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How to become a substitute teacher in Illinois


Are you interested in full or part-time work that allows you to:

  • Take control of your work schedule
  • Earn as much as $229 per day
  • Give back to your community
  • Find your passion 

If that sounds appealing, then it’s time to find out how to become a substitute teacher in Illinois.

If you live in Illinois, substitute teaching is a great way to get involved in your local community, balance professional and personal interests, and supplement your income.

The amazing thing about becoming a substitute teacher in Illinois is that schools need substitute teachers more than ever, and becoming a sub is straightforward and easy.

Ready to learn more? You’ve come to the right place. Find out why you should consider becoming a substitute teacher and how Swing helps you every step of the way.

Illinois_Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Why should you become a substitute teacher?

Substitute teaching can be a rewarding and fulfilling career for individuals who enjoy teaching and working with children. The job offers a great deal of flexibility, as you can choose when and where you want to work, and it can also provide valuable teaching experience that can help you determine if a career in education is right for you.

Substitute teaching is also an excellent way to earn extra income while pursuing other interests, such as graduate school or travel. It provides an opportunity to work within different school districts, allowing you to gain a broad understanding of various school environments, curriculum and instruction, and school culture.

In addition to that, becoming a substitute teacher has never been easier or and there has never been a greater need for the role than there is today.

When you become a substitute, you control how much you make by choosing how often you work, you can pick where and when you sub, and you have access to resources to make your experience as successful and rewarding as possible.



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If you live in Illinois — or are relocating there — and are looking for an opportunity to enjoy flexible, meaningful work in your community, perhaps you should apply to be a substitute teacher.

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Chapter 2 Image

Chapter 2

What are the benefits of becoming a substitute teacher?

Whether you want to work with students on a regular basis or a few times a month, becoming a substitute teacher in Illinois comes with several benefits.

Here are just a few of the ways being a substitute teacher can positively impact your life:

  • Flexibility: Substitute teaching provides you with the freedom to choose your working hours and work at your own pace.
  • Variety: As a substitute teacher, you will work with different students, teachers, and administrators across various schools and districts.
  • Experience: Substitute teaching offers valuable teaching experience that can be used to build transferable skills for a role in education or beyond.
  • Community impact: You’re helping solve a nation-wide teacher staffing shortage.
  • Self discovery: You are discovering your interests and passions as you teach in a variety of grade levels and subject areas.
  • Supplementary income: The average substitute salary in Illinois is about $162/day, but can be as high as $229/day in some districts.

Substitute teaching is a flexible and rewarding career. Whether you are looking for full-time or part-time work and have career goals beyond the classroom, substitute teaching can be a valuable milestone in your career trajectory.


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Chapter 3

What requirements do you need to meet to become a substitute teacher in Illinois?

To become a substitute teacher in Illinois, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree
  • Obtain a substitute teaching license (SUB) OR Professional Educator License (PEL)
  • Pass a fingerprint background check
  • Complete a TB Risk Assessment or test

To begin your Illinois substitute teaching journey, you’ll first need to have either a substitute teaching license (SUB) or a professional educator license (PEL) in Illinois.

To get started, login or create an Education Licensure Information System (ELIS) account with the Illinois State Board of Education and follow the substitute application process:

  1. Apply for the substitute license in your ELIS account
  2. Pay the $50 application fee
  3. Send your official* transcript to either OR
    Illinois State Board of Education
    Educator Licensure
    100 N. 1st Street
    Springfield, IL 627777

*To be official, transcripts must be submitted in the original, sealed envelope from the college or university or be sent directly to the Illinois State Board of Education.

If you choose to become a substitute teacher with Swing, we make it easy for substitute teacher candidates to move efficiently through the application process and access multiple schools. In fact, it takes a couple of minutes to complete our background questionnaire, and one of our team members will guide you through the next steps.


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Group of substitute teacher's waiting in line for job interview

Chapter 4

How can you get hired as a substitute teacher?

If you meet the requirements for becoming a substitute teacher and you are ready to apply for jobs, here are a few things to keep in mind so you stand out as a strong candidate.

Show your individuality

Teaching is about more than following a lesson plan.

Success in the classroom is about bringing together your personality, your background experience, and an endless well of patience to bring concepts to life for your students.

Feel empowered to approach the role in your own way. Expressing yourself in the classroom and being a successful substitute teacher are not mutually exclusive.

Research ahead of time

Do you want to teach at a charter school or a large metropolitan school district? What about high schoolers or elementary school students? These are all good things to know before applying for substitute teaching jobs.

Do your research and determine what school setting aligns best with your interests or skills. It’s also worth researching individual schools in your community: knowing about their administrators, recent successes, and initiatives can help you start off on the right foot.

Once you receive your first sub assignment, here’s what you can expect on your first day as a substitute teacher. It’s likely that you will get lesson plans from the teacher who is out, but if you need a backup plan, here are some activities to keep students on task and engaged.

Honor the diverse students in your classroom

Students come from a range of educational, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

Just like you have your own background and experiences that you bring to the classroom, it’s important to recognize and honor that your students bring their own unique identities to the classroom as well.

Be prepared from the start

Before you start substitute teaching, it helps to know what you might encounter on the other side of the classroom door.

Brush up on your classroom management skills and get a sense of what a typical day looks like for substitute teachers.

If you want even more information, you can request to speak with current substitute or full-time teachers or even join an online community for substitute teachers.

Draw from past experience

During the interview and training process, you may be asked to use examples from your previous work experiences to demonstrate your success as a substitute teacher. When you answer:

  • Briefly describe the project or situation
  • Be specific about your role and contributions
  • Site concrete examples and outcomes


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Swing Education substitute teacher with students

Chapter 5

How does Swing Education make it easy to become a substitute teacher?

Whether you’re preparing for your first day as a substitute teacher or you’re a seasoned sub looking for more flexibility and control over your career as a sub, Swing Education makes makes the process of becoming a substitute teacher easier, from onboarding to finding substitute assignments.

Instead of looking for jobs at individual schools or districts, filling out duplicate copies of applications and juggling different schools schedules and assignments, Swing brings it all together on one intuitive platform.

Streamline applications with Swing

When you’re ready to substitute teach with Swing, here’s how to get started: complete the onboarding questionnaire, which will make its way to a Swing onboarding advisor. They will then guide you through the requirements and application process.

During the onboarding process, our advisors will ensure you have all the information needed to select the teaching roles you want in as little as two weeks, including public, private, and charter schools.

Get the sub jobs you want

Say goodbye to waiting until the night before to find out where and what you’ll be teaching. With Swing, we give you the tools you need to have more control over your subbing experience, all in one platform.

Once you’re on board, we:

  • Take your preferences and skills into account to align you to the best-fit positions.
  • Let you sort openings based on criteria such as:
    • Location
    • Commute time
    • Grade level
    • School location
    • School subject
  • Allow you to create saved searches and a “School Favorites” list.
  • Provide access to training, resources and more throughout the year.

In other words, you can choose your assignments easier and faster, without all the paperwork, last-minute surprises or juggling of temp agencies or job boards.

Ready to become a Swing sub?

We’re excited to get to know you and learn more about who you are and where you would like to teach.



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