Emergency teaching certification is a temporary teaching certification issued by states to allow individuals who do not have a traditional teaching certificate to teach in a classroom. The certification is a temporary measure used by school districts facing a critical shortage of certified teachers to fill up teaching positions.

Aspiring educators can use emergency teaching certification to speed up their teaching profession entry.

In March 2022, the National Centre for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that 44% of public schools had reported teaching vacancies. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the shortage of school workers at around 270,000.

To counter the teacher shortage, some states offer emergency permits while others offer other alternative means of teaching. Today, we’ll look at what emergency teaching certification entails, the requirements available options, and the states that offer this exciting teaching credential.

what is an emergency teaching certification.

What is an Emergency Teaching Certificate?

An emergency teaching certificate is a temporary permit that allows individuals who are not licensed teachers to teach in public school districts in states that have declared teacher shortages.

Each state deals with teacher shortages differently. Some states may develop a temporary or emergency certification status, while others may opt for alternative teacher certification.

In times of teaching shortages — when a school district fails to get a qualified teacher to fill a vacancy, they prioritize getting trainable individuals. This may mean accepting applicants who don’t hold a teaching license or an education degree. These applicants may have worked in other fields, like school professionals who want to become teachers.

Once the district accepts applicants who don’t hold a teaching license, it seeks permission from their state Department of Education or Office to grant the successful applicants with an emergency teacher certification. The Office of Public Instruction can also grant this certification to the school district.

The emergency teachers may start teaching if a teacher goes on maternity leave, mid-year, or any other emergency that creates a vacancy.

Emergency teaching certification aims to increase the pool of viable candidates that can fill classroom vacancies by addressing local shortages of certified teachers.

Benefits of Emergency Certification

According to the Economic Policy Institute, new teachers available in the country by 2024 will only fill one-third of the national teacher demand. School districts will need alternative options to fill the new teacher role.

With emergency teaching certifications, school districts fast-track the hiring process and get a diverse skill set.

If you’re looking to become a teacher quickly, here are some benefits of emergency certification:

  • A faster way to become a teacher– You obtain a teaching license quickly and get into a classroom faster than the traditional route.
  • Teaching career advancement– Emergency teaching certification is a great starting point for a more stable full teaching certification.
  • Flexibility– Even without a traditional education background, you can apply your skills and expertise in a classroom context.
  • An opportunity to gain teaching experience and build teaching skills– You experience the “feel” of teaching and determine if it’s for you instead of enrolling in a teaching degree program in education.
  • A stable career opportunity– By issuing emergency certifications, states indicate that they’re facing teacher shortages. This means that it will be easier for you to get a teaching job.

Ultimately, you get a rewarding career faster and make a difference in students’ lives.

Emergency Teaching Certification Requirements

Typically, each state issues specific requirements for emergency teachers. Let’s look at the route you’re likely to follow to become an emergency teacher:

1. Get a bachelor’s degree

In most cases, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement to get an emergency teacher certification.

In some states, your bachelor’s degree should be in a field that is related to the subject you wish to teach. For example, if you’re seeking emergency certification to teach science, the state may require you to hold a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field.

2. Earn a traditional teacher certification.

To become an emergency teacher, you must have a portfolio of work that shows that you have earned the traditional teacher certification. This involves coursework and completing a student teaching experience.

Some states like Oklahoma, just require evidence that you’re working towards standard certification. The evidence may include failed exams, study materials purchased, tutoring services, etc.

3. Contact your state’s Department of Education to learn the requirements.

As stated, the requirements for becoming an emergency teacher vary depending on where you live. Check with your Local department of Education to determine your state’s specific requirements.

You can visit the department’s website, call or email and state your inquiry. This helps you get the most accurate information for your area.

4. Renew your emergency teacher certification after one year.

Renewing your emergency teacher certification varies by state; therefore, it’s good to check with your state’s education department.

To renew your certification, gather all the necessary documents that provide proof of your current certification. You may also need to complete your state’s required coursework and submit your renewal application to enable you to continue with your current teaching role.

types of emergency teaching credentials.

Types of Emergency Teaching Credentials

The types of emergency teaching credentials vary, depending on the state where you’re applying for emergency teaching. But they generally fall into the following categories:

Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers

An emergency Substitute Teaching Permit is a temporary permit allowing individuals with bachelor’s degrees but no teaching credentials to work as K-12 substitute teachers.

In California, this teaching credential is limited to substituting one teacher for 30 days only and a maximum of 90 days per school year.

To get the credential, you may be required to pass a basic education skill test, complete a 20-hour pre-service training and pass a background check.

Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit

The Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching permit allows the individual to work as a substitute teacher in California for up to 30 days in any classroom, from preschool to grade 12.

The holder can only work for 30 days when substituting for one teacher during the school year. In special education classrooms, the allowed period for this permit is 20 days for one teacher per school year.

