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Getting a college scholarship was amazing.  They covered four years of my schooling, and I can’t put into words how grateful I was for that.

However, I wanted a degree in music education.  That’s a five year degree.  But I was determined I could fit it into 4 years instead.  I didn’t want to pay more out of pocket than I had to.

And I nearly made it!  I fit that five year degree into 4 1/2 years.  But here’s the trouble with graduating in December with a music education degree…no one is hiring teachers in December.

As it turns out, there was a great solution.  Not only did it pay, but it also helped me learn more about teaching kids before I got my first job.

I decided to become a substitute teacher.

How to Become A Substitute Teacher

Secure Your Savings: How to Become a Substitute Teacher. Learn how to get started in substitute teaching, what the expectations are, and how much you might get paid.

If you went to public school, you know that a substitute teacher stands in when the regular classroom teacher can’t be there.  These days there’s more demand for substitute teachers than ever, thanks to extra conferences and learning opportunities that teachers take advantage of during the school day.  Let’s talk about how you can become a substitute teacher.



You obviously have to work during school hours.  That makes this job less flexible for folks with a regular 9-5 job.

But it is flexible in that you can choose which days of the week you want to work.  If you have only Fridays available, you can sign up to sub on Fridays.  If you don’t have a regular job, but need to avoid days that you already have appointments, you can do that.

Once you’re on a sub list, you’ll be called on days that they need your help.  You are always free to turn down work.  That said, if you turn down too many chances, they move you further down the list.  You won’t be the first one they call, and that means less chances for work.  (It’s still worth it, because many districts need subs badly.  They go through the entire list more often than you’d think.)


You never know what you’ll be teaching!  One day it could be elementary gym class.  The next, high school algebra.  The good news is that you simply follow the plan the teacher has left for you, so you don’t have to be great at all subjects.

If you prefer to work with one age, you can specify that you’d only like to work with elementary schoolers (for example).


Again…if you went to a public school, you know how substitute teachers are treated.  If you don’t have a firm hand with the students, they will fight everything you want them to do.  Experience with kids is a big plus.

Pay Range

In my area, subs are paid anywhere from $75 to over $100 per day.  Your mileage may vary!  Each school district will be different.  It’s a good idea to call several districts that are local to you and ask what they pay.  You can sign up to work with more than one district if you’d like more work.


  • Substitute teachers are required to have a bachelor degree*.  (It does NOT have to be a degree in teaching.)  They’ll want to see a college transcript.
  • You’ll need a background check.
  • Some areas require you attend a workshop before you can begin.

*Don’t have a bachelor degree?  You can still sign up to substitute for classified staff.  These are school positions such as aides, janitors, office workers, and more.  Ask at a couple of different school districts about this work.  Be aware that the pay for these jobs is less than substitute teaching.

How to Find Work

As I mentioned earlier, a good place to start is by calling a local school district and asking for advice getting started in substitute teaching.  Every district and county handles substitute teaching differently.

Take These Steps:

  1. Determine if this job is a good match.
  2. Call more than one local school district to learn how to become a substitute teacher.
  3. Save the money in your account.

This was day 27 in the Secure Your Savings and Find Peace in the New Year series.  Go to the bottom of this post to find all the money saving and money making posts in this series!

Become a substitute teacher to get part time work.

It can seem like intimidating work.  But you might find that you enjoy it more than you had expected!  Why not give it a try?

Do you have experience working as a substitute teacher?