DC Public Schools
-A +A
Bookmark and Share

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 21-22) is now available at dcps.force.com. The application will remain open until March 4, 2022. After the application closes on March 4, 2022 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 an Associate's Degree AND one or more of the following criteria

Retired teachers (DCPS and other U.S. 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

The steps in our hiring process which were previously completed in-person have migrated to a virtual platform, including interviews and orientation.

SY 2021-2022 Health and Safety Measures

We are focused on enhancing the experiences of student learning and we know the best place for that to happen is within the classroom. DCPS has continued to provide cohesive health and safety measures, which allowed us to reopen buildings in the spring. We will continue to follow the expertise of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and D.C. Health for guidance on COVID-19 school operations. Although not required, we also strongly encourage Substitute Teachers to get vaccinated as an additional layer of protection. For SY 21-22, Substitute Teachers can expect the following measures to maintain a safe environment for in-person learning:

  • HVAC enhancements allow for well-ventilated spaces at every school, including state-of-the-art HEPA filters in classrooms and air quality sensors throughout the building.
  • Practicing safe routines requires all staff, students, and visitors to wear a mask or face covering, and daily PPE and hygiene supplies will be provided.
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols for high-touch surfaces will be provided, and a deep cleaning will be completed after a suspected or reported COVID-19 case.
  • Space arrangements will include students being separated as far as possible, and individual desks and tables are to be facing the same direction to the extent feasible.
  • Student meal protocols include Pre-K and Kindergarten students eating in the classroom and all other grades will eat in the cafeteria. Social distancing should be followed while eating and drinking, to the extent feasible.
  • Student cohort interactions will be limited to the extent feasible, but there will be no cap for student or staff cohort interactions in any grade.
  • To screen for illness, students and staff will complete a daily “Ask, Ask, Look” screening, but temperatures will not be taken upon arrival at school.
  • COVID-19 reporting protocols include schools reporting positive cases with a school community if a person has been in the building during their infectious period, along with a quarantine protocol. Additional information about asymptomatic testing will be shared over the summer.

With these strategies in place, we hope that our schools will remain physically safe and healthy learning environments. DCPS will offer virtual instruction for some students in grades PK-12 who meet eligibility criteria. More information on district-wide updates for SY 21-22 can be found at dcpsreopenstrong.com/sy21-22.

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 Associate’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
OPRS Payroll Schedule


We are excited to announce two changes to our substitute teacher structure for school year 2021-2022! 

First, we will now offer our substitute teachers some of the most competitive pay in the region! Please see our compensation structures below: 

  • Daily Substitute Teachers: $120/full day; $60/half day 
  • Long Term Substitute Teachers: $150/full day 

Second, DCPS has changed the educational requirement for substitute teachers from bachelor’s degree to associate’s degree. We will now accept applications from candidates who have obtained a bachelor’s degree. 

Our substitute teachers are integral to the success of our school programs. By investing in our substitute teachers, we hope that these two pivotal changes demonstrate DCPS’ commitment to better schools for students and their families.


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.