How Much Do Substitute Teachers Make?

Factors Affecting Substitute Teacher Pay

The pay scale for substitute teachers varies greatly depending on several factors. One of the most significant factors is the location of the school district. For example, substitute teachers in large urban areas may be paid significantly more than those in rural or suburban districts.

Another important factor is the level of education and experience of the substitute teacher. In general, those with higher levels of education and more experience will earn more than those with less. Many school districts have different pay scales based on the number of days worked, so substitutes who work more frequently may earn more.

The subject area that the substitute teacher specializes in can also impact their pay. Some subject areas, such as science and math, may be in higher demand and therefore may pay more.

Lastly, the pay rate for substitute teachers can also be affected by the state’s minimum wage laws. Some states require school districts to pay their substitute teachers a certain minimum hourly wage.

Overall, substitute teacher pay can vary greatly based on these and other factors, and it’s important for individuals considering this line of work to research and understand the pay scale in their area.

Average Substitute Teacher Salary Across the US

The average pay for substitute teachers in the United States varies based on the state and school district. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2020, the median hourly wage for substitute teachers was $15.64.

However, this number can vary greatly depending on the location. For example, in California, substitute teachers earn an average of $130 per day, while in Texas, they earn an average of $85 per day. The highest paying states for substitute teachers include Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and California, while the lowest paying states include Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

It’s also important to note that substitute teachers may not receive benefits such as health insurance or retirement plans, and their pay may be prorated for part-time work. Despite this, many individuals choose to work as substitute teachers due to the flexibility and ability to gain experience in education.

How to Increase Your Earnings as a Substitute Teacher

While the pay for substitute teachers may not be as high as that of full-time teachers, there are ways to increase earnings in this role. Here are a few tips:

  1. Build relationships with school districts: Establishing a good relationship with a school district can lead to more job opportunities and potential for higher pay.

  2. Seek out long-term assignments: Long-term assignments can offer more stability and consistency in pay. They may also come with higher pay rates compared to short-term assignments.

  3. Specialize in a subject area: As mentioned earlier, certain subject areas may pay more than others. Consider specializing in a subject area with a higher demand for substitute teachers.

  4. Consider working in higher-paying districts: If possible, consider seeking out substitute teaching opportunities in school districts that pay higher rates.

  5. Pursue further education: Obtaining a teaching certification or pursuing additional education in a subject area can lead to higher pay rates for substitute teachers.

Overall, while the pay for substitute teachers may not be the highest, there are ways to increase earnings and make the most of this flexible and rewarding career.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Being a Substitute Teacher

Like any job, there are both benefits and drawbacks to working as a substitute teacher. Here are a few to consider:


  • Flexibility: Substitute teaching allows for a flexible schedule and the ability to choose which assignments to take.
  • Gain experience: Substitute teaching is a great way to gain experience in the education field and potentially lead to a full-time teaching position.
  • No lesson planning: Substitute teachers are not responsible for creating lesson plans, which can be a time-consuming task for full-time teachers.
  • Variety: Each day and assignment can bring something new and different, providing a fresh and exciting experience.


  • Inconsistent pay: The pay for substitute teachers can vary greatly depending on the school district and number of assignments taken.
  • Lack of benefits: Substitute teachers may not receive benefits such as health insurance or retirement plans.
  • Unfamiliarity with school and students: Each new assignment may come with a learning curve, as the substitute teacher may not be familiar with the school, students, or teaching style.
  • Limited job security: Substitute teaching positions are typically part-time and temporary, which may not provide job security for those seeking full-time employment.

Ultimately, individuals considering a career as a substitute teacher should weigh the benefits and drawbacks and determine if this career path aligns with their personal and professional goals.

Future Job Outlook for Substitute Teachers

The job outlook for substitute teachers is expected to be favorable in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substitute teachers is projected to grow 1% from 2020 to 2030, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.

One factor contributing to this growth is the increasing enrollment in schools, leading to a greater demand for substitute teachers. Additionally, the ongoing teacher shortage in some areas may lead to an increased need for substitute teachers to fill in for full-time teachers.

However, the job market for substitute teachers can still be competitive in some areas, particularly in urban school districts. Specializing in subject areas or obtaining a teaching certification may increase job opportunities and potential earnings.

Overall, the future job outlook for substitute teachers is positive, with opportunities for growth and increased demand in many areas.

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