An example substitute teacher job description.

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Are you passionate about making a difference in the lives of students? Do you have a knack for engaging with young minds and fostering a love for learning? If so, a rewarding opportunity awaits those who want to become a substitute teacher. 

What exactly does the substitute teaching job entail? 

Kelly Education works with thousands of schools across the country to recruit and hire qualified people to fill substitute teacher jobs. Let’s break down the job description for a substitute teacher. 

What’s included in an example job description?

Job descriptions outline each school district’s expectations, hiring conditions, and required skills. You’ll know from the get-go if you meet the qualifications and whether your professional goals align with the job. When we hire substitute teachers, we often start with this example substitute teacher job description. Feel free to check it out as it provides many of the common themes that we see in job descriptions across the country. 

Remember, this is just an example; you can find job descriptions for your specific district on the district website or local job boards. 

Job title.

School districts use different terminology for substitute teacher positions. Other possible job titles include (and are certainly not limited to) guest teacher, substitute instructor, teacher on-call, supply teacher (a title commonly used in other countries), temporary teacher, relief teacher, and more. It’s smart to know how schools might list these postings. Otherwise, you might not recognize the opportunity. 

Organizational reporting.

The job description should include the basic reporting structure for the position. Who will be supervising you? Who can you ask for help? Most of the time, substitute teachers report to the school principal or a human resources staff member. 


In any job description, you’ll likely see a helpful high-level summary of the role. Here, you’ll find information about the position’s goals and the assignment’s length. You may also learn what subject and grade you’ll teach or whether you will support a specific group of students (i.e., special education or general education). 


The following section defines the qualifications for the role. Prospective substitute teachers should read through these conditions to ensure they’re a good fit. Qualifications will include the minimum state requirements (such as age, background checks, teaching credentials, employment eligibility in the U.S., and education) as well as the district’s supplemental prerequisites and demands of the specific job. 

Some job descriptions will split qualifications into two categories: required and preferred. While preferred qualifications (such as advanced degrees, bilingualism, or prior teaching experience) are not mandatory for employment, they’ll give you an advantage when applying. 

Example qualifications might include the following: 

  • 18 years of age or older (Some districts prefer candidates who are 21+.) 
  • Current substitute teacher permit (if required in your state) 
  • High school diploma or equivalent (Districts may request a bachelor’s degree or higher.) 
  • Effective communication skills (English fluency required) 
  • Ability to follow directions and support the instructional needs of students 
  • General competency in academic subject areas 
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills 
  • Flexibility and problem-solving skills 
  • Patience and positivity 
  • Fundamental understanding of child development 
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality regarding students and school personnel 
  • Basic computer competencies 

Special requirements.

School districts can stipulate additional screenings, such as physical exams, drug tests, or TB tests. They might also mandate reference checks, pre-hire orientation seminars, or supplemental training sessions. 

Job responsibilities.

Substitute teacher job duties vary from school to school but typically include the following responsibilities. 

  • Report to the school’s administrative office at the beginning of the day to check in and obtain relevant materials. 
  • Dress appropriately, following district standards of professional conduct. 
  • Execute the lesson plan as directed by the full-time teacher or develop an appropriate lesson plan if none is provided. 
  • Take attendance and report absent students following school procedure. 
  • Answer student questions to the best of your ability. 
  • Supervise students and maintain a productive, safe learning environment. 
  • Support the individual learning needs of students accordingly.
  • Assign and/or collect homework per the guidance in the lesson plans. 
  • Supplement class time with additional activities as time allows. 
  • Follow district policy for all safety protocols and disciplinary situations. 
  • Compile an end-of-day report for the full-time teacher. 
  • Report to the school’s administrative office at the end of the day to check out and return materials. 

The school might request additional duties for long-term substitute teaching assignments. 

  • Develop extended lesson plans in line with curricular guidance. 
  • Create, administer, and grade quizzes and tests. 
  • Participate in parent-teacher conferences. 
  • Attend and help facilitate school functions. 

Our job description outlines unacceptable responsibilities as well. You must understand the expectations of the role, but it’s equally essential that the district does not place you in an unsafe or inappropriate situation. 

Substitute teachers for Kelly Education will not perform any of the below duties: 

  • Administer medication to students. 
  • Assist with medical demands for students needing higher levels of care (such as administering feeding tubes or diapering). 
  • Supervise a student alone. 
  • Transport students in a vehicle. 
  • Have sole supervision of playground duty. 
  • Lift more than 25 pounds. 
  • Grant permission for a student to leave school early. 
  • Perform crossing guard or bus driving duties. 
  • Facilitate a lesson plan that requires potentially dangerous equipment or machinery such as woodworking or metal shop. 
  • Participate in physical activities. 
  • Restrain a student physically. 

Substitute teacher salary.

Many job descriptions now also include information about how much substitute teachers get paid. Most substitute teachers don’t earn a salary, rather it’s a per diem or hourly rate.

Ready to apply to be a substitute teacher?

Do you meet the qualifications? Can you handle the responsibilities?

Are you wondering, where are the substitute teacher jobs near me and how do I apply to be a substitute teacher?  Fill out our brief interest form and one of our recruiters will contact you to answer your questions and share more about opportunities to become a sub teacher with one of our school district partners.


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