Home » Education » Becoming a Substitute Teacher in NC: License-Free Pathways

Becoming a Substitute Teacher in NC: License-Free Pathways

December 22, 2023 by JoyAnswer.org, Category : Education

How do I become a substitute teacher in NC without a license?Explore pathways to becoming a substitute teacher in North Carolina without the need for a teaching license. This guide outlines alternative routes and requirements for aspiring substitutes.

Table of Contents

Becoming a Substitute Teacher in NC: License-Free Pathways

How do I become a substitute teacher in NC without a license?

The specific requirements for becoming a substitute teacher without a license can vary by state and, in some cases, by school district. In North Carolina, there are typically alternative pathways for individuals who want to work as substitute teachers without holding a teaching license. Here are general steps you can take to become a substitute teacher in North Carolina:

  1. Contact the School District:

    • Begin by contacting the school district or districts where you are interested in working as a substitute teacher. Each district may have its own policies and requirements for substitute teachers.
  2. Minimum Educational Requirements:

    • While a teaching license is not always required for substitute teaching, there are usually minimum educational requirements. In many cases, a high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum requirement. Some districts may prefer or require candidates with higher levels of education.
  3. Complete an Application:

    • Obtain and complete a substitute teacher application from the school district. This application may be available on the district's website or through the human resources department.
  4. Background Check:

    • Expect to undergo a background check as part of the application process. School districts are diligent about ensuring the safety of students, and a clear background check is a standard requirement.
  5. Orientation or Training:

    • Some school districts require substitute teachers to attend an orientation or training session. This session may cover classroom management, district policies, and other important information.
  6. Availability and Flexibility:

    • Demonstrate your availability and flexibility when it comes to accepting substitute assignments. School districts often appreciate substitutes who can cover various subjects and grade levels.
  7. Maintain Good Communication:

    • Keep in communication with the school district's human resources or substitute teacher coordinator. Respond promptly to calls or emails regarding potential assignments.
  8. Consider Additional Qualifications:

    • While not always required, having additional qualifications such as relevant experience working with children, completing substitute teacher training, or holding an associate's or bachelor's degree can enhance your prospects.
  9. Apply to Multiple Districts (if applicable):

    • If you are interested in substitute teaching in multiple school districts, you may need to complete applications for each district separately. Policies can vary, so it's important to follow the requirements of each district where you want to work.

It's important to note that the information provided here is a general guide, and you should verify the specific requirements with the school district(s) where you are interested in substitute teaching. School districts in North Carolina may have different procedures and preferences, and they will provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information on how to become a substitute teacher in their jurisdiction.

Pathways to Becoming a Substitute Teacher in NC without a License:

In North Carolina, you can become a substitute teacher without a teaching license by completing the Substitute Effective Teacher Training (SETT) program or the Effective Teacher Training (ETT) program. Let's explore these pathways:

Substitute Effective Teacher Training (SETT):

  • Eligibility: High school diploma or GED equivalent and no prior teaching experience required.
  • Format: Online modules covering classroom management, lesson planning, instructional strategies, assessment, and student engagement.
  • Cost: Varies depending on provider, typically around $100-$200.
  • Completion: Upon successful completion, you can register as a non-certified substitute teacher with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI).

Effective Teacher Training (ETT):

  • Eligibility: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and no prior teaching experience required.
  • Format: More comprehensive than SETT, including online modules and in-person sessions covering similar topics in greater depth.
  • Cost: Varies depending on provider, typically around $200-$500.
  • Completion: Upon successful completion, you can register as a non-certified substitute teacher with the NC DPI and are eligible to pursue a Provisional Teaching License through an approved teacher preparation program.

Additional Pathways:

  • Alternative Licensure Programs: Some NC universities offer alternative licensure programs for aspiring teachers without a traditional education degree. These programs typically require a bachelor's degree in another field and intensive coursework with practica.
  • Military Experience: If you have prior military experience in education or training, you may be eligible for a temporary teaching license in NC.

Opportunities and Policies for Substitute Teaching in NC without Licensure:


  • Non-certified substitute teachers can teach all grade levels and subjects in NC, offering a wide range of opportunities across the state.
  • High demand for substitute teachers: Due to the ongoing teacher shortage, NC schools are actively seeking qualified substitutes, creating ample opportunities for employment.
  • Flexible schedule: Substitute teaching allows you to choose your days and assignments, making it ideal for those seeking flexible work options.
  • Gain valuable experience: Working as a substitute can provide valuable experience and insight into the teaching profession, potentially leading to future career opportunities.


  • No specific subject area endorsements required for non-certified substitutes.
  • Length of assignments: Non-certified substitutes can cover short-term absences (up to 45 days) but cannot hold long-term assignments without certification.
  • Evaluation: Substitute teachers are regularly evaluated by school administrators for effectiveness and adherence to guidelines.

Alternative Qualifications and Requirements for Substitute Teachers in NC:

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to effectively manage a classroom and engage students.
  • Adaptability and flexibility to handle different grade levels and subjects.
  • Passion for learning and a desire to support student success.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Positive attitude and professionalism.

While a teaching license is not required initially, completing the SETT or ETT program demonstrates your commitment to professional development and provides valuable preparation for the classroom.

Remember, becoming a substitute teacher can be a rewarding career path, even without a license. With the right training, skills, and dedication, you can make a positive impact on students and build a fulfilling career in education.

If you have any further questions about specific requirements, available opportunities, or resources for substitute teachers in NC, feel free to ask!

Tags Substitute Teaching , Licensure Exemptions

People also ask

  • What are some tips for substitute teachers?

    The most common tips for substitute teachers I had received from veteran teachers in the past, and read on teacher blogs, was to be forthcoming and give students my expectations and consequences as soon as I said "good morning." Lay all of the cards out on the table and be up-front with the class.
    Explore useful tips and advice for substitute teachers to navigate classroom settings effectively and create a conducive learning environment. ...Continue reading

  • What are the best online courses for substitute teachers?

    Advanced Special Education Online Course – a professional development course designed to help substitute teachers understand the more advanced teaching strategies and skills required to become more effective in the classroom. Available for all current or prospective substitute teachers.
    Discover some of the best online courses tailored for substitute teachers. Enhance your skills and knowledge to excel in the role of a substitute educator. ...Continue reading

  • Do substitute teachers for CMS qualify for unemployment benefits?

    Substitute teachers for CMS do not qualify for unemployment benefits because they have a temporary status with CMS. Substitutes are not allowed to work in another capacity within CMS in addition to the substitute position.
    Understand the eligibility criteria and considerations regarding unemployment benefits for substitute teachers within CMS. This article provides insights into the qualifications and procedures related to claiming unemployment benefits. ...Continue reading

The article link is https://joyanswer.org/becoming-a-substitute-teacher-in-nc-license-free-pathways, and reproduction or copying is strictly prohibited.