Substitute teachers are there when regular teachers need backup. If the regular teacher can't make it into school on a given day, a substitute teacher is called.

Sometimes you won't know you're going into teach a class until that day, that's why you kind of have to be "on-call" as a substitute teacher. You never know when you're going to be needed. Some substitute teachers get to fill in if a regular teacher has to take an extended absence, which means you'll be there until they get back. Long-term substitute gigs can mean anything from two weeks to five months or more.

It's important as a substitute teacher to establish some ground rules when you first step into the classroom. Since you're not the regular teacher, some students may decide they don't have to follow any rules, which definitely makes "subbing" even harder. But don't worry - you've got this.

What Does a Substitute Teacher Do

There are certain skills that many substitute teachers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, interpersonal skills and patience.

Learn more about what a Substitute Teacher does

How To Become a Substitute Teacher

If you're interested in becoming a substitute teacher, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 67.4% of substitute teachers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 12.8% of substitute teachers have master's degrees. Even though most substitute teachers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Substitute Teacher

Substitute Teacher Career Paths

Average Salary for a Substitute Teacher

Substitute Teachers in America make an average salary of $32,904 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $45,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $23,000 per year.
Average Substitute Teacher Salary
$32,904 Yearly
$15.82 hourly

What Am I Worth?

How To Become a Substitute Teacher
How To Become a Substitute Teacher Career Overview

States With The Most Substitute Teacher Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active substitute teacher jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where substitute teachers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Substitute Teacher Jobs By State

Substitute Teacher Education

Substitute Teacher Majors

12.3 %

Substitute Teacher Degrees


67.4 %


12.9 %


12.8 %

Top Colleges for Substitute Teachers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. SUNY at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

7. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

9. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For a Substitute Teacher

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 19.3% of substitute teachers listed kids on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Substitute Teacher Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Substitute Teacher templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Substitute Teacher resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Substitute Teacher Demographics

Substitute Teacher Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among substitute teachers, 72.8% of them are women, while 27.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among substitute teachers is White, which makes up 62.9% of all substitute teachers.

  • The most common foreign language among substitute teachers is Spanish at 60.5%.

Work Experience Programs For Substitute Teachers

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Wealth Management Program

Company: Goodbody

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Law School Experience Program

Company: Winston & Strawn

Cost: Free

Duration: 6-7 hours

Public Health Policy & Management Program

Company: Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Leading a classroom Program

Company: Teach for Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 2 hours

SMART goals Program

Company: Teach for Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 2 hours

Digital Law Program

Company: Herbert Smith Freehills

Cost: Free

Duration: 7-9 hours

Online Courses For Substitute Teacher That You May Like

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Teaching Impacts of Technology in K-12 Education

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The Teacher and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social and emotional learning, or SEL, programs have flourished in schools during the last decade. These programs vary widely but most share a concern for five individual, student competencies: self awareness; self-management; social awareness; relationship skills; and finally responsible decision making. It is important for teachers and parents to know about and understand these programs. While lots of SEL programs emphasize K-12 student social and emotional learning, only a very few programs...

Educating Deaf Children: Becoming an Empowered Teacher

Many Deaf children around the world still leave school functionally illiterate. In some cases there is no allowance made for education of Deaf children at all. This 4 week course provides you with invaluable knowledge and skills about teaching Deaf children. You will learn about the importance of Deaf culture and community, the need for a language rich environment for the Deaf child from as young as possible, and that having access to sign language can help Deaf children academically,...

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Best States For a Substitute Teacher

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a substitute teacher. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, California, Washington, and Oregon. Substitute teachers make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $39,750. Whereas in California and Washington, they would average $38,660 and $38,025, respectively. While substitute teachers would only make an average of $37,742 in Oregon, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Arizona

Total Substitute Teacher Jobs: 1,054
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Nevada

Total Substitute Teacher Jobs: 615
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. New Mexico

Total Substitute Teacher Jobs: 315
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Substitute Teachers

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Top Substitute Teacher Employers

Most Common Employers For Substitute Teacher

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Wake County Public School System$42,677$20.52319
2Chicago Public Schools$40,877$19.65899
3Los Angeles Unified School District$40,611$19.52369
4Fairfax County Public Schools$40,263$19.36803
5Prince William County Public Schools$39,647$19.06383
6City of New York$33,353$16.04450
7Cobb County School District$32,894$15.81349
8Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools$30,136$14.49315
9Broward County Public Schools$28,828$13.86772
10Substitute Teacher Service$28,759$13.83402

Substitute Teacher Videos

Becoming a Substitute Teacher FAQs

Are Substitute Teachers In Demand?

Yes, substitute teachers are in demand. The need for substitute teachers was already an issue before the pandemic, and now it has only worsened. In the face of COVID-19, many schools now grapple with a labor shortage, and many substitutes may be wary of returning to in-person instruction.

How Can I Be A Substitute Teacher?

To become a substitute teacher, you'll need at least a high diploma, the ability to pass a background check and have the flexibility to work as needed. However, requirements to become a substitute teacher vary by state and school district.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Substitute Teacher License?

It can take anywhere from 20 hours to four years to get a substitute teacher license. Substitute teacher license requirements vary from state to state and from school district to school district.

Is Being A Substitute Teacher Worth It?

Yes, being a substitute teacher is worth it. This is true whether you are just starting a career in teaching or thinking about a career in teaching and want to learn more or for those just looking to make some extra money with a flexible part-time job.

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