skip to main content
two women teachers walking and talking

What’s the difference between certificated and classified substitute teachers?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re just starting to get your feet wet with substitute teaching, you’ll likely have a lot of questions:

“How do I prepare for my first day?”

“What are the requirements for becoming a sub?”

“Do I need a certification?”

Luckily, we’re here to help get you acquainted with the nuances of substitute teaching. On the topic of certifications, let’s take a closer look at the differences between a certificated and classified substitute, as well as the benefits of both.

Certificated vs. classified sub

While teachers must be certified or working toward a certification, substitutes have some flexibility when it comes to credentials. To be a certificated substitute, you’ll need to earn a credential that proves you’ve obtained the necessary knowledge and skills for the role.

To put it simply, certificated subs are required to have a credential, while classified subs are not. 

Benefits of earning a credential

While not all states, schools, or districts require a substitute teaching credential, there are certain benefits to earning one. For example, without a credential, there may be limits on the number of days you can sub in a classroom. With a credential, you earn:

  • Credibility: Earning a credential proves that you have met a certain set of standards and are qualified and competent to run a successful classroom. Additionally, having a credential increases your chances for upward career advancement.
  • Flexibility: When you earn your teaching credential, there’s (practically) no job you aren’t qualified for! You’ll have access to nearly twice as many roles, allowing you to select only the roles that fit best into your life.
  • Stability: Your substitute credential will allow you to stand out against the crowd and qualify for a wider variety of positions, including long-term assignments, paving the way for higher pay and job security.

State specific requirements

Optional credential:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia 
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia

Required credential:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska (if subbing for more than 19 days)
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Please note that whether a credential is required or not, there may be time limits on how long you can substitute teach without one. Additionally, there may be other requirements to get in the classroom (i.e. bachelor’s degree, background check, etc). These requirements are subject to change from district to district.

Call to action for user to sign up to become a Swing Sub.