How to Become A Substitute Teacher In California

Becoming a Substitute Teacher in California 

Congrats! It’s stellar you’re pursuing substitute teaching. Whether you’re in Los Angeles, Orange County, or 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.

First, let’s take a quick look at the steps you will need to complete before getting hired as a substitute teacher in California

  1. Have a bachelor’s degree
  2. Take a TB test 
  3. Complete a Live Scan test 
  4. Take a CBEST test 
  5. Obtain a 30-day permit

At Scoot, we help substitute teachers find schools and schools find exceptional substitute teachers like you. Working with Scoot as your employer, 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. 

(Pst! Already ready to start teaching?)

Ready to become a substitute teacher in CA? Here’s how to get started and the requirements.  

Not from California, but still want to become a sub? No worries! Check out our other blog posts – How To Become A Substitute Teacher In Arizona and How To Become A Substitute Teacher In Houston.

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. 

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

Step 2: Take a TB test

To become a substitute teacher, schools in CA require a tuberculosis test (TB test) to ensure you’re healthy. When working with an agency, the test is required to be dated within 60 days of your interview. You can either take a TB test or obtain a TB assessment test. You’ll submit the results to Scoot. 


With the TB test, the physician pricks the skin on your forearm with tuberculin. Don’t worry the needle doesn’t draw blood and it’s pretty painless!  

You’ll return between 24-48 hours to have the doctor check your forearm. *Note: It’s important you do it in that timeframe, or the whole process has to start again!*

A small bump forms and the doctor accesses it to determine if you have passed. If the bump is less than 5mm diameter, you’ve passed. 

In some cases, you’re able to do a TB Assessment form where a physician will simply screen you without having to prick or inject you. They’ll ask you a series of questions and assess your risk factor. Scoot can provide this form for you.

If you have insurance, schedule an appointment with your doctor for the test and the TB reading. You should expect to pay an office visit co-pay. Health insurance varies so be sure to ask the price before going. 

If you don’t have insurance, you can expect to pay $40-$70 dollars for the test and the TB reading. 

Scoot does not reimburse for TB testing. 

TB testing is fairly common and accessible. Urgent cares, doctors offices, and even boutique clinics offer TB testing services

We recommend using CVS Minute Clinics as they have convenient locations across California and offer cash prices as well as accept a majority of insurance plans. 

We’ve listed a few centers for you below:


Culver CityDTLASouth LAValley 
Culver City Urgent CareDowntown Urgent CareMLK Center for Public HealthNoHo Urgent Care
HealthpointeReliant Urgent Care Wilmington Community ClinicValley Urgent Care 


Berkeley Free ClinicConcentra Medical Office
Ann Chandler Public Health CenterPrescott Joseph Center

Step 3: Complete a Live Scan Test 

After completing the Live Scan method, you’ll be one step closer to become a substitute teacher. 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.

The cost varies per location but is usually around $70+. Scoot will reimburse you for your test up to $71, so be sure to keep your receipt!

Click here to see LA locations.

Click to download the pre-filled pdf to ensure Scoot receives your Live Scan results! 

Step 4: Take the CBEST Exam to Become a Substitute Teacher 

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

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 and a score of 3 or higher on the AP Calculus or the AP Statistics exam.
  • Achieved a score of at least 500 on the SAT English 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.
  • Passed all three subtests of CSET: Multiple Subjects plus the CSET: Writing Skills.
  • Passed a basic skills examination from another state.

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

**NEW: As of July 2021, you can use subject-related college coursework to pass the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET).

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. To see the dates and locations, click here. 

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 #233
Los Angeles, California 90005
Pearson Professional Center
300 Corporate Pointe Suite 200
Culver City, California 90230
Global Educational Placement 
10850 Wilshire Blvd #570
Los Angeles, California 90024

Step 5: Obtain a 30-day Permit to Become a Substitute Teacher​

Once you’ve passed the CBEST, you’ll be eligible to apply for an Emergency 30 Day Substitute Teacher Permit. 

Keep in mind, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing is a busy public office and obtaining the Emergency 30 Day Permit can take up to 3 months, but it’ll be worth it as the money and time spent will more than earn itself back when you’re eligible to teach in any classroom at any school!

The permit costs $100.

**NEW: California has waived application fees for most teaching and services credentials from July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022, if it’s the FIRST time you’re receiving it. Renewal fees are not waived.

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 of 30 Day Permits for substitute teachers.

Already a substitute teacher? 

Learn more about our interview process for a substitute teacher and how you can become a substitute teacher with Scoot or apply now! 


Hi good morning my name is Stacey I want to become a sub teacher assistant helper I used work at a school in San Fernando valley the school name was west valley special Ed school now I don’t remember I know sign language

Hello Stacey,

We apologize for our delayed response but if you are still interested in subbing, you can apply to work with Scoot! Once you submit an application, one of our education consultants will be in touch.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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