How To Become A Substitute Teacher

How To Become A Substitute Teacher

You’ve decided to become a substitute teacher. Great! You’re in for an adventure. The first thing you need to do is get your foot in the door. This can be done at any number of places, but one of the best places to start is with your local school district or public university.

To get started, you’ll need to complete an application and submit a copy of your transcript from college or your teaching certification, if you have one. Once that’s done, you should expect some interviews and background checks before being hired.

Once you’ve been approved for employment as a substitute, there are some things you need to do to be ready for the job. First and foremost, make sure you know where all of your schools are located so that when someone calls about having a sub on short notice, you’ll be able to get there quickly and without issue. Then, make sure that any necessary supplies are stocked at home or at school so that when students need them (or if they’re forgotten), they can be provided immediately without delay or fuss. Finally, make sure that any paperwork related to each class (homework assignments and tests) has been completed so that when students return after being absent

How To Become A Substitute Teacher

  1. Have a bachelor’s degree
  2. Go to WellnessMart
  3. Take a CBEST test 
  4. Obtain a 30-day permit

At Scoot, we help substitute teachers find schools and schools find exceptional substitute teachers like you. Working with Scoot as your employer, you can always expect a flexible schedule and market-leading pay. Substitute teaching allows for a rewarding career or job without the hassle of extra schooling or restrictive schedules. 

(Pst! Already ready to start teaching?)

Apply now

Ready to become a substitute teacher in CA? Here’s how to get started and the requirements.  

Not from California, but still want to become a sub? No worries! Check out our other blog posts – How To Become A Substitute Teacher In Arizona and How To Become A Substitute Teacher In Houston.

Step 1:  Have a bachelor’s degree

To become a substitute teacher in California, your first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and provide official transcripts. 

Your bachelor’s degree can be in ANY major. It doesn’t need to be education-related.

Step 2: Go to WellnessMart

To become a substitute teacher, schools in CA require a tuberculosis test (TB test) and a Live Scan.

When working with an agency, the TB test is required to be dated within 60 days of your interview. You can either take a TB test or obtain a TB risk assessment test.

The results of both the TB test and Live Scan will be submitted to Scoot through WellnessMart but you’ll still have to upload this paperwork to Scoot!


Please fill out the TB Risk Assessment form. This will allow a physician to simply screen you without having to prick or inject you. They’ll ask you a series of questions and assess your risk factor. Scoot can provide this form for you.


After completing the Live Scan method, you’ll be one step closer to become a substitute teacher. To check your criminal history is clear, you’ll take a Live Scan test which captures your fingerprints in a digitized format and then checks it against state police and FBI databases.


Click to download the pre-filled pdf to ensure Scoot receives your Live Scan results! This is what you’ll send to Scoot.


There are WellnessMarts all over California! Schedule an appointment now with one near you.

Step 3: Take the CBEST Exam to Become a Substitute Teacher 

The California Basic Educational Skills Test™ (CBEST®) is a basic aptitude test developed to meet requirements of laws relating to credentialing and employment. You can think of it like the SAT, but for adults.

If you have any of the following you can opt-out of the CBEST exam:

  • Achieved a score of 3 or higher on the College Board AP English exam and a score of 3 or higher on the AP Calculus or the AP Statistics exam.
  • Achieved a score of at least 500 on the SAT English exam and a score of at least 550 on the SAT mathematics exam.
  • Achieved a score of at least 22 on the ACT English exam and a score of at least 23 on the ACT mathematics exam.
  • Demonstrate proficiency on both the English and Mathematics sections of the California State University (CSU) Early Assessment Program (EAP), showing status as “College Ready” or “Exempt” in each section.
  • Passed all three subtests of CSET: Multiple Subjects plus the CSET: Writing Skills.
  • Passed a basic skills examination from another state.

You can expect test results can take up to 2 weeks time.

**NEW: As of July 2021, you can use subject-related college coursework to pass the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET).

The CBEST exam costs $30 for each section when taking through the computer and $41 when taking on paper. Scoot does not reimburse for CBEST testing.

Test dates are held 6 times a year at various test centers across the state. To see the dates and locations, click here. 

A few locations are below: 

ABCO Technology
11222 S La Cienega Blvd
Suite #588
Inglewood, California 90304
Pearson Professional Center
1515 West 190th Street Suite 405
Gardena, California 90248
Online Edugo, Inc.
808 S. Western Avenue #233
Los Angeles, California 90005
Pearson Professional Center
300 Corporate Pointe Suite 200
Culver City, California 90230
Global Educational Placement 
10850 Wilshire Blvd #570
Los Angeles, California 90024

Step 4: Obtain a 30-day Permit to Become a Substitute Teacher​

Once you’ve passed the CBEST, you’ll be eligible to apply for an Emergency 30 Day Substitute Teacher Permit. 

Keep in mind, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing is a busy public office and obtaining the Emergency 30 Day Permit can take up to 3 months, but it’ll be worth it as the money and time spent will more than earn itself back when you’re eligible to teach in any classroom at any school!

The permit costs $100.

**NEW: California has waived application fees for most teaching and services credentials from July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022, if it’s the FIRST time you’re receiving it. Renewal fees are not waived.

To apply, review this form and submit the required applications and materials.

Need a paycheck sooner? Don’t worry, we’ll put you to work immediately!

As long as you have a Bachelor’s degree, we’ll be able to place you into a classroom without a CBEST or 30 Day Permit. While you wait to receive your “pass” results, feel confident that you’ll be considered for schools that do not require CBEST of 30 Day Permits for substitute teachers.

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