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Is Substitute Teacher Training Required In Texas?

Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on February 23, 2021

Substitute teaching is a great way to gain excellent experience in the classroom while being a part of the solution to the state’s teacher shortage problem.

One of the most common questions about becoming a substitute teacher is whether any teacher training is required. 

Any requirements, including substitute teacher training courses, are mandated at the district level - not the state level. 

In other words, in the state of Texas, it is not required for substitute teachers to hold a certificate or undergo any specific training. The Texas Education Agency has instead left it up to individual local school districts or education service centers to decide the requirements or qualifications for the hiring of substitute teachers.

Here are some of the training requirements that may be required of you, depending on where you choose to substitute teach.


District Substitute Teacher Training Program


OrientationOne of the main training requirements you may have to complete if you wish to substitute teach is a district’s substitute teacher training program.

Also called an orientation program in some districts, training may look different in each district. Some may simply require a review of a substitute orientation information, while others may require that you complete several training modules. Some districts may offer this information and training online, while others may require that you attend in-person.

The Lubbock Independent School District requires that prospective substitute teachers first complete an online substitute application. Once applicants complete all the requirements and are approved, they must then complete online substitute training modules. 

In the Canyon Independent School District, training involves topics such as, “classroom discipline, classroom procedures, student health emergencies, ethics, dress code, freedom from harassment, lesson plans and the automated substitute calling system, AESOP,” according to the district’s website. 


Specialized Area Training


If you wish to substitute teach in a specialized field, such as special education, the school district may require additional training of you. Substitute teaching in a specialized field, especially those that face the highest in demand teaching jobs, can provide many benefits.

Not only will you get priceless experience that could help you land a full-time job, you may also see a higher paycheck immediately. 

The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, for example, offers additional daily pay for professional substitutes who take a two-part special education training course and are available to work in specialized instruction classrooms. 

Canyon ISD also offers additional training for individuals interested in substituting in other areas of the school, such as the nurse’s office, or those interested in substituting in classrooms that use tools like smart boards.


Educational Background Prior To Applying


Unrecognizable group of people throwing graduations hats in the air-1The training you receive before you apply to a school district may determine which school districts you are qualified to substitute teach. Although most districts do not require you to have a degree in education, many do require a baseline level of education, whether it’s an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. 

Others may require a certain number of college credit hours, as is the case in the Houston Independent School District (where substitute teachers are referred to as associate teachers) and the Dallas Independent School District. Each requires at least 60 college credit hours. If you fall into this category, make sure you check to see whether a minimum grade point average is required for a credit hour to count toward this total.

Some districts only require a high school diploma or completion of an individual’s GED.

However, it’s important to note that daily pay rates often vary based on the level of education received. For example, in the Austin Independent School District, the base pay for teachers without a degree but who have 60 or more college credit hours is $115. Someone with a degree will earn $125 per day, while someone who is a certified teacher will receive $135 per day. A higher base pay can be achieved if a substitute teacher works at an underperforming school, signs up for a long-term assignment or takes a assignment such as in a special education classroom.


Training Available While Substitute Teaching


A concern for many substitute teachers who want to take their training one step further and become certified to teach in Texas is that any further training they sign up for will conflict with their ability to substitute teach.

Alternative teacher certification programs offer a great opportunity for those who are working full-time or part-time and want to coordinate their class schedules around their work schedules. In fact, nearly 49% of all new teachers are prepared through alternative certification programs, many of which have online training components that can be completed on your own time.

Three other benefits of alternative teacher certification programs include:

  1. Better course availability: If you are substitute teaching in one part of the state, but want to take a course offered on the other side of Texas, you can.
  2. Continuous support: The best programs offer not only trainer advisers but in-field advisers who are accessible to you throughout the school year.
  3. An extensive network: Programs like ECAP have built relationships with school districts in Texas and are among the first to know about any openings. Having multiple networks, including the districts where you substitute teach, when it comes time to apply for a permanent teaching job can make finding success much more likely.

Substitute teaching is a great way to get experience in the front of a classroom while maintaining flexibility in your daily schedule. Ultimately, however, if your goal is to teach full-time in Texas, you must get certified. An alternative teacher certification program will allow you to continue to substitute teach while providing a path to teaching full-time.

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Written by Micah Fikes

Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.

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