Substitute teachers play a valuable role in the education system by providing continuity of instruction when regular teachers are absent. 

They are responsible for ensuring that students continue to learn and progress in their education.

The key responsibilities of substitute teachers include delivering lesson plans and managing student behavior in the classroom.

They also maintain accurate attendance records and student progress and help prepare the classroom for the regular teacher’s return.

Becoming a substitute teacher can provide a fulfilling and rewarding career path, with endless opportunities for career growth and development education.

You can become a substitute teacher without a degree. The specific requirements for becoming a substitute teacher vary depending on the state and the school district.

Today, we will discuss how to become a substitute teacher without a degree. We’ll explore the substitute teaching license requirements and the states where you can become a substitute teacher without a degree.

how to become a substitute teacher without a degree.

What is a Substitute Teacher?

A substitute teacher is an individual who temporarily takes over the teaching duties of a regular teacher who is absent or unable to work. 

Substitute teachers are hired on a short-term or long-term basis and may work in elementary, middle, or high schools. They can also work in other educational settings such as daycares and community centers.

Substitute teachers are responsible for delivering lessons according to the lesson plans and accompanying assignments by the primary teacher. They should ensure that students continue to receive a high-quality education in the absence of their regular teacher. 

Many school districts demonstrate their need for substitute teachers through their websites or online portals. Here, subs can select the positions that match their needs.

It’s important to have the lesson plans ready if the substitute teacher is being tasked with being in the classroom on the same day.

Responsibilities of a Substitute Teacher

As mentioned, the primary responsibility of a substitute teacher is to provide a productive learning environment for students in the absence of their regular teacher.

Here are the common responsibilities of a substitute teacher:

  • Follow lesson plans provided by the primary teacher to provide create a stable learning experience for students.
  • Effectively manage the classroom to encourage student engagement and maintain a positive learning environment.
  • Adapt teaching methods to cater to the student’s individual learning styles.
  • Supervise students outside of the classroom, including playground and other outdoor activities.
  • Provide class assignments and homework as per the regular teacher’s lesson plan.
  • Adhere to the policies and procedures of the school they are working in. 
  • Develop lesson plans and assignments based on the primary teacher’s past lesson plans if staying long-term.

Benefits of Being a Substitute Teacher

Substitute teaching offers a lot of benefits to individuals who are interested in education and looking for part-time work. It’s a rewarding and valuable experience, both personally and professionally.

Some of the benefits of becoming a substitute teacher include:

  • Make a difference in the lives of children: Substitute teachers have the opportunity to provide new perspectives and ideas that can spark students’ curiosity and creativity.
  • Give back to your community: When the regular teacher is absent, the classroom routine can be disrupted. Substitute teachers help provide a sense of consistency and stability for students by maintaining an organized classroom environment that benefits the school, the students, and the community at large.
  • Enjoy a flexible schedule: Substitute teaching offers a lot of flexibility in terms of scheduling. Substitute teachers can choose the days and times they want to work, which is ideal for individuals who have other commitments or responsibilities.
  • Gain an insider’s view of the education system: Subbing is a valuable way to gain experience and knowledge about the education system. It provides a unique perspective on the field of education and can help individuals make informed decisions about their future career paths.
  • Acquire an impressive array of transferable skills: By working in different learning environments, substitute teachers gain hands-on experience with different learning styles, grade levels, and subject areas as well as students’ perspectives.

How to Become a Substitute Teacher without a Degree

Every state, school district, and school can have different qualifications for substitute teachers across the country.

The minimum requirements are a high school diploma or GED and being able to pass criminal background checks.

Let’s explore the steps of how to become a substitute teacher without a degree.

1. Research the State and Schools of Interest.

Aspiring substitute teachers should research the state-level requirements for substitute teaching in their state. 

This is because requirements for substitute teachers vary by state, and some states such as Colorado and Pennsylvania do not require a degree for substitute teaching.

However, even in states that do not require a degree for substitute teacher licensure, there are some minimum requirements that must be met. 

Here are some common requirements for substitute teachers in states that don’t require a degree:

  • Age requirement: Substitute teachers must usually be at least 18 years old.
  • Background check: Substitute teachers must undergo a criminal background check, which includes fingerprinting, to ensure they don’t have a criminal record that would disqualify them from working with children.
  • High school diploma or equivalent: In some states, substitute teachers must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Training: Some states require substitute teachers to complete training courses that cover topics such as classroom management, lesson planning, and teaching strategies.
  • Substitute teaching permit or certification: Some states require substitute teachers to obtain a permit or certification, which involves passing an exam.

