Certification

Substitute Teaching

The New York State Education Department does not issue substitute teaching certificates. Substitute teachers fall into one of the three follwoing categories.

  • Substitute teachers with a valid teaching certificate can work in any capacity, for any number of days. If they are employed for more than 40 days by a school district or BOCES in a school year, they must be employed in an area for which they are certified.

  • Substitute teachers without a valid certificate, but who are working towards certification (taking college coursework) at a rate of not less than six semester hours per year, can work in any capacity, for any number of days, in any number of school districts. If they are employed for more than 40 days by a school district or BOCES in a school year, they must be employed in the area for which they are seeking certification.

  • Substitute teachers who do not hold a valid teaching certificate and are not working towards certification may work for no more than 40 days in a school district or BOCES in a school year, except as described below.
    • During the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years, due to the COVID-19 crisis, substitute teachers who do not hold a valid teaching certificate and are not working towards certification, but hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, may be employed by the school district or BOCES beyond the 40-day limit, for up to an additional 50 days (90 days total in a school year), if the district superintendent (for BOCES’s and districts that are a component district of a BOCES) or the superintendent (for school districts that are not a component district of a BOCES) certifies that the district or BOCES, as applicable, has conducted a good faith recruitment search for a properly certified candidate and determined that there are no available certified teachers that can perform the duties of such position. In rare circumstances, a district or BOCES may hire a substitute teacher beyond the 90 days, if a district superintendent or superintendent attests that a good faith recruitment search has been conducted and that there are still no available certified teachers who can perform the duties of such position and that a particular substitute teacher is needed to work with a specific class or group of students until the end of the school year. 

Local Requirements

School districts may have additional local requirements for individuals who are employed as substitute teachers.

Information Specific to New York City

The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) requires that substitute teachers employed by NYCDOE hold a NYCDOE substitute teacher license.

More Information

For more information, please see Commissioner’s Regulations Section 80-5.4 Substitute Teachers external link

Last Updated: July 12, 2021