Substitute Certificate Processes
UPDATE: At its August meeting, the State Board of Education approved the 20 hour online training option for obtaining a substitute certificate. This rule will go into effect late December 2021. DESE will begin working with the training vendor to tentatively open the required training later in the fall. This will allow the opportunity for interested individuals to complete the training prior to December and be ready to submit a substitute application when the rule becomes effective in late December. Notification will be provided when the training is available.
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.
- 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 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 5 years, please follow steps #1 and #2 located in the Educator Certification Help Guide.