supplement their income, or while working on a permanent certification, there are substitute teachers who work full-time in this field.

Substitute teachers must be flexible at all times, as they can be called into a new work environment on a moment’s notice. They also require a breadth of knowledge in different subjects and the ability to create lesson plans in several. They must be organized and have great people skills as they need to establish authority and respect in a classroom quickly. They need to be able to fulfill all of the normal duties of a teacher, sometimes all at once.

Becoming a Substitute Teacher

Becoming a substitute teacher requires a slightly different path than a full-time teacher, and varies wildly from state to state. Some states, for example, require a full teaching certification in order to serve in this capacity. In others, a temporary license can be had to substitute while a candidate pursues full licensure. In still other states, no license is required to become a substitute teacher.

In most cases, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in order to get into this field, but to learn any other requirements your state might have, you should check with the Board of Education. Of course, if you do obtain full certification you’ll be able to substitute regardless of other requirements. In order to gain certification, your first step should be to check out your state’s requirements for licensure, which we maintain on our website. Get licensed, and learn how to become a substitute teacher today.