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Become a substitute teacher in Illinois: the complete guide

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Looking to become a substitute teacher in Illinois? Swing Education is now servicing the greater Chicago area! 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.

MORE GUIDES TO BECOMING A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER: New York | Texas | California | Arizona | New Jersey | Washington D.C. 

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Overview of requirements

Substitute teaching license and registration

Background check

TB risk assessment or test

Required signatures

Mandated reporter acknowledgment form

Getting in the classroom

Overview of requirements

  • Have a bachelor’s degree
  • Obtain a substitute teaching license (SUB) OR Professional Educator License (PEL) in Illinois
  • Pass a fingerprint background check
  • Complete a TB Risk Assessment or test

Substitute teaching license and registration

In order to begin your Illinois substitute teaching journey, you’ll first need to have either a substitute teaching license (SUB) or a professional educator license (PEL) in Illinois. A substitute teaching license is valid for five years and can be used to teach all public school grades.

If you’re new to the field, applying for a substitute license may be your best bet. To get started, login or create an Education Licensure Information System (ELIS) account with the Illinois State Board of Education and follow the substitute application process:

  1. Apply for the substitute license in your ELIS account
  2. Pay the $50 application fee
  3. Send your official* transcripts directly to either: OR

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.

If subbing directly with Swing Education, be sure to upload the license to your account so we can verify your Illinois Educator Identification Number (IEIN).

Background check

Before teaching as a substitute teacher in Illinois, you’ll need to get a background check. Two background checks are required – one for Swing Education and one for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). After completing this form, bring it to an  Accurate Biometrics location near you, along with:

No appointment is needed.

If working directly with Swing, be sure to upload your Accurate Biometrics receipts to your profile.

Complete a TB Risk Assessment or test

Some districts and schools, including Chicago Public Schools, require all teachers to get tested within 4 years of starting work. If you don’t have a negative TB test on file, you can:

  • Request a TB test from your personal physician
  • Set up a TB test with Concentra: bring this completed form to any Concentra Location to complete your TB test. They accept both appointments and walk-ins. 

If you already have a negative TB test on file from the past 4 years, feel free to upload directly to your Swing account.

Note: Some schools and districts require a physical TB test vs. the risk assessment. Additionally, some schools and districts require a drug screen. Should either be the case, the necessary information and directions will be communicated to you in your Swing Education account and via email.

Required signatures

Before teaching with Swing Education, you will have to certify that, to the best of your knowledge, you have never been on the CPS Do Not Hire List. 

If you ever worked at a CPS school and were added to the CPS Do Not Hire List, then you would have received a letter regarding your Do Not Hire designation. If you have questions, please visit this link and click ‘Do Not Hire’ tab for more information

Mandated reporter acknowledgment form

All substitute teachers in Illinois are Mandated Reporters under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act [325 ILCS 5/4]. Please log in to your Swing account to review and sign the Mandated Reporter Acknowledgment form to acknowledge your child abuse and neglect reporting obligations under the law. 

Getting in the classroom

Once you’ve passed your background check and earned your license, you’ll be able to start subbing in many Illinois schools!

You can either pursue a position directly with a school, or, if you’re interested in working with a wider variety of students, you can get started with Swing Education.

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

Quick Guide: How to substitute teach in Illinois