Substitute Teacher and Teaching Assistant – Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to be approved?

You should allow a minimum of four weeks if all required documents are in your file. Reference checks can take anywhere from a day to many weeks. Please make sure the people who you have designated know you have listed them as references and please encourage them to answer/return calls related to your reference check. Once you are approved by staff in our office (application file complete, reference check done), your application will be sent to the districts for approval. Approval is dependent upon each districts board meeting schedule.

Do I have to be certified to substitute for your districts?

Certification is strongly preferred, but each district looks at applications on a case-by-case basis. School districts require that substitute teachers have been awarded a bachelor’s degree with a few exceptions. You may be accepted in some districts with a certain number of college credits. 

You may sub in school as a teaching assistant with your high school diploma, an Associate’s Degree or 60 college credits with the exception of the North Colonie school district, which requires New York State Teaching Assistant Certification for all substitutes.

I used to substitute for you and I would like to come back on the list. What do I have to do?

Call our help desk at 518-464-3925 and your file will be pulled and checked over. In most cases a new application,  mandatory training and payroll forms are required.

Do you hire permanent or long term substitutes?

No. Hiring long term or permanent subs is a district decision. 

Do you handle substitutes for summer school?

We call substitutes for the BOCES Special Education division during the summer school session. We also handle substitutes for some component districts. Please call our help desk at 518-464-5127 for a list of locations and component districts.

Do you handle coordination for home tutors?

Bethlehem, Cohoes, North Colonie and South Colonie districts pull tutor names from our substitute list. If you want to home tutor for any of these districts proceed with the substitute application process and then follow up with them directly. The service does not call for home tutors at this time.

I was fingerprinted for the NYSED OSPRA database once already. Do I have to be printed again? How do I tell if my fingerprints are on file? What if I was fingerprinted for the New York City Board of Education?

You do not have to be reprinted as long as you were fingerprinted for the NYSED OSPRA database after July 1, 2001. If you were printed for the New York City Board of Education after July 1, 1990 you will need to fill out and send the NYCBOE an OSPRA 104 form authorizing the NYCBOE to release your print results to NYSED OSPRA.

If you were printed for daycare or as a bus driver, you have to be fingerprinted again. Our process and fees are explained on our fingerprint link. Or you may call NYSED OSPRA directly at 518-473-2998 for information.

Do you need my actual bachelor’s (or masters) degree? How about a transcript?

We can accept your diploma or a good copy, or a transcript (does not have to be sealed) from your college that states that your degree was conferred and the conferral date. We are unable to accept multi-page unofficial transcripts downloaded from the Internet.

I haven’t graduated from college yet. How do I prove I will be graduating?

You can provide a transcript from your college showing courses completed (not the downloadable document from the internet) or a registrar’s letter stating when you will graduate.

How can I prove I am certified?

You may bring a copy of your certification or you can access the TEACH website. Make a copy of the page showing that your certification was issued and bring it to your interview. 

Do you accept e-mail references?

Yes. Please use when you set up your appointment.

My mother (or other family member) wants to provide a reference for me. Is that acceptable?

No, we do not accept references from relatives.

I am not able to bring everything requested for my interview. Should I still come to my appointment?

We suggest that you keep your appointment, as long as the application itself is completely filled out. You may mail, fax or bring in subsequent documentation after your interview. Note: Your application will not be forwarded to the Program Consultant for a reference check until all required paperwork is complete.

What if I can’t make my appointment?

Due to high demand, there is often a waiting list of a couple of weeks for an interview appointment. Please call and leave a message to cancel your appointment so that someone from the waiting list can take your place.

I have questions about New York State Teacher Certification. How do I contact the New York State Education Department or BOCES Certification Officer?

The Capital Region BOCES Certification Officers can be reached at 518-862-4918 daily between the hours of 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. only. For certification information, please refer to the New York State Education Department website.