By Henry Henchcliff
After being a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, Laura Kilcrease wanted a change. She decided to apply to be a substitute teacher in the Wake County Public School System. The job had a lot of perks. She could work when she wanted, make extra money for her family, and be on a similar schedule as her three children.
She submitted an application and included her college transcript to show she had a bachelor’s degree in psychology. What Kilcrease didn’t know is that a college degree is not required to be a substitute teacher in Wake County schools. The school system does not even require a high school diploma.
“I thought you had to have a college degree to be a substitute teacher,” a surprised Kilcrease told WRAL News during an interview at Abbotts Creek Elementary School, where she was working as a sub.
A WRAL investigation found that rules for substitute teachers vary by school system in North Carolina. Other than their pay, subs are not regulated by the state. Substitutes with a teaching license make a minimum of $103 per day, while unlicensed subs make a minimum of $80 per day, according to the state salary manual. But how they are vetted, hired and reviewed is up to local school systems.
To sub in Wake County public schools, candidates are required to complete a six- to seven-hour Substitute Effective Teacher Training course online or a 20-hour Effective Teacher Training course at a local community college. They must also attend a half-day orientation at district headquarters and undergo a background and reference check.