The Cost of Substitute-Teaching in California

Brad and I both have a professional teaching background, his in math and mine in art.  Later we both taught English in China.  So it made sense to become substitute-teacher certified each time we moved as a way to earn additional income.  We have now become certified in three states: Maryland, Minnesota, and California.  Well, let me just tell you that California has proven to be the priciest and lengthiest process of all three.  This past week we finally completed our substitute teacher orientation, and are now certified to begin substitute-teaching.

The entire process took us 6 months to complete (February-August).

These were the expenses of getting certified:

  • CBEST Test in Sacramento: $101.00 (Thankfully we both passed on the first attempt!)
  • TB Test: $40.00
  • Fingerprinting: $76.00
  • Transcript: $5.00
  • Teaching Credential: $57.00
  • 2nd Teaching Credential (the 1st one expired while we waited on transcripts to arrive): $57.00

That’s $336.00 per person.

The Total Cost for both of us to be certified to substitute-teach in California: $672.00.


Today I looked over our daily pay-rate chart for substitute-teaching to see how long it will take us to begin earning money from our investment.  Depending on where we teach, it will take us 6-8 days just to make back the money we spent on our certification.

Lesson Learned?  Substitute-Teaching might not be worth your while if you only plan on subbing occasionally.  In addition, you will need a lot of cash up front (and a college degree) before you can begin earning any money.

Despite the high cost, I am delighted that we both have a new source of income, and a way to meet more students, teachers, and faculty to involve in youth ministry.  I am also relieved to finally come to the end of this long process of preparation!

What ways have you found to earn additional income recently?

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2 Responses to “The Cost of Substitute-Teaching in California”

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