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


Please note: DC Onboarding requirements may be delayed due to COVID-19. Please schedule appointments and complete requirements ASAP to help expedite your onboarding!

Educational Requirements

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

  • Washington D.C. does not have a minimum educational requirement for substitute teachers, but both Swing Education and DCPS (District of Columbia Public Schools) require 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 login 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. Due to this, the review could take 2-3 weeks to complete and for your account to be updated.

The work history 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

Fingerprints and PD-70 Form

Because there is no common background check policy across all Washington D.C. schools, Swing Education requires all of its substitute teachers to complete a fingerprint-based background check through the FBI, and obtain a copy of your police record (PD-70) from DC Metro PD

[1] 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.

[2] How to Obtain your Police Record (PD-70)

Get complete, step-by-step instructions for obtaining your PD-70 form at this page.

Important Note: Due to COVID-19, obtaining your PD-70 form must be done by appointment.

  • We recommend doing so as soon as possible, as appointments may only be available a few months out!
  • Please schedule an appointment online at Select "Criminal History Check" from the drop-down menu, or call DC Metro PD at (202) 727-4245. 

The Local Police Record form is a personal copy of your police record (also known as a PD-70 form). This form is not available online and you will have to visit DC Metro PD in-person to complete this requirement.

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, in addition to a college degree, DCPS requires substitute teachers to receive a “Principal Recommendation” from a current district principal. 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.