The permit is renewable after one year.

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

This 30-Day emergency permit authorizes the holder to teach in any county where the permit is registered. The permit allows the individual to teach career teaching education (CTE) subjects for up to 30 days.

For this permit, applicants must hold a high school diploma and have technical knowledge and skill in the subject they intend to teach. The permit is valid for a year, and you can renew it to continue teaching.

List of States Issuing Emergency Teaching Certificates

Not all states offer the emergency teaching certification pathway, but there are states where you can get this alternative teaching certification.

The states that issue emergency teaching certificates include: 

  • Texas
  • Missouri
  • Kentucky
  • Wisconsin
  • Mississippi
  • California
  •  Arizona

If your state doesn’t offer emergency certification, they’ll have an alternative program. Check with your state’s department of education to get the available teacher certification options.

Alternative Pathways to Certification

Various states have developed innovative approaches to the teacher certification pipeline. Next, we explore these pathways and who they’re fit for.

National Troops to Teachers Program

The Troops to Teachers program (TTT) is a national program that helps eligible military personnel transition to teaching careers after military service. 

The program aims to address the teacher shortage in schools and the high unemployment rate among veterans. Troops to Teachers is managed by the Department of Defense (DOD )in collaboration with the Department of Education (DoE).

The program offers counseling, referral services, and up to $10,000 in financial assistance to help veterans who want to become teachers meet education and licensing requirements. 

To be eligible for the program, candidates must have at least six years of active-duty military service, an honorable discharge, and meet other state requirements. 

Teaching Fellowships

Teaching fellowships are programs that provide financial support and helpful resources to individuals interested in pursuing a career in teaching. 

These programs offer stipends, tuition assistance, and health insurance, and help cover costs related to pursuing a teaching degree or certification.

Teaching fellowships are offered by nonprofits, government agencies, and educational institutions. They are aimed at addressing teacher shortages in high-need subject areas or in marginalized communities.

Many teaching fellowships require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in a particular subject area and prior experience teaching or working with students.

Reciprocity Between States

Reciprocity between states refers to the process by which a state recognizes the teaching credentials of educators with valid teaching licenses or certificates from another state. 

This means that if a teacher has a license to teach in one state and moves to another, the new state may recognize that license and allow the teacher to teach without obtaining a new teaching license.

Reciprocity between states is facilitated by NASDTEC. The terms vary by state; some states have relatively simple reciprocity processes, while others are more complex.

The states with the simplest reciprocity process include Mississippi, Florida, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nevada, Arizona, Hawai’i, and Illinois. It’s simplest to transfer between these states.

Other states like New York, South Dakota, and New Mexico do not have the program.

Reciprocity agreements make it easier for teachers to move and teach in different states without going through a lengthy and expensive licensing process each time. The process also helps schools address teacher shortages with highly qualified educators.

Subject Area Degree Holders

Subject area degree holders are individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a specific subject area, such as mathematics, science, English, or music.

They often have a deep understanding of their subject area but may not have the training or experience necessary to become certified teachers.

Subject area degree holders may be interested in pursuing a career in teaching to share their knowledge and passion for their subject with others. They may also desire a more fulfilling career or a more stable job with benefits and a pension.

To become a teacher as a subject degree holder, you’ll be required to complete a teacher preparation program, pass a state certification exam, and complete any additional state certification requirements. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for an Emergency Certificate

When applying for an emergency certificate, you should not take anything lightly. Making some mistakes could deny you the certificate, and you won’t be able to teach. 

For example:

  • Submitting incomplete or inaccurate information
  • Missing application deadlines
  • Failing to follow DOE’s instructions

You must include the following information for your application to be considered complete.

  • The Application for Emergency Certificate: completed in full on Single Sign-On
  • A criminal background check: Many states require a criminal background check as part of the certification process. You may be required to provide information about any previous criminal convictions.
  • Documentation: The district has made substantial efforts to hire a teacher with a standard teaching certificate
  • The transcripts:  Information about your post-secondary education, including the name of the institution you attended, the degree you earned, and the date you graduated.
  • Application fee: There may be an application fee associated with applying for an emergency teaching certificate.
  • For early childhood and elementary requests: Identify the specific grade(s) the prospective emergency-certified teacher will teach.

How Much Does an Emergency Teaching Certificate Cost?

The cost of an emergency teaching certificate varies depending on the state. The typical range is between $50 and $200.

If you receive an offer from a state other than the one you live in, that state is the one to offer a certificate.

become a teacher.

Become a Teacher

Teaching is a rewarding and noble career. You get the opportunity to positively impact the lives of your students, help them learn new skills, and you’re offered endless professional development opportunities.

The requirements we’ve covered are simple to meet if you really want to become a teacher. There are different certification options for prospective teachers depending on the pathway you decide to take.