How to Become a Substitute Teacher in Ohio: A Quick Guide

Updated on February 1, 2018
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Jennifer Wilber is a freelance writer from Ohio. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.

Almost anyone with a college education can become a substitute teacher!
Almost anyone with a college education can become a substitute teacher!

Background

I started working as a substitute teacher about two months ago. After finishing my bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing, I was still having trouble finding a new job related to my field, and I didn’t want to stay at my previous job. I saw an ad for substitute teaching and thought that it sounded like something I would enjoy doing more than the printing/graphic editing job I was currently working at.

While teaching wasn’t my career goal when I was working on my degree, this job allows me to gain extra career skills that may benefit me in the future, and also provides greater flexibility to continue my job search, as well as to work on my own freelance writing business. It also gives me a sense of giving back to the community that I couldn’t get from my regular corporate job.

Substitute teaching can be a rewarding second career or transitional job between a new career change.
Substitute teaching can be a rewarding second career or transitional job between a new career change.

Education Requirements for Substitute Teaching in Ohio

Every state differs in its educational requirements for substitute teachers. Some states only allow fully licensed teachers to become substitutes, while others only require a high school diploma. Ohio requires all substitute teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, though it doesn’t matter what subject you majored in.

You do not need a teaching certification, though you do need a substitute teaching license to begin subbing. The substitute teaching license costs $25 for one year or $125 for five years. To get this license, you must be hired by a district or an organization that handles substitute teacher staffing for multiple districts (which we will discuss in the next section). You also must pass a background check and have a copy of your college transcripts. You can obtain this license online through the Ohio Board of Education’s website upon being hired as a substitute teacher.

There was a short online course and a one-day in-person class that I had to complete after being hired as a substitute teacher. I’m not sure if this is a state requirement or just a requirement for the organization that I was hired through. I will discuss these more in the next section.

Substitute teachers need to be ready to teach anything!
Substitute teachers need to be ready to teach anything!

How to Get Hired as A Substitute Teacher

Depending on the district that you want to work for as a substitute teacher, you will either need to contact the school district directly and set up an interview with them or apply to an organization that handles substitute teacher staffing for multiple school districts. I currently work through an organization called North Coast Shared Services Alliance. After seeing an ad that the organization placed on a job board site, I applied to become a substitute teacher directly on their website.

A few days after I submitted my application, I was contacted for an interview. The interview was straightforward. I was simply asked why I wanted to become a substitute teacher, any previous experience I had teaching children, and how many days a week I was able to work. The interviewer then contacted my references and I received an email shortly after with instructions on applying for my short-term substitute teaching license. I think that almost everyone who applies and has the proper qualifications and good references get hired.

After completing a background check and applying for my substitute teacher license, I had to enroll in an orientation session. This was a simple informational session about finishing up any paperwork that new subs needed to start working, how to use the online scheduling system for accepting sub jobs, etc. A few days after this orientation session, I received an email that I had been added to the online scheduling system, called Frontline (formerly Aesop). This is just an online website where you can accept subbing jobs at the districts you have selected to work with.

After activating my account with Frontline/Aesop, I had to complete an online course within 30 days and take a one-day in-person “Safe and Engaged Substitute Teacher Training” class within 45 days. You can begin working as a substitute right away, but these courses must be completed within the timeframe to continue working. These courses were simple enough to complete. The online class was a series of presentations on topics including how to deal with slips and falls and identifying child abuse and mental health concerns in students. Each of these courses had a short test at the end. The Safe and Engaged class was a one-day workshop teaching new substitute teachers who haven’t worked as teachers before basic safety protocols and how to be an effective teacher in a new classroom.

Do you think you have the flexibility to adapt to any teaching environment? Consider becoming a substitute teacher!
Do you think you have the flexibility to adapt to any teaching environment? Consider becoming a substitute teacher!

Finding Daily Substitute Teaching Jobs

There are two ways to accept daily substitute teaching jobs once you are hired. The first is the online scheduling system Frontline/Aesop. This is a website that displays available jobs that you can either accept or decline. This system is a good way to accept jobs for several days to a week or more ahead of time. You can also set days that you know you won’t be able to or don’t want to work so that you won’t get phone calls about jobs on those days.

You also get phone calls from an automated system or a live person in the morning if you haven’t already accepted a job for those days. They call around six in the morning, so it is a good idea to make sure you are awake and ready to take a call on days you want to work but haven’t already accepted a job from the online system.

I don't know why this teacher is teaching his student outside in a foggy forest. District budget cuts, perhaps?
I don't know why this teacher is teaching his student outside in a foggy forest. District budget cuts, perhaps?

Conclusion

It really is that easy to become a substitute teacher in Ohio. As long as you have a bachelor’s degree and are a law-abiding citizen who is somewhat good with children, you will likely be hired. In the future, I will write additional articles detailing the pros and cons of working as a substitute teacher, tips for new substitute teachers, and my experiences with working as a sub.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jennifer Wilber

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