How To Become a Substitute Teacher In Missouri 

how to become a substitute teacher in Missouri
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Substitute teaching can be a way for aspiring teachers to gain experience before pursuing Full Time Employment in teaching roles. Becoming a substitute teacher in Missouri will also prepare you for a better career in teaching.

Missouri is an ideal state for individuals who are looking forward to becoming substitute teachers. Also, the offered salary and flexibility of time make it a better choice for individuals who want to become part-time teachers in the state.

Learning more about becoming a substitute teacher in Missouri can help you determine if this job is right for you. 

Therefore, in this article, we explore the duties of a substitute teacher, list steps on how to become a substitute teacher in Missouri, discuss the average salary of a substitute teacher, and provide other relevant information you need to know about substitute teachers in Missouri.

Who Is a Substitute Teacher? 

A substitute teacher is a paraprofessional educator who supervises and continues a permanent teacher’s classes and lesson plans for students when the regular teacher is absent or on short-term leave.  A substitute teacher is responsible for communicating with parents, organizing materials, leaving notes for teachers after they leave, and collecting forms from students. 

The duties of a substitute teacher may vary. However, some common duties of a substitute teacher include:

  1. The following lesson plans are defined by the regular teacher to create a cohesive and consistent learning experience for students.
  2. Promoting good behavior and in-class engagement 
  3. Manage the classroom effectively to encourage student participation, minimize distractions, and maintain a positive learning environment. As well as to monitor the progress of students.
  4. Assigning classwork and homework and keeping the assignments organized for when the teacher returns
  5. Assisting with classroom activities.

What Are The Daily Activities Of A Substitute Teacher?

A substitute teacher’s day can vary depending on the grade level, school, and subject they are teaching. 

However, some daily tasks that a substitute teacher may perform during a typical day are:

  • Arrive early and check in with the office staff.
  • Review the lesson plan provided by the regular teacher. 
  • Set up the classroom and prepare all the necessary equipment or resources needed to start the day.
  • Deliver the lessons according to the plan and objectives. 
  • Collect and grade any assignments or tests.
  • Leave a note for the regular teacher summarizing what was covered, how the students performed, and any issues or concerns.

What Is a Substitute Teacher’s Work Environment Like?

Substitute teachers work in a traditional classroom setting (just like a regular teacher) and commonly instruct students in kindergarten through 12th grade. 

Also, the specific amount of time a substitute teacher works each week usually varies depending on the demand for substitutes in their school districts. However, they typically work six to seven hours per day in Missouri. Sometimes they may also work overtime if they are grading papers, projects, or exams.

What Are The Benefits Of Being a Substitute Teacher In Missouri?

Here are some benefits of becoming a substitute teacher in Missouri:

  1. Gaining valuable classroom experience as an aspiring teacher 
  2. Working closely with children, which may feel rewarding
  3. Improve your chances of landing a full-time teaching career.
  4. Acquire an impressive array of transferable skills
  5. Having flexible schedule options to work when you want to.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Substitute Teacher In Missouri?

The time it takes to become a substitute teacher in Missouri can vary. For example, if you pursue a bachelor’s degree part-time, it can take longer, though you can finish the education requirement within five to six years.

However, if you choose to pursue an associate degree, full-time or part-time, you can complete it within two years.

Completing the application sooner can help you start this career on time. The background check and fingerprint test results can take a week or two, so you can likely become a substitute teacher within three years, depending on the educational degree you wish to pursue.

What Skills Are Necessary For a Substitute Teacher? 

Substitute teachers should have certain skills in the profession before applying for jobs. We’ll briefly explore the skills and how they will impact your job.

1. Communication Skills: 

Substitute teachers must possess the ability to effectively communicate with students of all ages, including being able to confidently speak in front of classes. 

This will help you establish a positive and professional relationship with students and collaborate with other teaching professionals to ensure students are safe.

2. Classroom Management Skills: 

To succeed as a substitute teacher, you must have classroom management skills. These skills will help you maintain a positive and productive learning environment as well as prevent disruptive behavior in the classroom.

3. Time Management Skills: 

This type of skill is crucial if you want to excel as a substitute teacher (not just in Missouri but around the world). This is because you must balance multiple responsibilities in a limited amount of time. 

Effective time management will allow you to effectively plan and organize your day, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines.

4. Leadership: 

Substitute teachers must have the confidence to lead a lesson, engage the students, and encourage them to complete assigned work. 

They should also have strong problem-solving skills to help identify and analyze issues and confidently develop and implement effective solutions.

5. Organizational Skills: 

Substitute teachers are educators who help permanent teachers by continuing all lesson plans, collecting all assignments, and filling them correctly so the teacher to easily be able to find them when they return.

6. Adaptability Skills: 

They should have the ability to adapt. Substitute teachers are required to come into a classroom with already established rules and where students have developed a rapport with their teacher, as well as teach lessons that have already been planned.

These professionals should be comfortable picking up where the teacher left off and following their instructions.

What Are The Salary Expectations For Substitute Teachers In Missouri?

The average substitute teacher salary in Missouri is $131 per day. This translates to $38,394 per year. The highest-earning substitute teacher earns above $45,000 annually. 

The varying wages depend on the school district, subject of specialization, years of experience as a substitute teacher, and location. 

