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Becoming a Substitute Teacher in California

Congrats! It’s stellar you’re pursuing substitute teaching. Whether you’re in Los Angeles, San Diego, or the San Francisco Bay Area, the process of becoming a substitute teacher is simple. It requires some paperwork and testing to ensure you’re qualified, healthy, and capable of providing a safe environment for students.

As of 2023, here are the  steps you’ll need to complete before getting hired as a substitute teacher in multiple school districts in California.

  1. Have a bachelor’s degree
  2. Go to WellnessMart
  3. Obtain a 30-day permit

At Scoot, we help substitute teachers find schools and schools find exceptional substitute teachers like you. With Scoot, you can always expect a flexible schedule and market-leading pay. Substitute teaching allows for a rewarding career or job without the hassle of extra schooling or restrictive schedules.

Want a PDF that summarizes the steps on how to sub in California?

Download the Scoot guide

How To Become A Substitute Teacher: Arizona | Texas | New Jersey | Colorado | Nevada | Florida | Washington D.C. | New Orleans

4 types of CA substitute teaching credentials

Before we dive into the steps, it’s helpful to know what kind of credentials you can pursue to become a substitute teacher in CA.

  • Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit — the best choice for those getting into day-to-day substitute teaching
  • Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Teachers — for those currently studying to become credentialed teachers at a 4-year college
  • Emergency Career Substitute Permit — for experienced subs with 3+ years of substitute teaching
  • Emergency Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Permit for 30-Day Substitute Teaching Service – for those interested in substitute teaching in career technical education (CTE) classes

While the 30-day permit is the most popular option for prospective subs with no prior experience teaching, these are the other substitute permits you can get if you have experience or are still in school. This guide will explain how to apply for the 30-day permit.

Step 1:  Have a bachelor’s degree

To become a substitute teacher in California, your first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and provide official transcripts. For guidance on what makes transcripts “official,” visit the Commission on Teacher Credentialing website.

Your bachelor’s degree can be in ANY major. It doesn’t need to be education-related.

Step 2: Go to WellnessMart

To become a substitute teacher, schools in CA require a negative tuberculosis test (TB test) and a Live Scan.

Scoot partners with WellnessMart, so if you’re applying to become a sub with us, you don’t need to pay any upfront cost! We fully pay for the TB test and Live Scan fingerprinting background check.


When working with an agency, the TB test is required to be dated within 60 days of your interview. You can take a TB test, but the easiest and fastest method it to complete a TB risk assessment questionnaire.


Please fill out the TB Risk Assessment questionnaire. This will allow a physician to simply screen you without having to prick or inject you. They’ll ask you a series of questions and assess your risk factor.


To check your criminal history is clear, you’ll take a Live Scan test which captures your fingerprints in a digitized format and then checks it against state police and FBI databases.


Click to download the pre-filled Request for Live Scan Service Form to ensure Scoot receives your Live Scan results! This is what you’ll take to the WellnessMart and send to Scoot.


There are WellnessMarts all over California! You can schedule an appointment online or walk-in the same day to a location near you.

Step 3: Meet the basic skills requirement

*NEW: As of January 1, 2023, the basic skills proficiency requirement for an emergency 30-day substitute permit are waived until July 1, 2024. If you’ve applied after January 1, 2023, you don’t need to pass the CBEST to become a substitute teacher until after July 1, 2024.

The California Basic Educational Skills Test™ (CBEST®) is a basic aptitude test developed to meet requirements of laws relating to education credentialing and employment. You can think of it like the SAT, but for adults.

For more information, read our comprehensive article about the CBEST and CSET.

If you have any of the following, you can opt-out of the CBEST exam:

  • Achieved a score of 3 or higher on the College Board AP English exam, AP Calculus, and AP Statistics exam.
  • Achieved a score of at least 500 on the SAT Critical Reading exam and a score of at least 550 on the SAT Mathematics exam.
  • Achieved a score of at least 22 on the ACT English exam and a score of at least 23 on the ACT mathematics exam.
  • Demonstrate proficiency on both the English and Mathematics sections of the California State University (CSU) Early Assessment Program (EAP), showing status as “College Ready” or “Exempt” in each section.
  • Achieved a passing score on the CSU Placement Examinations (English Placement Test and Entry Level Mathematics).
  • Passed all three subtests of CSET: Multiple Subjects plus the CSET: Writing Skills.
  • Provide transcripts of passing reading, writing, and mathematics courses with a grade of B or better in a Commission-approved preparation program at a regionally-accredited college or university (at least 3 semester units or 4 quarter units).
  • Passed a basic skills examination from another state.

You can expect test results can take up to 2 weeks.


The CBEST exam costs $30 for each section when taking through the computer and $41 when taking on paper. Scoot does not reimburse for CBEST testing.


Test dates are held 6 times a year at various test centers across the state. You can easily find a testing center or choose to take the test remotely.

A few locations are below:

ABCO Technology
11222 S La Cienega Blvd
Suite #588
Inglewood, California 90304
Pearson Professional Center
1515 West 190th Street

Suite 405
Gardena, California 90248
Online Edugo, Inc.
808 S. Western Avenue

Los Angeles, California 90005
Pearson Professional Center
300 Corporate Pointe

Suite 200
Culver City, California 90230
National Polytechnic College
4105 South Street

Lakewood, California 90712
Universal Healthcare Careers College
1625 West Olympic Blvd

Suite 708
Los Angeles, California 90015
Global Educational Placement
10850 Wilshire Blvd

Los Angeles, California 90024

Step 4: Obtain a 30-day Permit to Become a Substitute Teacher

What is the Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit?

The Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit lets you work as a day-to-day substitute teacher in any classroom from pre-K to grades 1-12 to adult education schools. You can sub for any teacher for up to 30 days during the school year.

If you become a sub for a special education classroom, you can only serve up to 20 days before moving onto another classroom. The 30-day permit is valid for one year and is renewable.


The permit costs $100 with a $2.65 service fee for online applications.


To apply, review this form and submit the required applications and materials.

Need a paycheck sooner? Don’t worry, we’ll put you to work immediately!

As long as you have a Bachelor’s degree, we’ll be able to place you into a classroom without a CBEST or 30-Day Permit. While you wait to receive your “pass” results, feel confident that you’ll be considered for schools that do not require CBEST or 30-day permits for substitute teachers.

Ready to become a substitute teacher?

Becoming a substitute teacher in California is simple. Especially with an educational staffing company like Scoot Education. We want to support you throughout your application process and beyond.

Subbing with Scoot means access to more opportunities, more school districts, and more excitement!

Apply now