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Roles and Duties of a Substitute Teacher

Substitute teaching is an essential part of the educational process. Each school year all district’s will look to build a workforce of substitute teachers to help aide their teachers and allow them to be replaced in times of need for the district. Each school district will rely on a qualified and enthusiastic group of sub’s that can step-up and continue the educational process in the absence of a teacher. It’s essential that the substitute teacher continues the primary teacher’s lesson plan so that the curriculum plan at hand continues to be carried out.

Those seeking careers as a substitute often do not need to meet the same requirements as full time teachers. Depending on the state one resides guidelines, many can be substitute teachers with an associate’s degree. Due to the shortage of substitute teachers many states only require a background check, associates degree, or even a high school diploma. As there are many options available to a substitute teacher, read on to learn more about entering the substitute profession in your state. Here are some helpful tips about substitute teachers:

  • Age – One must be at least 18 years of age. The flexibility within a substitute-teaching career also includes retired educators who wish to remain active in the teaching community.
  • Most states require a substitute teacher to have worked at least twenty (20) hours per calendar year to remain active, as well as a substitute certificate.
  • Substituting can be an excellent alternative job for those outside of education or relocating to a different state to teach.
  • Substitutes tend to work on a “need” basis.
  • The benefit to being a substitute teacher in any state is the possible option to become a provisional (full-time or part-time) teacher if proved worthwhile for both schools and teacher.


In order to work as a substitute teacher in most districts across the board you must posses a department of education teaching license. It’s also important that you have obtained a bachelor’s degree as well in order to be fully equipped to work as a substitute teacher. At the time of your interview, you will be asked to provide your teaching credentials or a dated receipt from the particular department of education verifying you have submitted your application for a teacher license or substitute authorization and you're ready to move forward on your path.

It is important to make sure that you apply for you substitute position in your particular geographic region so travel time does not become an issue as work increases. Along with being in your region and living somewhat locally, it is important to build a strong relationship with the schools you will be working with so that you feel comfortable with the staff that you will be working hand and hand with.

Many teachers will take on the roll of a substitute teacher to lead towards a pathway to obtaining a full time teaching position within the district. It may be difficult to find another way to prepare yourself for teaching like getting out there and getting some experience as a substitute teacher. A bachelor’s degree, obtaining the proper teacher licensing for where you live and beginning work as a substitute teacher is a quick way to getting into the education profession as a substitute teacher. Learn more about how to become a substitute teacher here.

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