Interim Teachers: What Do They Do and Is This a Good Position for Me?

Are you looking to get a job in education and have come across some listings looking for an interim teacher? Are you curious what an interim teacher is and what your duties may look like if you were to accept one of those positions?

Learn More About This Teaching Position

Understanding the difference between an interim teacher and a classroom teacher may seem a bit confusing at first. However, once you take a look a little below the surface, you’ll see that while there are many similarities between the two positions, there are certainly a number of key differences.

Learning more about the differences between each position may help you decide if applying to be an interim teacher is the right move for you. Keep reading, and I’ll share more about what an interim teacher is, what their job looks like, and the main differences between interim teachers and classroom teachers.

What is an Interim Teacher Job?

An interim teacher is a teacher who is filling the position of a teacher who is not available to teach his or her class. Depending on the school district, the exact definition for an interim teacher may vary, but in most cases, it refers to a person who is hired short-term to fill a vacancy.

In most cases, interim teachers are different from substitute teachers. Substitute teachers, even those who take on a long-term assignment, are filling in for a teacher who is absent from class, but still on the school district’s payroll. Interim teachers, on the other hand, are filling a vacancy where there is not currently an employee on the district’s payroll.

Interim Teachers Fill a Vacancy Where There is not Currently an Employee

For example, an interim teacher would be needed if the classroom teacher quit or was fired in the middle of the school year. An interim teacher may also be needed if the class sizes were too large and a new class needed to be formed after the school year had already started.

If you think you’re interested in becoming an interim teacher, but don’t know if you have the experience necessary, read our article here.

Being an Interim Teacher: Pros & Con

There are a few pros and cons to consider before applying to become an interim teacher. Read through our list below and keep these in mind to determine whether taking a position as an interim teacher is the right move for you.

Before Taking a Job, You Should Weight Pros and Cons


  1. Getting hired as an interim teacher doesn’t always require a four-year degree. In some cases, interim teachers may be hired that only hold a two-year degree. In order to be hired as a classroom teacher, you’ll need a four-year degree in education.
  2. You can test out different positions. When you’re hired as an interim teacher, you know the position isn’t permanent. If you find that it isn’t for you, you can be more selective when looking for your next position.
  3. Interim teachers can gain knowledge from working with seasoned professionals. Taking anecdotal notes about the strategies experienced teachers use to plan lessons, manage a classroom, and engage their students can be very useful in future interim or full-time positions.
  4. You’ll have the opportunity to work at a variety of different schools. As an interim teacher, you may work at different schools within your area. This will let you get to know different individuals in the district, get a feel for different schools, and make connections that could benefit you and help you find a future position.


  1. If you don’t have a degree that would qualify you to hold a full-time position, your pay will be decreased. In most cases, interim teachers are only paid as substitute teachers if they don’t meet the full qualifications for the job.
  2. You have less job security as an interim teacher. Since you are only being hired to fill a temporary vacancy, it is likely that the position won’t be available for you the following school year.
  3. Interim teachers often perform all the duties that classroom teachers do without the same benefits. In addition to getting paid less than many teachers, interim teachers aren’t working towards a pension.

Each teaching position and type of learning has its pros and cons. Read about the pros and cons of online and offline learning in this article.

What is the Difference Between an Interim Professional and an Interim Standard Teaching Certificate?

There are two types of interim teaching certificates: An Interim Professional Teaching Certificate and an Interim Standard Teaching Certificate. The main difference between the two certificate types comes down to the level of education that was received.

Below are the general requirements for earning each certificate type, but keep in mind these requirements may vary by the school district.

You Cannot Take a Position Without Any Certification

Interim Professional Teaching Certificate Requirements

  • Hold a degree from a four-year college or university in a field other than education.
  • Completed at least one year of education courses.

Interim Standard Teaching Certificate Requirements

  • Have completed a two-year teacher training program from an approved institution.

Individuals with an Interim Standard Teaching Certificate are likely to be paid significantly less than those with an Interim Professional Teaching Certificate. Keep this in mind as you consider which certificate type is right for you.

How to Turn an Interim Teaching Position into a Full-Time Position

If you get hired for an interim teaching position and fall in love with the position, your colleagues, the students, and the community as a whole, you may be interested in trying to stay on in a full-time role. Depending on your qualifications, this may or may not be a possibility to consider.

If you meet all the certification requirements to be hired as a full-time teacher in the school district where you accepted your position, it is possible that you could be converted to a full-time teacher the following year.

Get the Opportunity to Become a Full-Time Teacher

There are a few different factors that will come into play here. First, the position must be needed for the following year. In some cases, an interim position may be created for a temporary need, and in this case, it may not be necessary to keep the position for the next school year.

If you hear that the position you are filling in for will be available for the following year, you will want to express your interest in being hired as a full-time teacher to the principal. After expressing your interest, it will be important to consistently demonstrate that you are a qualified candidate who will be an asset to the school if hired full-time.

This will mean going above and beyond to complete the duties associated with your position. Find ways to make a positive impression so that when the school leadership team is discussing conducting interviews for the position, they immediately think of you and what an asset you would be.

Show The Administration Your Interest

Some ways you could make a great impression including attending evening family events, helping out with an after-school club, volunteering to participate during staff meetings, and finding other ways to make a difference in the school and community.

And, of course, you’ll want to make sure you are keeping up with your assigned duties and reach out to the appropriate people in the building if you need support or guidance.

Useful Resources

Final Thoughts

Being an interim teacher can be a very fulfilling career. You’ll have the opportunity to work in different positions in the education field and will be able to make numerous professional connections as well as connections with the students you teach.

Simona Johnes
  1. I’m currently an 8th grade math teacher, but am considering applying for an SDC position. I’m a bit nervous about all the new expectations and learning curve. Am I crazy for considering this career change?

    • No, I don’t think you’re crazy at all. Being an SDC teacher is a wonderful and very fulfilling position. Sure, it will be a lot of work, but you’ll have the support of your colleagues and aides! You can do it!


Leave a Comment