How to Be a Substitute Teacher and Take Advantage of Incentives

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If there’s one job that’s in high demand right now, it’s substitute teaching. All you have to do is open up a tab in your browser and type in “jobs near me” and you’ll start to see ads offering flexible hours and “no experience necessary” to help fill the gaps in your local school system.

And while it’s easy to blame the need for substitute teachers exclusively on the pandemic, this trend also speaks to something deeper: A shortage of teachers that started over 20 years ago.

We dug in to find out just what caused these changes, and how you can cash in on an opportunity to try your hand at teaching. Here’s everything you need to know about how to be a substitute teacher right now.

Why Schools are Paying More for Subs

According to ZipRecruiteraverage hourly pay for substitute teachers ranges from $10.64 to $15.61 depending on the state, or up to $32,474 if doing it full-time. The top-paying states are Massachusetts, Alaska, Nevada and Washington.

But that’s not the whole picture. As it gets more difficult to keep up with demand, some school districts are increasing wages, adding incentives and relaxing their usual requirements for substitute teachers.

Recent reports about substitute teacher shortages include stories about school boards hiking pay as they struggle with shortages: up to $240 a day in one district, bonuses up to $500 in another, and $130 per day for those with a teaching license in yet another district.

COVID is playing a role, with more teachers falling ill or in quarantine. But to fully understand what’s driving the shortage, it’s helpful to go back a few years.

According to a 2016 national survey of college freshmen, only 4.2% of students said they intended to major in education — this compared with 11% in 2000. The downward trend seems to have only gotten worse: In 2019, the Student Research Foundation reported that only 3.6% of high school students intend to be teachers.

Combine this…

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