Kean University

College of Education

Willis 110 – Union, NJ  07083

908-737-4185/fax: 908-737-4115

email:  tpc@kean.edu


FAQ’s about Substitute Teaching


What are the benefits of my becoming a substitute teacher?


The most important benefit of becoming a substitute teacher is that you will be helping children and young people to continue their education in the absence of their regular teacher.  All education majors are encouraged to obtain substitute certification.  Substitute teaching will give you an opportunity to gain valuable experience at varying grade levels and in many different subject areas. A valid county substitute certificate is also an important bridge to obtaining a teaching position after graduation and prior to receiving the standard teaching license from the state.


Another benefit is that the current rate of pay for substitute teachers in most school districts is between $70 and $75 per day.  Some districts are even higher.  Due to the current, extreme shortage of substitute teachers, if you hold a valid substitute teaching certificate, you will be asked to frequently fill in for absent teachers.  The more districts in which you apply to substitute teach, the more frequently you will be called.


Why is there such a great demand for substitute teachers now?


Some of the reasons are: 

§            The economy is good and many people who were substitutes in the past have found full-time employment.

§            New state requirements demand that teachers participate in more extensive staff development which often occurs during the school day.

§            As the profession ages, illnesses tend to occur more frequently.


But I’m a full-time/part-time student and cannot work everyday.  How can I substitute?


If you are available even one day a week, especially a Monday or Friday, school districts will be eager to employ you.  When the college semester is over or preceding/following a holiday you can contact the district and indicate that you are available on a daily basis.  Keep in mind that you always have the option to decline to substitute teach on a particular day.



Am I eligible 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 for 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?


You can contact the superintendent’s office or the human resources 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.


You will 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.  You may be interviewed 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.


Are there any costs involved?


A fee of $75 is required to apply for your county substitute certification.  In addition, a fee of $78 is due at the time you are fingerprinted.  This fee covers the cost of the live-scan fingerprinting and the processing of your criminal history background check.  There is also the additional cost(s) of obtaining an official copy of your college transcript(s).


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


What if I have questions about applying for substitute certification?


Contact your local Board of Education.



Teaching Performance Center

Willis Hall 110