Substitute Certificate Processes
NOTE: Individuals with valid Missouri teaching certificates who wish to substitute teach in a school district are no longer required by DESE to apply for a substitute certificate. This includes individuals who hold an initial professional, career continuous professional, lifetime, student services, administration, provisional, and/or temporary certificate. There are restrictions on the number of hours a retired teacher may substitute teach. If, at any time, the educator allows his/her teaching certificate to expire, then a substitute certificate would be required.
To apply for your first Substitute Certificate
To Renew a Substitute Certificate that has expired or will expire soon
- Log into your profile in the educator certification system. (Locked out? Get help here.)
- Once you are logged in, click on the Substitute Application located in the menu to the left of your profile screen. Complete and submit the application.
- A processing fee of $50 is required. The fee will be paid at the time the application is submitted online. Fees may be paid by credit/debit card or by e-check.
- Transcripts must be submitted if not currently on file with DESE. To determine if your transcripts are currently on file, log into your certification account. Click on the Education link located in the menu to the left of your profile screen. Transcripts must show that they have been received. Transcripts should be mailed to
P.O. Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102
- IMPORTANT: Include your Social Security number or Educator ID number on all of the transcripts.
- A new criminal fingerprint/background clearance will be required if you have not been employed as a substitute teacher during the current school year. If you have been employed as a substitute teacher, please contact your local school district to request that they verify your experience in their online Substitute Verification Log prior to the expiration of your substitute certificate.
Please Note: if you completed a background check between March 1 and November 4, 2020 you may be eligible for a reimbursement of the $41.75 cost through your employing school district. More information can be found here. Questions concerning background check reimbursement should be directed to the employing school district.
- Types of Substitute Certificates
DESE issues two types of substitute certificates, depending upon the setting(s) in which an individual will be placed. Regardless of the type of substitute certificate, each applicant is required to complete a background check if he/she is requesting a new certificate or is considered to be a new hire at a school district. If an applicant has previously fingerprinted for DESE, a new fingerprint clearance will be required if the previous one is over twelve months old.
A Content Substitute certificate is for individuals wishing to substitute teach in the K-12 classroom setting (elementary, middle/high school content areas, special education, art, music, PE, etc.). A Content Substitute certificate may be granted to an individual who has completed a minimum of 60 semester hours of credit from a regionally accredited, academic degree-granting, college or university. Verification of these hours must be provided with an original transcript from each institution the applicant has attended. A Content Substitute certificate may also be granted to an individual who has a high school diploma, General Education Diploma (GED) or High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) and has successfully completed a minimum of twenty (20) clock hours of department-approved substitute teacher training that includes professionalism, honoring diversity, engaging students, foundational classroom management techniques, basic instructional strategies, supporting students with special needs, and working with at-risk youth. Approved training is available here:
(for assistance, contact Frontline at https://subtraining-help.frontlineeducation.com/ )
The alternate route to the substitute certificate using the 20 hours of online training will be available through February 28, 2021. Individuals will need to have their substitute application submitted and the online training completed by the end of the day on February 28th. Upon receipt of all supporting documentation (i.e. fingerprint background check, high school diploma or the equivalent, certificate of completion of the online training), the substitute certificate may be issued, even if it is after February 28th.
A Career Technical Substitute certificate is for individuals who will only substitute teach in a career center or an approved vocational program in courses such as carpentry, welding, nursing, etc. A Career Technical Substitute certificate is granted based upon an applicant’s occupational experience and training in a specific field. Applicants must meet one of the following:
- A bachelor’s degree in an area appropriate for the career/technical area sought and four thousand (4,000) hours of locally approved, related occupational experience; or
- An associate's degree in an area appropriate for the career/technical area sought and five thousand (5,000) hours of locally approved, related experience; or
- Six thousand (6,000) hours of locally approved, related occupational experience.
- You need to view or print your certificate
- You will need to log on to DESE Web Applications with your user id and password. Once you have access to your profile page, the Certificate Status link is located in the menu to the left. By clicking on Certificate Status, you will see the box that says View Substitute Certificate. You will then be able to view and print your substitute certificate.
The Certification Account Portal allows you to:
- Apply for a certificate
- Print out your certificate
- View a certificate or pending application
- View assessment scores
- Check for the receipt of transcripts
- Check fingerprint/background status
- Log into with your User ID and password (Locked out? Get help here)
- Choose the Educator Certification System link (located on the User Applications page.)
- To establish a User ID and password, follow the directions of the Educator Certification Help Guide
If you have a certification account, but have not accessed it for over 12 months, please follow steps #1 and #2 located in the Educator Certification Help Guide.