How Much Do Substitute Teachers Make?
As a substitute teacher, you can expect to be paid by the day, whether you are teaching in an elementary, middle, or high school. Depending upon the state, school district, your certification status, and whether or not you have a college degree, pay can vary dramatically, ranging anywhere from as low as $20 to as much as $190 per day.
One way your per-day pay can increase after a set number of days is served. For example, in Alaska, state-certified substitute teachers are paid as much as $120 per day for short-term assignments, and up to $140 per day for assignments lasting more than 20 days.
Many districts offer monetary incentives in the form of daily pay increases or bonuses for substitutes who work more than a certain number of days in the school year. For instance, some Ohio districts not only pay substitutes $75-$100 per day, but they also offer benefits such as a monetary bonus after substituting for a set number of days.
Additional benefits on top of your daily pay is an uncommon practice. As a substitute, you should not expect to qualify for any type of benefits unless you can join a substitute teacher union that provides the option to receive health, vision, and dental insurance.
Licensure and certification can also increase your pay. For example, in North Carolina, licensed teachers or those with a degree earn $71 per day whereas those who are unlicensed or don't have a degree earn $55 per day. Keep in mind, that per-day wages will vary depending on the school district your teaching in.
Average Substitute Teacher Salary
The national average annual salary for substitute teachers in elementary and secondary schools was $31,510 in 2017. However, just as daily pay varies from state to state, the average salary a substitute teacher makes can be significantly different in different regions or cities within a state.
Top-paying states for substitute teachers include Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, and California, with average salaries ranging between $40,000-$46,000 per year. Metropolitan areas tend to offer substitutes a slightly higher average salary than non-metropolitan locations. For instance, in the metropolitan area of San Jose, California, the annual mean wage for a substitute teacher is $44,670, while in the more rural North Valley region of California, the average salary is $40,870.
Substitute Teacher Salary by State
Pay for substitute teachers can vary significantly throughout the country, with the highest paying states offering close to $30,000 more a year than the lowest paying states. The chart below features some of the average salaries from the states that paid substitutes the most and the least in 2017.
|Top Paying States||Average Salary|
|Lowest Paying States||Average Salary|
For a full list of average substitute salaries by state as well as the bottom 10% and top 10% of earners, check out the table below.
|State||Average Annual Wage||Bottom 10% Annual Wage||Top 10% Annual Wage|
|District of Columbia||$39,020||$26,630||$49,750|
*Denotes salary info from the BLS is unavailable
Substitute Teacher Hourly Salary
As a substitute teacher, your wages are not typically determined using an hourly wage, in fact, the majority of states will pay you a daily rate, or a half-day rate. The daily rate is set either by individual school districts or by the state's department of education. Even though substitutes are typically paid by the day, it can be helpful to break down the rate into an hourly wage to consider how much you will earn in exchange for the amount of time you'll work. Estimated percentile wage for substitute teachers is as follows:
- Lowest 10% Hourly Pay: $9.04
- Median Hourly Pay: $13.59
- Highest 10% Hourly Pay: $22.68
To determine your potential daily pay, you will need to check with your school district, your state's department of education, or the local education agency.
Long-Term Substitute Teacher Salary
Either the state or individual school districts dictate the specific requirements to be considered a long-term substitute. Typically, to be considered a long-term substitute, many states require you to teach in the same position for around 20 or more consecutive school days. Once this set number of consecutive days is eclipsed, then you may receive a raise in daily pay, and in some states, like Pennsylvania, long-term subs are given a first-year teacher's salary and benefits.
In some districts, permanent substitutes are hired to work every day of the school year. They show up and are assigned a classroom or alternative coverage for that day. These permanent substitutes are often given a higher daily pay rate and/or the same health benefit coverage provided to full-time employees. For example, the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association hires permanent, full-time substitutes at a rate of $15.00 per hour plus a full benefit package for 37.75 hours per week. Keep in mind that these examples are distinct to specific areas and districts and that each district or state will have its own set of policies regarding paying long-term and permanent substitutes.
All statistics come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017), the National Substitute Teachers Alliance, Teaching-Certification.com, Cumberland County Schools, and Massachusetts Public Charter School Association.