An additional pathway to becoming a substitute teacher in Missouri is now in effect. The State Board of Education approved an emergency amendment, moving the timeline for the change to November 2.  

Applicants may now obtain a substitute teaching certificate with a high school diploma, General Education Diploma (GED) or High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). They must also successfully complete a minimum of 20 clock hours of DESE-approved substitute teacher training that includes professionalism, honoring diversity, engaging students, foundational classroom management techniques, basic instructional strategies, supporting students with special needs, and working with at-risk youth. Both the previously required college credit path and the new DESE-approved training path are available to potential applicants.

The Missouri State Teachers Association supports this rule change based on MSTA Adopted Resolutions. MSTA supports innovative strategies to recruit and certificate substitute teachers, provided that applicants complete a robust program that prepares candidates to deliver instruction to students and includes all health and safety screening required of school staff. 

Prior to this change, those interested in becoming substitute teachers were required to complete the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s online substitute certificate application, pass a fingerprint/background check and submit original transcripts showing sixty semester hours or more of successfully completed college level credit from a regionally accredited academic degree granting institution recognized by DESE.

The new path to certification closely mirrors the program put in place under the emergency rule adopted by DESE in 2020, which allowed applicants an alternative path to becoming a substitute teacher due to a shortage worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The emergency rule expired in February 2021 and, while it was in place, more than 4,000 people completed the training to become substitute teachers in Missouri. In April, the State Board of Education took action to renew the program and began the rulemaking process.