MCPS Expected To Loosen Requirements for Substitute Teachers

MCPS Expected To Loosen Requirements for Substitute Teachers

Officials suggest changes to widen the pool of candidates to fill short-term vacancies

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Photo via MCPS

The Montgomery school board on Thursday will discuss loosening requirements for substitute teachers amid a “severe shortage” of fill-in instructors.

The school system’s current policy requires an applicant to have at least a bachelor’s degree or certification. People applying to substitute in vocational programs can be hired without a college degree but must have at least two years of experience in a related area.

The school system currently has 3,003 registered substitute teachers, including certified teachers, retired Montgomery County teachers and current part-time teachers, according to school board documents.

On average, 120 requests for substitute teachers are unfilled each day.

“To address this challenging statistic, adjusting the qualifications required of substitute teachers may result in larger substitute teaching pools and enable MCPS to better meet the demand for substitute teachers in our schools,” according to a memo from Superintendent Jack Smith to school board members.

If given the green light by the school board, the school system will require substitute teachers have at least an associate’s degree or 60 college credits, beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.

According to Smith’s memo, the school system has received “overwhelming support” for the proposed policy change from the teachers’ union, teachers, principals, local college officials and current substitute teachers.

Compared to neighboring districts, the Montgomery County Public Schools has the most stringent requirements for substitute teachers, mandating all have a bachelor’s degree. Other districts, such as Prince George’s, Frederick and Howard counties, require substitutes have an associate’s degree or 60 college credits.

Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties require substitutes to have at least 48 college credits, and Charles County schools only require substitutes be older than 18. The only statewide requirement for becoming a substitute teacher in Maryland is a high school diploma. Montgomery County substitutes earn about $18 per hour on average, according to school system data.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at

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