Substitute Teacher Job Profile

If you are wondering exactly what a job as a substitute teacher entails, you might be interested in checking out the following career profile. Substitutes teachers fill in for teachers and provide instruction to students in the classroom based on the lesson plans provided. As a result, they have to keep attendance records, maintain classroom discipline, assign homework and fill out reports about the day's events. You may also be expected to grade papers, participate in field trips, or assume responsibility for lunch or bus duty.

Types of Jobs

In general, there are two types of substitute teaching jobs: permanent or long-term subs and short-term or day subs. The long term job usually becomes available when the regular teacher is on an extended leave, whereas day subs work only a day or two when the regular teacher is sick, on personal leave, or at a conference.


Each state has different requirements for its substitute teachers, but most prefer that candidates hold either a teaching certificate or a substitute teaching certificate. Some only require a bachelor's degree, and those with severe shortages may accept students with an associates degree, some college credits or even just a high school diploma.

In general, substitute teachers should be in good enough physical shape to stand for most of the day or to sit for extended periods of time. You may also need to lift up to 25 pounds, depending on what class you are teaching.

Application Process

Since every school district has different policies for their substitutes teachers, you'll need to contact the school district where you want to work to find out what their requirements are and then fill out an application. Usually you'll have to pass a criminal background check. Some will want you to have the same licensing as their full-time teachers while others will only require you to have a substitute teacher's license. You can also check with the National Education Association since they have some information on the different state regulations. In general, the more previous classroom experience you have, the better your chances for getting a job as a substitute teacher.


As a substitute teacher, you will be on call and need to be ready to work on very short notice. You may even be called the morning of the day when the school needs you to work, especially if the regular teacher calls in sick at the last minute. However, you also have the flexibility to choose whether you want to work or not. In addition, you have the freedom to decide whether you would prefer to work as either a day or long-term assignments.

Wages/Job Outlook

Substitute teachers are usually paid a daily wage, and in general, the more education and other qualifications you have like a teacher certification, the more you will make per day. The amount can range anywhere from $20 to $200 a day with the average being a little over $100. Also, if you decide to take a long-term assignment, you could get paid a little bit more.