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How to Apply for a Substitute Teaching Certificate

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Alternate Route Pre-service Workshop at Kean University

How to Apply for a Substitute Teaching Certificate

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What are the requirements to become a substitute teacher?

There are three major requirements:

  • You must have earned a minimum of 60 college credits at Kean University or at any other accredited two- or four-year college/university. The credits do not have to be in education courses; they may be in any area.
  • All applicants must be fingerprinted and complete a criminal background check.  You must not have been convicted of a felony.
  • You must have a current, negative Mantoux test.  (A simple test for tuberculosis.)

What is the process for obtaining county substitute certification?

  • Contact the superintendent’s office or the human resources/personnel department of your local board of education and request information about applying to be a substitute teacher in that school district.  Within a day or two, you should receive a packet of information which includes a district substitute teacher application, county substitute certification application information and criminal background check forms.
  • Complete these forms and return them to your local board of education.  The board will process the paperwork locally and send the forms to the respective county/state offices. 
    • An interview may be conducted by an administrator in the school district, be given a Mantoux test by a school nurse, and, if accepted, you will be recommended for approval by the board of education to substitute teach in the district.  Once your county substitute certification is issued (which may take as long as two months), your local board of education will inform you that you have been approved as a substitute teacher for the district.  At that point, you will be eligible to begin substitute teaching.

A complete list of school districts, their addresses and phone numbers can be found at the New Jersey Department of Education website – School Directory: schools.shtml .

Are there any costs involved?

When you submit your paperwork to your local school district, you will be expected to submit a certified check or money order, payable to the Commission of Education, in the amount of $125 which will cover the cost of obtaining the county substitute certificate.  There is a fee of $78 to be fingerprinted and have a criminal history review performed by the state government.  There is also the cost of obtaining an official copy of your college transcript(s).

If you substitute several days, you will earn back your initial investment.  After that time, you will quickly see the profit from your work as a substitute teacher.

Can I substitute in more than one school district?

The county substitute certificate you receive is a state-wide credential which makes you eligible to substitute teach in any other school district within the state of New Jersey.  You will, however, need to apply for a substitute teaching position and be approved by the board of education for employment in whichever district(s) you apply. 

For how long is the certificate valid?

The substitute certificate is valid for a period of five (5) years from the date of issuance.

What if I need more information?

Please contact your County Office of Education.  A list of NJ County Offices of Education can be found at: click on County Information & Services on the upper-left.

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