DC Public Schools


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DCPS Substitute Teachers

Substitute teaching offers an opportunity to impact students in one of the most dynamic urban school districts in the country while maintaining schedule and location flexibility. As such, Substitute Teachers are expected to maintain a professional attitude toward their work and always keep in mind the school system’s goals. Effective Substitute Teachers make a positive impact on students.

Substitute Responsibilities

Substitute Teachers must sign in at the school office when they arrive for their assignment. They must also present the job number assigned to them through the automated system (SmartFind Express). The school administrators can answer questions regarding sign-in procedures. When accepting an assignment after the recorded start time, Substitute Teachers must call the school to confirm that a substitute teacher is still needed.

Substitute Teachers are expected to do the following:

  • Follow the lesson plan left by the teacher and ensure students complete all assigned tasks.
  • Maintain a safe environment
  • Keep students under direct supervision at all times
  • Refrain from touching any student for any reason
  • Use appropriate language at all times
  • Use materials provided by the teacher or other school personnel
  • Avoid engaging in or encouraging discussions of inappropriate or non-school related topics.
  • Become familiar with emergency procedures
  • Notify school administration of any unusual incidents which may have occurred during the school day
  • Leave information concerning the day’s activities for the teacher
  • Check with the administrator before leaving an assignment early at the end of the day 5.
  • Refrain from the use of cell phones for making or receiving calls or texting while students are present (except in the case of an emergency).
  • Refrain from the use of laptops and ear-pieces. Substitute Teachers are not to share personal social networking sites such as email addresses, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any social networking pages with students.

DCPS Substitute Teacher Employment Application

The Substitute Teacher Employment Application (SY 20-21) is now available at https://dcps.force.com/. The application will remain open until March 1, 2021. After the application closes on March 1, 2021, DCPS will only accept Principal Recommendations from current DCPS Principals sent via email to [email protected]

 At this time, DCPS will be accepting applications for candidates who hold bachelor’s degree AND one or more of the following criteria:

Retired teachers (DCPS and other US School Districts)
Candidates with 1-2 years’ experience working with students in a classroom setting

Applicants with less than 1 year of experience will be asked to submit a professional reference letter to [email protected] within 3 business days of application submission. Upon complete of the reference review, applicants will receive correspondence regarding next steps in the hiring process.

Important Application Update

DCPS has remained committed to the health and safety of our school community. Therefore, Mayor Bowser announced that during term one (August 31 through November 6), all instruction for students will be virtual. As such, all substitute teachers will be expected to fully engage with DCPS’s technology resources and virtual platforms to instruct students. Additionally, the steps in our hiring process which were previously completed in-person have migrated to a virtual platform, including interviews and orientation.

Additional Information

Application Process

Upon reviewing your application, you may be invited to interview with us. Our group interview is an integral part of the application process. We want to meet you in person, and we want to see what you can do. 

If you are selected for hire, you will also be required to pass a fingerprinting/background check, a tuberculosis test, and a drug test. Then, at the orientation session, we confirm that you have completed all the steps required for hire, and you can sign your official DCPS offer letter. Only after you sign your offer letter will you be entered into SmartFind Express, our automated system that Substitute Teachers use to find assignments and keep track of working hours.

Graph showing the application process. The process begins with the application then the in-person group interview.  Next is the health and security screening followed by the orientation and offer letter and entry into the substitute system and finally the individual begins working.


As of March 2016, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will no longer issue substitute teacher licenses. In order to be considered for the position, candidates must hold a valid bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Candidates must submit official transcripts, if selected for the substitute teacher position. Foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an accredited credential evaluation agency. 

Substitute Application
Substitute Hiring Process
Substitute Orientation Checklist
OPRS Payroll Schedule


We are excited to offer some of the most competitive pay in the region.  Substitute teachers at DCPS are paid either $60 for a half-day or $120 for a full-day, regardless of background, work history, or length of assignment.


Substitute Teachers are assigned on an as needed basis and are considered to be temporary employees. Substitute Teachers receive no benefits and are assigned due to teacher absences or position vacancies. Payment for Substitute Teachers is based on a half or full day assignment and may be daily, or long term assignments.

Substitute teaching assignments may change based on the needs of the individual school. A Substitute Teacher may be asked to accept assignments outside of his/her background or educational training. They may also be asked to cover classes during a planning period. It is not expected that a Substitute Teacher be able to teach new or unfamiliar material, but rather make every attempt to follow the lesson plan and manage student behavior in the most positive way possible.


Substitutes have the option of receiving daily job offers from schools all throughout the district, or they may work only at schools convenient to them. For a list of all our schools, please visit our school profiles page.


If you have any questions about Substitute Teaching with DC Public Schools, please feel free to email us at [email protected] or call us at (202) 442-4090.

Notice of Drug Testing

This position is a safety-sensitive position. All safety-sensitive positions are subject to mandatory pre-employment drug testing in accordance with the Child and Youth, Safety and Health Omnibus Act of 2004. If you are tentatively selected for this position, you will be required to submit to testing for illegal drug use prior to employment, and your employment shall be contingent upon negative test results. If you are appointed into this position, you shall be subject to mandatory random drug and alcohol testing throughout your employment.