Retired teachers — considering becoming a substitute teacher?

Reading Time: 5 minutes


Once a teacher retires, it’s common to miss being in the classroom. Many still want to work and inspire students. Some retired teachers also miss the sense of community they had with other faculty and staff members. Others would like to supplement their retirement income to cover increasing costs of travel or hobbies. 

At Kelly Education, we hire thousands of substitute teachers and support staff for schools across the country. If you’re a retired teacher considering becoming a substitute teacher, your skills and expertise are in high demand. There are many options available to get you working in schools again while still maintaining your pension and flexibility. 

Why substituting is a great option for retired teachers.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing like inspiring students. With substitute teaching, you not only get to continue doing what you love, but you also get to do it with fewer papers to grade and lesson plans to coordinate. Retired teachers also make great mentors to younger educators coming up through the ranks. 

What are the benefits of substitute teaching for retirees?

There are some top reasons to become a substitute teacher that apply to retired teachers.  

  • Flexible schedules. For those who enjoy the freedom of having control over their schedule, substitute teaching provides the flexibility to choose when you work. You get to decide if you want to take a longer-term assignment or only work a few days a week. If there are weeks that you cannot work due to vacation or other plans, that’s fine, too. 
  • Supplemental income. Substitute teaching provides a decent income and can be a way for retired teachers to supplement their pensions. Plus, in many school districts, those with experience or who have teaching degrees get paid more to substitute teach. 
  • Diversified experience. As a teacher, you’re typically assigned to a particular grade or subject. As a substitute teacher, you have the opportunity to teach different grade levels and classes, making the experience interesting and challenging in a positive way. 
  • Continue to make a difference. For retired teachers who love influencing the lives of their students, substitute teaching is a great way to continue that impact. You can also make a valuable difference in the lives of up-and-coming educators by helping to mentor them. 

How will substitute teaching impact my pension?

Generally speaking, it’s possible to become a substitute teacher and still maintain your pension from teaching. If you have a pension from one district, for example, you might be able to substitute teach in another district. 

Many states have also passed legislation to protect retired teachers and their pensions if they want to return to teaching part-time as substitute teachers. This legislation helps protect both employees and employers by providing guidelines as to what is allowed. If you’re working with one of the Kelly Education district partners, our team member can answer any specific questions you might have about your pension and substitute teaching. 

What if it’s been five or ten years since I retired?

If you’re a retired teacher who has been out of the workforce for a few years, it’s understandable that you might be concerned that you might be out of touch with things like current classroom policies and technology. The key is trusting that you’ll be able to come up to speed quickly, just as you did when you first started teaching. 

When you work with Kelly Education, we will provide free training to help you feel comfortable being in the classroom. You will also participate in new hire onboarding training that goes over the policies and procedures of Kelly Education and the school district where you’ll be working. 

What are the steps to get back into the classroom as a substitute teacher?

Each state and school district has varying minimum requirements to become a substitute teacher. Substitute teachers always have to go through a pre-employment and onboarding process, similar to being hired as any other type of employee working at a school. The requirements to becoming a substitute teacher can include any of the following: 

  • Education verification
  • License or credentialing
  • Employment eligibility verification
  • Training
  • Drug screening
  • TB test 

If you’re a recently retired teacher, you might find that some of the standard requirements are reduced thanks to your prior experience as a teacher. Below, we dive a bit deeper into what you can expect. 

  • Education verification. Different school districts within different states have different minimum requirements to substitute teach. Sometimes it’s a high school diploma, sometimes it’s a college degree, and sometimes, it’s in between. As a retired teacher, you’ll typically have met the minimum requirements. However, don’t be surprised when you still have to submit your transcripts for verification, since there are laws and considerations to ensure that each employee follows the process for employment, regardless of background and experience. 
  • Licensure or certification. Some states require substitute teachers to obtain a license or credential that’s issued by the state. In many instances, if you have teaching experience and your teaching credentials are still in good standing, you can forgo this step. This is because the type of certification you have is going to be higher than what is required of a substitute teacher. 
  • Employment verification. All employees in the United States must complete an I-9 form to verify employment. 
  • Background check and fingerprinting. Almost all school districts require a background check as part of the pre-employment process. Regardless, Kelly Education requires that all of their substitute teachers pass a criminal background check to ensure the safety of students. Some states also require fingerprinting as part of the background check process. 
  • Training. Training is sometimes required for substitute teachers before they begin in the classroom, though many school districts do not require any training for retired teachers. However, it’s our policy that all teachers, regardless of experience level, go through our free ClassSmarts training. 
  • Additional requirements. Some school districts have additional requirements for substitute teachers, like drug testing or TB test clearance. 

The fees and time requirements of each step vary between school districts. When you become a substitute teacher with Kelly Education, a recruiter will work with you to answer your questions and walk you through each step of the process. 

What are the benefits of working with Kelly Education?

Kelly Education works with hundreds of school districts across the United States to recruit and hire qualified substitute teachers. When you work with one of our recruiters, you can trust that you’re not alone in the process. Our team understands the ins and outs of becoming a substitute teacher as a retiree and will guide you each step of the way. 

You also have access to great benefits and perks when you work with Kelly Education, which can be great additions or supplements to your current retiree benefits. These include: 

  • Kelly-sponsored ACA health coverage 
  • Vision coverage 
  • Dental coverage 
  • Telemedicine 
  • Short-term disability 
  • Critical illness coverage 
  • Life insurance 
  • Accident insurance 
  • Holiday pay plan 
  • Corporate discounts 
  • Complimentary employee well-being program 
  • Service bonus plan 
  • Transportation spending accounts 
  • Life coaching sessions 

Are you ready to get back into the classroom?

Are you wondering, where are the substitute teacher jobs near me? 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 substitute teacher as a retired teacher with one of our school district partners.


Kelly Education logo

Share this post

Find your next job

Discover thousands of temporary, full-time, and remote jobs for beginning and experienced job seekers.