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Missouri changing standards for substitute teachers due to shortage

Those with a high school diploma would be eligible for a substitute teacher certificate once they complete 20 hours of online training
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — It will be easier to become a substitute teacher in Missouri due to an emergency rule the state board of education approved Tuesday.

Currently, those seeking a substitute teaching certificate must complete 60 semester hours or more of college-level credit from an academic institution that is recognized by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is regionally accredited.

DESE requested an "additional path" to help address the shortage of substitute teachers.

Under the new rule, those with a high school diploma would be eligible for a substitute teacher certificate once they complete a 20-hour, state-approved substitute teacher online training.

“Many teachers and school administrators have expressed concern about the potential shortage of substitute teachers during the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19,” said Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Educator Quality Paul Katnik in a press release. “With already a declining number of candidates entering the education profession, this option will help Missouri school districts and charter schools develop a deeper pool of substitute teachers both in the short- and long-term.”

The training includes topics such as professionalism, honoring diversity, engaging students, foundational classroom management techniques, basic instructional strategies, supporting students with special needs and working with at-risk youth, DESE said. 

The emergency rule will be filed on Aug. 19 and will take effect on Sept. 2. Additional information regarding the online training, including approved vendors and associated costs, can be found on the DESE website once it becomes available.

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