Becoming a Substitute Teacher in California, CA

With 6,305,000 students, a number that grows each year, California desperately needs more teachers and substitutes to keep up. The state has already gone out of its way to convince teachers to work there by offering incentive programs and tax benefits, so now is an awesome time to consider working in the educational system. Substituting is a great way to test the waters in the Education career path without fully committing, many teachers started out as subs and then decided to go for the full time salaried position. One of the many advantages of substitute teaching is the schedule flexibility, it is possible to work outside of substituting to supplement income, or just have more time to relax if you so desire. As teachers will always be in need, the educators generally speaking have very good job security, and there is always room for advancement.

Required Training, Qualifications, and Education

In order to become a Substitute Teacher in California you first need to get your Bachelor’s Degree. After getting your Bachelor’s you will need to schedule an appointment to take the C-Best exam. Other requirements include going in for fingerprinting (which needs to be renewed periodically), and passing state and criminal background checks. The license is valid for one year after which it must be renewed.

Licensure and Certification

The following stipulations are required for submitting a substitute teacher application-

  • Submit the initial Substitute Application through a local school system
  • Include necessary fees along with Application
  • Include transcripts and references

For certification information please visit our California Teacher Certification page.

Career Expecatations for Substitutes in California

With a state population larger then Canada as a whole, teachers and substitutes are going to continue to be in demand for quite some time. California has really been pressing hard to attract new teachers by offering all kinds of incentives, so now really is a great time to look into it. Many Substitute teachers end up moving on to full time salaried positions, and having that Substitute experience is certainly a boost to any resume. With a constantly growing population teachers will continue to be in demand in the foreseeable future, which means you will have fairly good job security.

Salary Expectation

The average salary for Substitutes in California is approximately $31,000 a year (according to This number however can differ greatly as there are many things that comprise the overall wage of a substitute teacher. Factors like experience, accreditation, and district can greatly change your income as a substitute. One of the many advantages of becoming a sub is that because there is a lot of downtime, it is pretty easy to have a separate job to supplement income, many find work tutoring or test proctoring. The teaching industry as a whole as seen pretty consistent salary increases, for the most part beating inflation.