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



Educational Requirements

Washington D.C. does not have a minimum educational requirement for substitute teachers, but some D.C. schools, districts, and staffing agencies do.

For example, Swing Education requires all of its Washington D.C. substitute teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree. Similarly, DCPS (District of Columbia Public Schools) requires all of its substitute teachers to have their bachelor’s.

Log into your Swing account to verify your education. 


Background Check and Work History Form

Washington D.C. recently passed the School Safety Omnibus Amendment, which requires all substitute teachers 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. Afterward, you will need to review and sign our Acknowledgment and Authorization for Background investigation form you will be 

Once you have signed the authorization form, you will be asked to complete the work history authorization form. The completed form will be sent to Gray Law, Swing Education's partner who will conduct the work history review. 

The work history review includes:

  • Completing a form listing employers for the past 20 years where the scope of employment involved direct integration with children, and affirming s/he has not been accused of sexual misconduct or similar claims. Swing must also follow-up with those employers to confirm the applicants' responses.

  • Character Reference check

  • Child Abuse Registries check

  • Credential Revoke Check

Fingerprints and PD-70 Form

There isn’t a uniform background check policy that covers all Washington D.C. schools. Instead, each school or district sets its own policy.

Swing Education requires all of its prospective substitute teachers to successfully complete a fingerprint-based background check through the FBI and obtain a copy of your police record (PD-70) from DC Metro PD

Fingerprint-based background Check

You can complete this step through our prepaid partner “Sterling Identity”.  All you have to do is follow the instructions in this help article 

After you have been fingerprinted, you will receive your background check results within the next 24-48 hours. You can log in to your Sterling Identity account to download a copy of your results here.  Afterward, you will need to login to your Swing Education account to upload a copy of your results.

How to Obtain your Police Record (PD-70)

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.

Get complete, step-by-step instructions for completing your background check with Swing Education by visiting this page.


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. did use 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.