State board of education approves alternative route for substitute certificate

Through both a proposed amendment and an emergency rule, the Missouri State Board of Education approved an alternative route for individuals to obtain a substitute certificate of license to teach, a press release states.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requested an additional path after consulting with education groups to help address the shortage of substitute teachers throughout the state.

Currently, individuals looking to obtain a substitute certificate must complete 60 semester hours or more of college-level credit from a state department of education-recognized and regionally accredited academic degree-granting institution. Following the board's decision, individuals who possess a high school diploma or equivalent may complete a 20-hour state-approved substitute teacher online training to be eligible for a substitute certificate.

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.

"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," Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Educator Quality Paul Katnik said. "With already a declining number of candidates entering the education profession, the option will help Missouri school districts and charter schools develop a deeper pool of substitute teachers both in the short- and long-term."

The emergency rule took effect Thursday, Sept. 2.