The Basics of Becoming a Substitute Teacher
Substitute teachers are vital for helping schools run smoothly. Sickness, appointments, and unexpected events often mean that teachers need to leave their classrooms at the last minute, and if a school does not have a system in place for hiring substitute teachers, administration, clerical professionals, or teachers on their breaks are left to cover the classrooms.
The Job of a Substitute Teacher
Substitute teachers fill in for teachers who need to be absent during classroom hours. Substitutes only work on regular school days, and they may fill in for half a day, a whole day, or a longer period of time. Substitute teachers implement the teacher's lesson plan, manage the classroom, and help students with their work. Your earnings if you become a substitute teacher mayl depend upon your school district, your level of experience, and the length of your sub job. School districts pay wages as diverse as from $45 per day to $160 per day. Some schools pay substitute teachers more depending on how much post-secondary education they have, and most school districts pay a higher per-day rate for jobs that last longer than two weeks.
Requirements for Becoming a Substitute Teacher
While some states require only a high school diploma and background check to become a substitute teacher, more states and school districts are requiring that teachers have at least some college education. For example, in Nevada, substitute teachers must have either a bachelor's degree (in any subject) or a minimum of 62 college credits, with at least six of those credits in education-related courses. In Iowa, you must have an actual teaching license to be able to secure a substitute license, and teaching licenses are most often earned by earning a Bachelor's degree in education. Also, in some states your substitute license is limited to strictly elementary or secondary education.
Tips for Becoming a Substitute Teacher
If you are interested in becoming a substitute teacher, make sure you check the requirements for a substitute license with your state department of education. If your state requires a bachelor's or associate's degree, look into different online or campus-based education programs to see what fits best with your schedule. Even if your state does not require a particular degree, it might be a good idea to take a few education or child psychology classes, as these will help you with classroom management, implementing lesson plans, and understanding how children learn.
If you can, visit a classroom to observe the environment and see how you enjoy working with kids. Do you prefer younger children or teenagers? Would you like to work in classrooms with a variety of subjects, or are you more interested in particular subjects such as Language Arts or Science? Knowing your preferences can show you whether you should get certification to substitute teach elementary or high school.
If you like working with kids, consider becoming a substitute teacher. It's an excellent job for those who are thinking about pursuing a career in teaching, who need flexible schedules and want to choose what days of the week they work, or who simply enjoy the adventure of a different job every day.
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