According to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Salaries, here are some cities in Missouri that offer the highest average hourly rates for substitute teachers.

  1. Kansas City: $21.26 per hour
  2. St. Louis: $23.26 per hour 
  3. Chesterfield: $20.38 per hour 
  4. Jennings: $19.62 per hour 
  5. University City: $19.55 per hour 
  6. Blue Springs: $19.27 per hour 

What Qualifications Does Substitute Teaching Experience Add To My Resume?

If you plan on working as a full-time educator, having substitute teaching experience can provide you with an excellent classroom experience that complements your degree as well as your observation and teaching practicum hours. 

Also, you may consider using substitute teaching experience to demonstrate your abilities and skills, such as time management, behavior management, collaboration with other teachers, and good communication with students.

Individuals who are substitute teachers but don’t have an interest in becoming full-time teachers can also make use of substitute teaching experience by demonstrating transferable skills such as leadership, adaptability, and time management. 

This experience can help professionals on a variety of career paths and at different stages of their career development.

How To Become a Substitute Teacher In Missouri

Below are some steps you can follow to help you become a substitute teacher in Missouri.

Step 1: Complete Higher Education. 

To become a substitute teacher in Missouri, your first step is to complete a minimum bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. 

For most schools in Missouri, there are specific areas of study that you can have with your bachelor’s degree to be able to teach in the subjects in which you plan to teach. However, setting your professional goals can help you determine which program to pursue.

For example, a candidate with a biology degree may be eligible to teach science classes, or a candidate with a degree in English literature may be eligible to teach language arts or English classes. 

Step 2: Gain Relevant Skills And Experience.

A substitute teacher must have the necessary skills and ability to maintain a positive learning environment and ensure that the classroom is managed effectively to encourage student participation, minimize distractions, and fit the needs of each student. 

The experience requirements for substitute teachers are typically not as high as they are for full-time teachers. However, it is advantageous to have a candidate who already has experience teaching children or working with children. 

Some ways to earn teaching or childcare experience if you choose to become a substitute teacher include:

  • Working as a babysitter or nanny
  • Volunteering at a school or daycare
  • Working in the children’s department of a library
  • Volunteering at a school or daycare

Step 3: Create An Online Profile.

Once you have obtained the necessary education and skills required to become a substitute teacher, you should create an online profile with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

This requires you to provide basic information about yourself and your credentials. With this profile, you’ll be able to submit the necessary documents, apply for a certificate, and complete additional steps to becoming a substitute teacher in Missouri.

Step 4: Apply For a Certificate

After creating an online profile with DESE, you can apply for a certificate directly through the DESE website. This requires you to pay a $50 processing fee; the fee will be paid at the time the application is submitted online. 

Also, as part of the application process, you must mail your official education transcripts to the educator certification office, showing proof of your 60-hour education.

DESE issues two types of substitute certificates, depending upon the setting(s) in which an individual will be placed: A Content Substitute Certificate is for individuals wishing to substitute teach in the K–12 classroom setting (elementary, middle, and high school content areas, special education, music, art, PE, and more).

 Note that a substitute certificate can only be granted to an individual who has completed a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit from a regionally accredited, academic degree-granting college or university. 

A career technical substitute is for individuals who will only substitute teach in a career center or an approved vocational program in courses such as welding, carpentry, nursing, and others.

To apply for certification, follow these steps:

  • Log into the DESE page and choose the educator certification system, then substitute a certificate
  • Complete the certificate application 
  • Applicants will be required to pay a $50 processing fee at this time.
  • Obtain and mail all official college transcripts.
  • Submit fingerprints.

How do I renew a substitute teacher certificate?

To renew a substitute certificate that has expired, follow these steps:

  • Log into the DESE page and choose substitute applications. 
  • Complete and apply.
  • Applicants will be required to pay a $50 processing fee. 
  • Obtain and mail all official college transcripts.
  • A new criminal fingerprint or background clearance is required.

Step 5: Complete a Background Check.

All candidates applying to be substitute teachers in Missouri must complete a background check that includes fingerprinting. You can submit your background check through your online profile and get your fingerprint tested at local facilities. 

From there, you can check the status of your background check through the DESE website. Once it shows a clear criminal record, the state can approve your application. 

Step 6: Update Your Resume

Revise your resume to include your new skills, and look for opportunities to customize it further for substitute teaching positions. 

For example, update your work history to include positions related to working with children or teenagers and ensuring their safety, such as working in a daycare or as a babysitter.

Step 7: Find Substitute Teacher Jobs.

Once you have completed all your education and certificate requirements, you can start searching for substitute teacher positions in your community. You can search online job boards, which usually list teaching positions, and contact local educational facilities to learn about available substitute roles.

The DESE website also provides resources where you can find jobs and where schools can post open substitute teaching positions. 

You can use this information to search for available substitute teacher jobs in Missouri. For example, look at what skills each position lists and use your application to show how your skills match the position’s needs.


Substitute teaching offers a variety of perks and opportunities, one of which includes time flexibility, experience, transferable skills, salary, and more. 

This article has provided a guide on how to become a substitute teacher in Missouri, and we hope it serves as a guide to your search. 

Common Teaching Job Interview Questions and Answers
Common Teaching Job Interview Questions and Answers




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