Complete Guide to Becoming a Substitute Teacher in Illinois

Clara KimCareer Tips, Recruitment1 Comment

Looking to become a substitute teacher in Illinois? Swing Education is now available in Chicago, Illinois! Substitute teaching is a rewarding job for aspiring teachers, part-time job seekers, and retired teachers or professionals who want to make an impact in the classroom. With Swing Education, substitute teachers can get paid weekly, qualify for potential bonuses, access teaching opportunities in a variety of local schools, and benefit from our tips and resources center. 

Educational Requirements 

In order to substitute teach with Swing Education in Illinois, one must hold a bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) from an accredited college or university.  

Substitute Teaching License and Registration

You can substitute teach with Swing Education if you have a Substitute Teaching License or a Professional Educator License (PEL) in Illinois. If you do not have any one of these licenses already, applying for a Substitute Teacher License is likely the best option. To get started, log in or create an Education Licensure Information System (ELIS) account with the Illinois State Board of Education and follow the Substitute Application process.

Getting a Sub License

  • Once you have an account, log in and click “Apply for a New License, Endorsement, or Approval” on the home screen. Complete the application. 
  • A $50​ fee will be assessed electronically when the application is submitted. Please have a credit card available and save a copy of the receipt so Swing can reimburse you for this fee!
  • Send an official* transcript either electronically to, or via mail to:

Illinois State Board of Education
Educator Licensure
100 N. 1st Street
Springfield, IL 62777

*To be official, transcripts must be submitted in the original, sealed envelope from the college or university or be sent directly by the institution to the Illinois State Board of Education.

What to Do Once You Have Your License

Once you have obtained your license, you must register your license before you can start working as a substitute teacher. Simply log in to your ELIS account and follow the steps under Registrations in the Action Center. 

How to Get a Background Check

Before teaching as a substitute teacher in Illinois, you’ll need to get a background check. If you become a substitute teacher with Swing Education, we will reimburse you for the expenses from your background check. Don’t forget to keep your receipt to be reimbursed!

How to Get a TB Test

Substitute teachers must take and pass Tuberculosis (TB) and drug tests. Some districts and schools, including Chicago Public Schools, require all teachers get tested within 90 days of starting work. Here’s how it works:

  • Request a TB test from you personal physician.
  • Set up a TB test with HealthStreet. If you choose to set up a TB test with HealthStreet, you may also choose to do your drug test at the same clinic. However, please note that you must set up your TB test before you can use this clinic for the drug test.
    • Changing Test Locations: If you need to change your assigned test location, you can email or call (888) 378-2499


Passing a 5-Panel Drug Test

As a substitute teacher, you must also pass a 5-Panel drug test. Your prospective school employer should provide the information as to when and where you can take the test, but to teach with Swing Education, the easiest option will be to set up your test with HealthStreet. 

Are you a retired teacher looking to substitute teach? Make substitute teaching your encore career!

  • Until June 30, 2020, retired teachers can teach in any given school district for up to 120 days or 600 hours each school year without losing retirement benefits.  After June 30, it will go back down to a max of 100 days or 500 paid hours in a school year.

Ready to get started? Subbing is easier with Swing!

Take the first step to becoming a sub with Swing Education by filling out this form. Once you are registered with Swing Education, you will have access to our Swing Community members who will be with you every step of the way.

Need more reasons to start substitute teaching? 

  1. Flexibility: Whether you are exploring the field of teaching or looking to work part-time, substitute teaching gives you the flexibility to choose when you work. Plus, with Swing Education, you receive iOS app notifications or text messages whenever an opportunity becomes available — allowing you to accept requests on the go.
  2. Weekly Pay: Substitute teacher pay generally ranges from $100 to $110 per day in Illinois. With Swing Education, you’re paid weekly so that you see your earnings sooner. If you teach with Swing, we also reimburse 100% of the costs for your background check, fingerprinting, and drug testing requirements — no strings attached.
  3. Be Your Own Boss: As a sub with Swing, you’re essentially your own boss — you have the control to set your own teaching schedule and accept requests from schools where you want to teach. 
  4. Tech-Enabled Matching System: With our text notification capabilities and the new iOS app, it’s faster and easier to browse through requests, set up your schedule, edit your profile, and more! Unlike traditional staffing agencies, we text opportunities to you, which you can accept directly from your phone. No hassle, no confusion. Just accept, schedule, then show up at the school to teach! If you download the iOS app, you can opt in to receive app notifications, instead.


Ready to explore substitute teaching with Swing? 

<I’m Ready. Let’s Start!>

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One Comment on “Complete Guide to Becoming a Substitute Teacher in Illinois”

  1. Hi,
    What about when you have a PEL as a Paraprofessional and also have an associate degree, as in the new short-term sub teaching license? When you don’t have the bachelor degree and do have an associate degree?
    Also, why does/did have a job listed for a position near the Quad Cities and NOT Chicago IL? Are you in other areas in Illinois?


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