California Substitute Teaching License

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In the state of California, day-to-day substitute teachers must have a permit authorizing them to teach in the classroom. There are various types of substitute teacher permits, including an Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit, Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers, and an Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit.

Want to learn how to earn a professional teaching certification? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in California.

Holding the Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit allows you to be a day-to-day substitute teacher for up to 30 days for one teacher during a school year. The permit is valid for one year and may be renewed, as long as the school district keeps a Statement of Need on file.

The Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers allows you to substitute for no more than 30 days for one teacher, up to a maximum of 90 days per school year. It is valid for a year and may be renewed once.

The Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit allows you to substitute for up to 60 days for one teacher during a school year. It is valid for one year and may be renewed.

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Education Requirements

Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit

Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers
  • You must provide official transcript(s) showing that you have completed at least 90 semester hours of courses from a regionally accredited institution.
  • You must verify current enrollment in a California college or university through official transcript or a letter from the registrar
  • To renew the permit after a year, you must show completion of at least 15 semester hours of courses during the past year, as well as verify your continued enrollment in a California school

Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit
  • You must provide official transcript(s) showing that you have at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • You must provide endorsement from the school district that they offer substitute teachers the same staff development activities as they do to regular staff. This endorsement must continue in order to renew the permit.

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Examination Requirements

To obtain an Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit, Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers, or Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit, you must meet the Basic Skills requirement by passing one of the examinations listed here.

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Experience

No experience is necessary for the Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit or the Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers.

For the Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit, you must provide verification of at least 90 days per year for three consecutive years of day-to-day substitute teaching experience in the California school district where the permit is requested. This experience must immediately precede your permit application. If the county office of education assigns substitute teachers to all school districts in a county, your experience may be accumulated from multiple school districts within that county.

You must also provide a signed statement of endorsement by the superintendent that you have successfully served as a substitute teacher and that you will be allowed to serve up to 60 days for one teacher during the next school year. Continued endorsement is required for renewal of the permit.

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Criminal History Background Check

All substitute teachers, regardless of the permit they seek, must undergo a criminal background history check and fingerprinting as part of the hiring process. To begin the process, print three copies of the Request for LiveScan Service. Submit these copies to the LiveScan operator who takes your fingerprints (locations may be found here). If you complete the credentialing application online, you will be given instructions on how to verify the fingerprinting process has begun. If you submit the application via postal mail, you must attach a copy of the Request for LiveScan Service to verify that your fingerprints were taken.

The fingerprint and character identification process will take one to three days to complete. When you have met the requirements for the Certificate of Clearance, you will receive an email from the Commission notifying you of this..

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Additional Information

Once you have met the application requirements for any of the types of substitute teacher permits, submit your completed application on the Application for Credential Authorizing Public School Service (Form 41-4). Fees and additional supporting documents must accompany the application. If you are seeking an Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit or an Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers, you may submit this information through your employer or directly to State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing; Certification, Assignment and Waivers Division; Attention: Applications; 1900 Capitol Avenue; Sacramento, CA 95811-4213. If you seek the Emergency Career Substitute Teaching Permit, your employer must submit the application and information for you.

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Contact Information

For information on school districts in California, check the California School Directory of the California Department of Education.

For information about obtaining substitute teaching permits, contact the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing at (888) 921-4213 or visit the substitute teaching section of their website here.