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Kansas reduces requirements for substitute teachers

Substitute teachers in Kansas will not be required to have college credit hours. This comes after officials pass an emergency declaration in response to a worsening staff shortage in the state’s schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kansas State Board of Education unanimously passed the rule today, Jan. 12, 2022.

The new rule temporarily eliminates a requirement that substitutes have a minimum of 60 semester credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university.

The Kansas State Board of Education said the changes will last only until June 1, when the more stringent requirements will return.

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said during the state board meeting that he knew of four school districts ready to close because they don’t have enough staff, which he called “the tip of the iceberg.”

Under the new rules, candidates will need to be 18, have a high school diploma, a commitment from a district for employment, pass a background check and fill out an application.

News Release from KS State Department of Education

TOPEKA — The Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday, Jan. 12, unanimously approved an emergency declaration that allows any individual meeting certain qualifications to apply for a Temporary Emergency Authorized License (TEAL).

This action will help solve the substitute teacher shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any TEAL obtained through the emergency declaration will expire June 1, 2022. After that date, individuals will have to meet the more rigorous requirements for a substitute teacher license.

Usually there is a minimum requirement of 60 semester credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university in order to obtain an emergency substitute license. The emergency declaration removes this minimum requirement for the TEAL. However, candidates must:

  • Meet the minimum age requirement of 18.
  • Have a high school diploma. Individuals with a general educational development (GED) diploma/certificate aren’t eligible.
  • Have a verified employment commitment from a district or system.
  • Be fingerprinted and pass a background check.
  • Submit a completed application to KSDE.

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