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Apr 17, 2019

The Complete Guide to becoming a substitute teacher in Washington, D.C.

Substitute teaching is a rewarding and flexible way to develop your career on your terms. Whether you have recently earned your degree, are entering the workforce after time off, or want to continue teaching in retirement, substitute teaching may be a natural next step for you!

In this guide to becoming a substitute teacher in Washington D.C., you’ll find information on subbing requirements and how you can start applying for substitute teacher jobs in Washington DC.

MORE GUIDES TO BECOMING A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER: New Jersey | Texas | California | New York | Arizona

Is Substitute Teaching Right for You?

Subbing can be a rewarding career choice whether you’re brand new to the workforce, looking to hone your skills, or if you need something flexible to help pay the bills. Here are just a few reasons why people choose subbing:

Make a difference

Subs are called into classrooms for reasons ranging from instances of a teacher on leave, to schools searching for new permanent staff, to school districts facing teacher shortages. You can provide support to the students who need it most.

Choose your schedule

As a sub with an organization like Swing Education, you can work when you want and where you want. Subbing can fit easily around your schedule, whether you’ve got an additional job, family, or lifestyle commitments that you want to maintain.

Cultivate your skills

With all of this variety, you can improve your skills as an educator and get the experience you need to meet any teaching challenge. And even if teaching isn’t your main goal, subbing can help you gain in-demand transferable skills, like problem-solving, written and oral communication, and adaptability.

Substitute Teacher Pay in Washington D.C.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median substitute teacher wage in Washington D.C. is $31,010, or about $120 per day. (That estimate was of May, 2018, so the salary might be slightly higher for the current academic year; for example, Swing Education substitute teachers currently earn an average of around $140 per day in Washington D.C.)

Educational Requirements

Washington D.C. does not have a minimum educational requirement for substitute teachers, but some D.C. schools, districts, and staffing agencies do.

For example, Swing Education requires all of its Washington D.C. substitute teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree. Similarly, DCPS (District of Columbia Public Schools) requires all of its substitute teachers to have their bachelor’s.

Credentials and Permits

Unlike many municipalities, Washington D.C. does not offer a specific substitute teacher permit, and a teaching certificate is not required to become a substitute teacher. (Washington D.C. did used to offer a substitute teaching license, but the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) discontinued the program in March, 2016.)

As a result, each school is free to set its own requirements for substitute teachers. For example, in addition to a college degree, DCPS requires substitute teachers to receive a “Principal Recommendation” from a current district principal.

Substitute Teacher Background Check

There isn’t a uniform background check policy that covers all Washington D.C. schools. Instead, each school or district sets its own policy.

Swing Education requires all of its prospective substitute teachers to successfully complete a fingerprint-based background check.

You can do this by obtaining a personal copy of your police record (PD-70) along with your fingerprint screen. (Get complete, step-by-step instructions for completing your background check with Swing Education by visiting this page.)

Work History Review

Washington D.C. recently passed the School Safety Omnibus Amendment, which requires all substitute teachers to complete a Work History Review.

The work history review includes:

  • Completing a form listing employers for the past 20 years where the scope of employment involved direct integration with children, and affirming s/he has not been accused of sexual misconduct or similar claims. Swing must also follow-up with those employers to confirm the applicants’ responses.
  • Character Reference check
  • Child Abuse Registries check

Getting in the Classroom

Once you’ve passed your education check, background check, and Work History review, you’ll be able to start subbing in many Washington D.C. schools as a Swing Education substitute teacher! You can also explore subbing directly for an area school.

Some of the reasons why Washington D.C. educators like to sub with Swing Education include:

  • Weekly pay
  • Access to a wide variety of local schools
  • Convenient text-based requests
  • Flexibility — sub as much or as little as you want, where you want
  • Giveaways, events, and a supportive community of fellow D.C. substitute teachers

Take the first step to becoming a sub with Swing Education by filling out this form.

Happy subbing!