Career Advice

How to Become a Substitute Teacher

Have you been thinking of having a career change? Going back to school? Not sure you have enough credits to surge onto a new path? Ever thought about going into substitute teaching? Chances are that any career path is acceptable when applying for a substitute teacher certification. Before going into further detail, here is what a substitute teacher is, according to the New Jersey Department of Education.

A substitute teacher is a person assigned to fill an unfilled position. It can be for a vacancy which is for an unfilled position due to retirement, resignation, or permanent departure. It can also be for a temporary leave of absence. All you need are 60 college credit hours. Qualifications and compensations vary from state to state, and district to district at certain times. In the state of New Jersey, there is a teacher shortage and substitutes can always come handy. 

One thing for sure is that there is a substantial amount of paperwork that is submitted to the County Office of Education. One can visit the Certification and Induction section of the NJ Department of Education website. Whether you didn’t study education in college, somehow any career path works well in education.

When applying for certification, make sure to have your sealed college transcripts so your credits are seen by education officials. The first step is to fill out the Substitute Credential Application with your personal basic information like name and address, work/school history. You must get fingerprinted for criminal history background clearance. The fee for the fingerprinting is $11.

For those getting fingerprinted for the first time in New Jersey, it’ll be $67.45. After you pay the fee, do go to IdentoGO form on New Jersey Universal Fingerprint Form. When going to get fingerprinted, do present a valid ID (passport) and IdentoGO form. There is an Oath of Allegiance form that has to get notified. Onc can go to a post office, law office, a pharmacy for a notary.

Regarding your college transcripts, ask your college to mail them to you and when you receive them, do not I repeat do not open them. They are to be sealed because the County Office won’t accept opened transcripts.In regards to substitute certificates, they are to be renewed every 3-5 years. A $125 Certificate Fee by Check or Money Order payable to The Commissioner of Education. So when sending your paperwork to the Commissioner of Education, make sure to have not only the certificate fee, but the notarized Oath of Allegiance form, a criminal history status check, substitute credential application, and sealed transcripts. You can find these requirements through the following websites Guide for Substitute Teacher Certification and Employment in New Jersey ( and Certification & Induction – Substitute Credentials (

 After these are sent, do be aware that it takes a while (weeks, sometimes a month) to receive a call that all of your paperwork is valid. You’ll be provided a website with username and password to access the district portal and see a list of schools where substitutes are needed. It can be exciting when entering a classroom and reading the lesson plans.

If you follow along well, there is a possibility that you can be offered a long-term substitute position. Once you have your substitute license, upload your resume for free on our website, where employers are always seeking outstanding candidates just like you.

To find more K-12 jobs in New Jersey, create a free account on K12JobsNJ. Visit the career advice section for tips on improving your resume, cover letter, or interview skills.