Substitute Teaching Video: Becoming a Substitute Teacher

Substitute Teaching Video: Becoming a Substitute Teacher Transcript

Most people consider teaching to be one of the most esteemed professions. In addition to providing academic instruction, teachers at the elementary school, junior high and high school levels act as important role models for children. Some of the most often overlooked professionals in education are substitute teachers.


Substitute teachers support the work of full-time educators who are unable to be in the classroom. Absences generally occur for short periods ranging from a few hours to a couple of days. Substitutes instruct students while ensuring smooth progression of the school day. Given their short-term role, they may be responsible for significantly less substantive progress in content areas. Substitutes may be specialists within a specific grade range or subject, but most often they have general skills that allow them to serve in diverse classroom settings. Substitute teaching often appeals to those who are trying to determine whether they are interested in teaching as a full-time profession.

Typical Coursework

Qualifications for substitute teachers vary widely by state. Some areas require that professionals earn the same certification as their full-time colleagues. State licensure generally requires completion of a bachelor's degree from a teacher education program at a four-year college or university. These programs include courses in instruction methods as well as subjects such as math, music, art, literature and the sciences. Due to a severe shortage of substitute teachers in some areas, position requirements are considerably less intensive in many states. Some ask that substitutes complete a two-year associate degree program or a minimum number of college credits. Other states more desperate for substitute teaching professionals require no credential beyond that of a high school diploma or GED. In these areas, determination of qualifications is often left to individual districts. Given a lack of standard requirements, it's recommended that those interested in substitute teaching check with local or state education officials before deciding on a post-secondary education program.

Job Prospects

Millions of teachers work in public and private schools throughout the nation. Perhaps because substitutes make up a relatively small number of these professionals, their job prospects are very favorable. In an effort to attract more substitutes some regions have instituted hiring programs that offer incentives to reliable part-time staff. For substitute teachers looking to become full-time educators, those certified after a four-year degree program stand to be in best position for long-term employment. Advanced degrees open additional roles in education, including more lucrative administrator roles.


Next to parents or other family members, teachers are perhaps the most influential adults in the lives of youth. Many are drawn to teaching careers by this opportunity to play an integral role in children's healthy development. Substitute teaching strongly reflects these opportunities while affording flexibility not inherent in full-time positions.


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