FAQ about Substitute Teaching

classroom-658002_1280When announcements of the Substitute Teacher Training Course are made, I always get a few calls and emails with questions. I occasionally joke in classes that “It depends…” is rarely a wrong answer, so before I try to answer a few, I’ll make a general disclaimer: Individual school districts set policy and procedure–including the required qualifications for substitutes, amount of pay, etc. That said, here are some questions I hear often and general answers.

Am I required to take this course before I apply or substitute teach?


What are the requirements for being hired as a substitute teacher?

It depends! In general, you’ll need a minimum of a high school education. You’ll also be required to be fingerprinted and pass a background check. The fingerprinting and background check is universal–districts may vary in terms of educational level and other requirements.

Does this course include help getting a job?

The course will briefly review the general process, including information regarding fingerprinting. We cannot, obviously, guarantee you’ll be hired.

Will this course qualify me to be an ed tech (also sometimes referred to as “para professional)?

Given the topics covered, this course will likely be helpful to an ed tech, but is not an “approved course of study.” Unlike substitute teacher, there are very specific state requirements. For more specific information, see the Department of Education’s website.

What topics does the course include?

A lot! Some of the topic headings are: expectations of stakeholders, a “typical” day, classroom management techniques, teaching strategies, legal aspects,  and special education. Of necessity, some topics are handled as an overview.

How will I be paid as a sub?

This may vary by district, but in our area the most common schedule seems to be bi-weekly (every two weeks).

I’m already a working substitute–will this course be of any benefit to me?

Some districts offer a slightly higher pay rate for substitutes who’ve attended this training. That aside, subs who’ve taken the course have often found the course beneficial either because they’ve learned new techniques or because laws and rules have changed since they started.

What’s the easiest grade level to sub for?

Do you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream?  Seriously, this is truly a matter of personal preference based somewhat on the age/grade the sub is most confident with.

If you have a question, please send it along… or better yet, bring it to class! I encourage class participation and questions–and we try to have fun learning!

Walter Boomsma (“Mr. Boomsma”) writes on a wide array of topics including personal development, teaching and learning. Course information is also available here!