How to become an Edustaff substitute teacher


June 3, 2024

Can you be a substitute teacher if you don’t have a teaching certificate?

In most cases, yes.

Regulations vary by state, but generally, substitutes don’t have to be certified teachers or even have a bachelor’s degree. If an applicant has a couple years of college credits and a clean background check, that’s often enough.

Our website lists the level of education needed to become a substitute teacher in each of the states where Edustaff operates.


Is there a cost to become a substitute teacher?

The link above has information about licenses, criminal history background checks, and any additional requirements in the states we serve. No matter what state you’re in, you will undergo a background check which may have a cost associated, and you may need to pay a fee to become licensed. Fees vary widely by state and even by district, so check the link to learn what you should expect to pay for.  


How do I apply?

Anyone who meets the requirements can apply to be a substitute via our online application. The online application process typically takes about two hours, but it doesn’t have to be done all at once. Applicants can save the progress on their application and finish it later.

Applicants are guided through the process of providing their background information, education, and employment history. They will also view some training modules. The time to complete these modules varies by position, but these are some common required modules for substitute teachers:

·      Active Shooter

·      Allergy Management

·      Blood borne Pathogens

·      FERPA

·      Seclusion& Restraint

·      Sexual Harassment

·      State and Federal Laws K12

·      Title IX


Do Edustaff substitute teachers get in-person training?

After they finish the application and watch the training modules, applicants will print out their completed application and sign up to attend one of our two-hour, in-person training workshops. The interactive workshop gives helpful advice in several areas, such as:

·      Successfully Preparing for Your First Assignment

·      Responsibilities Prior to Student Arrival

·      Clear, Age-Appropriate Introductions, Rapport-Building Ideas, and Setting of Expectations

·      Classroom Management Strategies for the Elementary and Secondary Classroom

·      The Importance of Following the Lesson Plan

·      Additional Resources and Ideas

·      Responsibilities for Closing Out the School Day

The workshop is where applicants for classroom-based jobs will turn in their printed application and supporting documents. Acceptable forms of ID are the same as those specified in federal I-9 guidelines. We request at least one employer or non-family reference.


What’s next, and how long will the approval process take?

The next step is credentialing, where our processing team will confirm we have educational documents and certifications, licenses, endorsements, references, conviction disclosures, I-9 documents, and background check approval.

Our processing team can get through the paperwork quickly, but delays may happen at this stage if we’re waiting for background check results, references, or other required documents.


You’re hired!

Once all the required paperwork is in and the school district approves the applicant’s background check, they’re ready to go! The new Edustaff substitute will get a notification from us that they have been approved and some instructions on how to start accepting jobs in the absence management system used by the school district.

For a list of opportunities at each of our 600 partnering school districts, go to