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 is required.
- 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 36 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. International transcripts are evaluated by an approved credentialing agency. More information is available here.
This change from 60 semester hours of credit to 36 semester hours of credit occurred as a part of Senate Bill 681, which was signed by Governor Parsons and became effective as of June, 2022.
The 20 hours of online training to be a substitute teacher is available through Frontline Education, as well as several Missouri colleges and universities. A Content Substitute certificate may now be granted to an individual who has successfully completed a minimum of twenty (20) clock hours of department-approved substitute teacher training. Training is now available at the links below. Technical assistance for any issues or questions regarding the online training is provided by Frontline and the institutions can be accessed at the links below;
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 the DESE Application Sign-In with your username 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.
Substitute Teacher Survey Report, 2022-23
Legislation was passed and signed into law (168.037RSMo) in 2022 that directed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to create a web-based survey to be completed by individuals each day they worked as a substitute teacher. DESE created the online survey and distributed it to all school districts and charter schools at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year with the directions to provide the link to this survey to each substitute teacher for each day they worked in their schools.
More information on the Substitute Teacher Survey Report, 2022-23 can be found here on the Recruitment and Retention page.
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 username and password (Locked out? Get help here)
- Choose the Educator Certification System link (located on the User Applications page.)
- To establish a username and password, follow the directions of the Educator Certification Help Guide
If you have a certification account, but have not accessed it for over 5 years, please follow steps #1 and #2 located in the Educator Certification Help Guide.