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How to Become a Substitute Teacher

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 9/11/2012

Have you considered a career in the educational field? Have you wondered what it would take to become a substitute teacher? This article outlines the basics of how to become a substitute teacher.

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    Requirements for Substitute Teachers

    Have you thought about substitute teaching? Maybe you want to substitute teach in order to get some hands on experience in the educational field. Maybe you just like working with children or would like to earn a bit of extra money at your leisure. Whatever the case may be, once you have decided to be a substitute teacher there is the question of how to become a substitute teacher. This article lists some of the things you may be required to do in order to begin substitute teaching.

    • One of the simplest ways to find out what is required to legally substitute teach is to go to the school you are wishing to teach at and ask them for their specific requirements. In this way you can find out the state requirements are as well as the school's requirements, because there is likely to be a difference.

    • Educational requirements vary by state and schools. For example, in Indiana you can substitute teach with as little as a GED. However, in Michigan you must hold an associate degree from a four year college. Again, contact your state's department of education or the school you plan on teaching at to find out more about their educational requirements.

    • Background checks are normally required of anyone wishing to work with minor children in any way. It's safe to say that if you have a felony for some type of child abuse, then you will not be considered for a role as a substitute teacher.

    • CPR and First Aid may be required. Again, this may vary by school district. For example, one school in Indiana would not even consider hiring someone not certified in first aid or CPR, but another school in the same county was not concerned with this issue. Keep in mind also that there are scholarships for certification for those in need.

    • Previous experience is a plus. If you have previous experience working with children, especially in the educational field, you will be called for work before someone who has not had previous experience.

    Again, the first thing to do is to contact the schools you wish to teach at. Some schools even provide training of their own for those that desire to substitute teach. This is why it is critical to find out the details of the school you wish to work for. You may meet the state requirements but not meet the school's. Calling the school will enable you to find out exact details.

    Some schools require that you attend a session on how to use their automated system. In that case, the requirement of that session would be added to these methods of learning how to be a substitute teacher. The benefits of the automated system is that you no longer need to wait for the school to call you for work. Instead, you use the automated system to learn of available days, then select the ones you want!