2. Get Certified, Licensed, and Trained.

Getting trained, certified, and licensed as a substitute teacher will provide you with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the classroom. It’ll also ensure that you’re in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

The process you opt for training and certification will depend on your goals. For example, if you plan on subbing long-term or want to become a full-time teacher, you should obtain a bachelor’s degree or the highest level of certification for teaching in your state.

If you plan on subbing for private schools, you’ll only require a high school diploma or GED.

3. Submit Your Applications and Background Checks. 

The process of submitting documents is different in every school. The application process may require you to submit additional documents, such as a resume, transcripts, and references. 

The specific documents required may also vary depending on the school district or school. It’s important to gather all the documents and submit them on time.

Once your application and documents have been submitted, they will be processed by the school district or school. This may involve verifying your credentials and background check.

You’ll be notified whether you have been approved for a substitute teaching position. If approved, you may be required to attend an orientation or training session before you can start working.

States that Don’t Require a Degree from Substitute Teachers

Many states do not require a bachelor’s degree for substitute teachers. Instead, they only require a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Here is a list of the states that don’t require a bachelor’s degree for substitute teachers:

  • Alabama,
  • Alaska (varies by district)
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida (varies by district)
  • Georgia (varies by district)
  • Idaho (varies by district)
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana (varies by district)
  • Maryland (varies by district)
  • Massachusetts (varies by district)
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana (varies by district)
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire (varies by district)
  • New Jersey (varies by district)
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina (varies by district)
  • Oklahoma 
  • South Carolina (varies by district)
  • South Dakota (varies by district)
  • Tennessee (varies by district)
  • Texas (varies by district)
  • Utah (varies by district)
  • Vermont (varies by district)

Note: Even in states where a bachelor’s degree is not required, there may be other requirements for substitute teachers, such as completing training programs or passing background checks. In addition, some school districts within these states may have additional requirements for substitute teachers. 

You should check with your local school district to learn more about the specific requirements for a substitute teaching license in your area.

How to Search for Substitute Teaching Jobs

Follow these steps to kickstart your search for substitute teaching jobs:

  • Most school districts post job openings, including substitute teaching positions, on their websites. Bookmark and regularly check the websites of the school districts in your area for job postings.
  • Reach out to individual schools and school districts in your area and inquire about substitute teaching opportunities. You can start by calling or emailing the school’s administrative office to ask about their substitute teacher openings and application process.
  • Some states work with staffing agencies to fill substitute teaching openings. Contact these agencies to inquire about job openings and the application process.
  • Websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn often have job postings for substitute teaching jobs. Use the search filters to find openings in your area.

Other Teaching-Related Jobs

There are other teaching-related jobs inside and outside the public and private school systems that do not require an education degree.

Let’s discuss these roles in detail.

1. Tutor

A tutor is a person who provides one-on-one instruction to a student outside of a traditional classroom setting. Tutors can be either academic or non-academic.

As a tutor, you can help students understand and master a specific subject or skill that you excel in. The main responsibilities of a tutor include:

  • Evaluating the student’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Providing instruction and feedback
  • Creating a personalized plan for the student 
  • Monitoring student progress and adjusting instruction as needed
  • Encouraging motivation and confidence

2. Nanny

A nanny is a caregiver who is responsible for providing childcare services in a private household. 

The main responsibilities of a nanny can vary depending on the specific needs of the family but commonly include:

  • Providing care and supervision for children in your care. 
  • Maintaining a safe and healthy environment at all times. 
  • Creating a structured routine that includes meals, playtime, educational activities, and rest time. 
  • Maintain open communication with the parents or guardians of the children.
  • Supporting children’s development by engaging them in age-appropriate activities that promote learning. 

3. Daycare Assistant

A daycare assistant is a professional who provides support to childcare providers and works in a daycare center or preschool. 

The main responsibilities of a daycare assistant include:

  • Providing care with tasks such as feeding, changing diapers, and supervising playtime.
  • Ensuring that the children in their care are always in a safe and healthy environment.
  • Assisting with lesson planning and age-appropriate educational activities 
  • Communicating with parents and providing updates on daily activities.
  • Cleaning and organizing play areas, changing tables, washing toys, and mopping floors.

4. Personal Trainer

A personal trainer provides personalized exercise and fitness guidance to clients. The main responsibilities of a personal trainer include:

  • Assessing clients’ fitness levels
  • Developing personalized fitness plans
  • Demonstrating proper exercise techniques
  • Tracking clients’ progress and adjusting their approach as needed
  • Providing motivation and support
  • Ensuring the safety and wellness of their clients by ensuring that they are using equipment correctly and monitoring their health status during exercise.

