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How to Get Your Pennsylvania Substitute Teaching License

Jul 23, 2021

 Now maybe the best time to start substitute teaching in Philadelphia. Given the current staffing shortage and increasingly flexible hiring requirements, it’s now easier to pursue meaningful part-time work in education across the state.

There are several pathways to becoming a substitute teacher in Pennsylvania, each with its own tradeoffs in license requirements and permissions. Your best route will likely depend on your prior education, the type of school you want to teach in, and for how long you would like to sub.

Regardless, substitute teachers serve an integral role in every school district, and newcomers and veterans alike now have ample opportunity to work in the City of Brotherly Love. Here’s how to launch your future substitute teaching career in Philadelphia.

 Contact schools of interest and ask about an emergency permit.

Do your research first. While you must have a bachelor’s degree to teach in Pennsylvania, every institution can have different education requirements for substitutes. Private and charter schools may not require them at all. If you have specific schools in mind, contact them to understand their hiring procedure and prerequisites.

For most public schools, if you have a non-education bachelor’s degree, an emergency permit may be your fastest option for becoming a substitute teacher. However, only a school district can request one on your behalf. The district must also prove that there are no appropriately certified educators available to fill the fully advertised position.

While the permit is good for one academic year, schools can request an unlimited number of reissues as long as you complete a state-approved certification program. So, you might as well get certified if you plan on teaching long-term.

 Obtain a teaching certification.

Beyond emergency permits, most public schools in Philadelphia and greater Pennsylvania require you to be formally certified. However, there are multiple ways to earn this required certification. You can pursue this as part of a bachelor’s degree in education or, if you’ve already graduated, through a separate, alternative certification program. The Pennsylvania Department of Education maintains a current list of approved programs on its website.

Popular alternative certification programs include the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellences temporary teaching permit and the Pennsylvania Teacher Intern Certification Program, both of which allow you to teach as you earn your certification.

 Apply for jobs through the right channels.

Once you’re certified, you’ll need to have up-to-date background checks (including a federal and state criminal history and child abuse clearance check), health exams, and professional references at the ready. Then you’re all set to start applying for jobs!

While many Pennsylvania schools and school districts hire their substitute teachers directly, many others use third-party staffing agencies. Instead of applying to each school individually, you can cast a much wider net by using online job boards like the one on Teaching Nomad. This comprehensive search engine allows you to find substitute teaching positions available in Philadelphia and other nearby areas, as well as filter by license and experience requirements.

Register with Teaching Nomad today, and our team will help you discover substitute teaching jobs in Pennsylvania best suited for your needs.

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