How Do I Become a Substitute Teacher in Washington DC — The Complete Guide


Educational Requirements

First, log into your Swing account to verify your education with our partner Checkr.

  • Swing Education requires all Washington D.C. substitute teachers to hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

Background Check and Work History Form

All substitute teachers are required by law to complete a Work History Review. Please log in to your Swing Education account to review the Disclosure of Background Investigation and the summary of your rights under the fair reporting act

You will next review and sign our Acknowledgment and Authorization for Background investigation.

After signing, you can next complete the work history authorization form. The completed form will be sent to Gray Law, Swing Education's partner who conducts work history reviews.

Please note that during this process, we will contact all former employers listed and reach out to your character references. The work history review typically takes 1-2 weeks to complete.

The review includes:

  • Completing a form listing all employers for the past 20 years where the scope of employment involved direct interaction with children
  • Affirmation that you have not been accused of sexual misconduct or similar claims. (Swing follows up with employers to confirm applicants' responses.)
  • Character Reference Check
  • Child Abuse Registries Check
  • Credential Revoke Check


Per D.C law, Swing Education requires all of its substitute teachers to complete a fingerprint-based background check.

How to complete your fingerprint-based FBI background check

You can complete this step with our partner, Applicant Services. Simply follow the instructions in this article. After being fingerprinted, you will receive your background check results in as little as a few hours.

If you don't receive them via email, log in to your Application Services account here, download your results, and then upload a copy of your results to your Swing account.

How much does it cost?

It's expected costs an estimated $47

Credentials and Permits

Unlike many municipalities, Washington D.C. does not offer a specific substitute teacher permit, and a teaching certificate is not required to become a substitute teacher. (Washington D.C. used to offer a substitute teaching license, but the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) discontinued the program in March 2016.)

As a result, each school is free to set its own requirements for substitute teachers. For example, DCPS requires substitute teachers to receive a “Principal Recommendation” from a current district principal in addition to a college degree. Swing does not work with DCPS, and Swing does not currently require any additional credentials or principal recommendations to work through the Swing platform in DC.


Submit your COVID-19 Vaccination Attestation

You'll be prompted to complete a COVID-19 Vaccination Attestation form to verify your vaccination records or to submit a request for exemption due to reasonable accommodations. You can learn more about it here.