5. Teacher’s Aide

A teacher’s aide, also known as a teacher assistant or paraeducator, is a professional who supports teachers in classroom instruction and management. 

If you’re effective in communication and able to work as part of a team, this role will suit you well.

The main responsibilities of a teacher’s aide can vary depending on the specific needs of the classroom, but commonly include:

  • Assisting with instruction by helping to prepare learning materials, supervising student work, and providing one-on-one or small group instruction as directed by the teacher.
  • Supporting classroom management by monitoring student behavior and implementing disciplinary procedures as needed.
  • Providing extra help to students who are struggling and assisting with homework or class projects.
  • Relaying messages from the teacher to parents or guardians.
  • Providing support for special needs students by helping them with daily activities.

6. Athletic Coach

An athletic coach provides coaching and instruction to athletes in a variety of sports. For example, football, tennis, swimming, track and field, and more.

If you have a deep understanding of any of these sports and you’re willing to motivate athletes to achieve their best performance, this role should suit you well.

The main responsibilities of an athletic coach include:

  • Developing and implementing training plans specific to the sport.
  • Providing instruction to athletes and providing feedback on form and technique.
  • Preparing athletes for competition.
  • Managing team and ensuring a positive and supportive team environment.
  • Monitoring athlete progress throughout the season.
  • Ensuring athlete safety during practice and competition.

7. Tour Guide

A tour guide leads groups of people on tours, providing them with information and guidance on various aspects of the tour. 

The primary role of a tour guide is to ensure that the guests have an enjoyable and informative experience while they explore new places.

Some of the responsibilities of a tour guide include:

  • Planning and organizing tours
  • Researching destinations
  • Creating itineraries
  • Arranging transportation and accommodation
  • Coordinating with local service providers.
  • Giving historical, cultural, or natural information on the place
  • Answering questions from guests
  • Ensuring the safety and comfort of their guests. 

Tour guides can work at museums, galleries, historical sites, nature, and city tours.

specialized substitute permits.

Specialized Substitute Permits

There are certain specialized substitute permits for prospective substitute teachers. The requirements vary by school district but the following are some of the common requirements for these permits:

  • Official transcripts showing the completion of a degree if you have one
  • Completed application
  • Information and fingerprints submitted to Live Scan
  • Successful completion of required tests or coursework to prove basic skills
  • $100 application fee with a $2.65 service fee for online application

The Emergency Substitute Permit for Prospective Teachers 

An Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers is a temporary permit that allows the holder to work as a substitute teacher in the absence of a regular teacher in any classroom grades K– 12.

The permit is issued by the state department of education or a local school district in emergency situations where there is a shortage of qualified teachers.

Prospective teachers who have already enrolled in the teacher preparation program are eligible for the Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers. However, the specific requirements for obtaining the permit vary by state and school district.

The Emergency Career Substitute Permit

An Emergency Career Substitute Permit is a temporary permit that allows an individual who does not hold a teaching credential to work as a substitute teacher in California

It is issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in emergency situations where there is a shortage of qualified teachers.

The emergency career substitute permit is intended for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a teacher preparation program or obtained a teaching credential.

Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Permit for 30-Day Substitute Teaching Service 

The Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Permit for 30-Day Substitute Teaching Service is a temporary teaching permit issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. 

This permit allows individuals who do not hold a regular teaching credential to serve as substitute teachers in career technical education (CTE) classes for up to 30 days per school year.

To be eligible for this permit, individuals must have a high school diploma or equivalent and possess the necessary skills and knowledge to teach the specific CTE subject area.

Salary Expectations for Substitute Teachers 

The salary expectations for substitute teachers can vary widely depending on the state or school district where they are working. 

According to, the average salary for a substitute teacher is $37,672 per year. This translates to $18.44 per hour.

Some school districts, however, may pay more or less than this range. The highest-paying cities in the US for substitute teachers include:

  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Phoenix
  • Detroit
  • Chicago

Job Outlook for Substitute Teachers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of substitute teachers is projected to grow by 1.5% through 2028.

This growth is expected to be driven by population growth and increasing student enrollment in schools.

Substitute teachers will always be in high demand because there will always be reasons why regular teachers may need to be absent from work. For instance,  illness, personal emergencies, professional development opportunities, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Ready to Become a Substitute Teacher?

Substitute teaching can provide a good source of income with a flexible working schedule where you get the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of students. 

Additionally, the demand for substitute teachers is expected to grow in the coming years, making it a stable and reliable option for those looking for part-time work.

Becoming a substitute teacher without a degree is possible if you possess the necessary qualifications, skills, and knowledge to provide instruction in the classroom.

To become a substitute teacher, check the certification options and contact local school districts to inquire about job opportunities.