How to Become a Substitute Teacher

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Education is an essential part of childhood development and many teachers are often absent from school due to illness or other events. Substitute teachers are important professionals that temporarily provide instruction to students and help ensure the overall function of the educational setting.


Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

In 2015, I said goodbye to 16-hour days and hauling boxes up and down stairs for a living (I was a mover). I became a full-time entrepreneur, and I made my money by helping business owners make money.

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What does a substitute teacher do?

Substitute teachers attend to students when the regularly assigned teachers are absent due to illness, personal leave, or other reasons. They provide instruction and maintain order in a variety of classrooms. They are usually responsible for updating attendance records, following the designated lesson plan, carrying out activities, distributing assignment, and correcting students work. They make sure all students are safe and maintain discipline in the classroom and during lunch and recess periods. Substitute teachers are often employed directly by public and private school districts.

What kind of training does a substitute teacher need?

Education requirements for substitute teachers vary state and school district. Some areas require only a high school diploma and others require an associate or bachelor degree. Other areas even require full teaching qualifications and licensure. Most states require substitute teachers to pass competency and basic skills examinations. Criminal background checks and health screenings are also usually conducted before substitute teachers can be employed and begin teaching students. Some states issue substitute teachers temporary licenses. Most employers provide new substitute teachers with on the job training and offer mandatory training sessions to go over the policies and procedures of the school.

What are the prospects for a career as a substitute teacher?

Employment of all teachers (including substitute teachers) is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing by 12% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Increasing student enrollments and the increased need to stand in for full time teachers when a situation arises will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be great especially for substitute teachers with formal education and extensive experience. Job openings will be the most plentiful in less desirable school districts.

How much do substitute teachers make?

As of October 2009, the average annual salary for substitute teachers is $38,000; average annual substitute teacher salaries vary greatly on location, employer, experience, education, and benefits (2).

A career as a substitute teacher is an excellent choice for individuals interested in the teaching field and teaching a variety of students and subjects. Substitute teachers must be prepared to report to duty with very little notice. They must be able to learn and adapt quickly to lesson plans and have a great deal of flexibility. Consistency, motivation, patience, fairness, and a good sense of humor are important. Substitute teachers must also have excellent communication and be able to work with many different students at a variety of grade levels. They must have a broad knowledge of a variety of educational subjects and be able to effectively answer questions and lead a classroom.

Joshua T Osborne

Founder/CEO – Mr. & Mrs. Leads

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