KANSAS CITY, MO. (KCTV) --- This week the State of Missouri changed its requirements to become a substitute teacher.
In order to teach at any school in Kansas, you need at least 60 college credits.
That was the case in Missouri until this week, but now, workers can apply to be a sub if they are 21 years old, have a high school diploma or some sort of equivalent and take an online course, which takes about 20 hours.
The online course covers topics like professionalism, diversity, keeping kids engaged, managing a classroom and the kids in it --- no matter their challenges.
Missouri was concerned about the lack of substitutes even before the coronavirus pandemic struck the country.
“This situation seems to be suggesting that there will be an even greater need for substitute teachers moving forward and we were already having trouble finding them as it is," said Paul Katnik, the Missouri office of educator equality assistant commissioner.
Kristen Hetzel is a substitute teacher in Raytown.
She says once classes are in person, she expects to be busy and she says the changes will help.
“I mean, I’ve worked with a stuffy nose or a sore throat before and you wouldn’t do that know because you don’t know what’s behind it," she said. “Our pool is shrinking because people need to stay home and stay safe.”
Pamula Bradley, like Hetzel, is a substitute teacher in Raytown.
She's a little less bullish on the changes.
“When you get your 60 credits I know you are putting more into your knowledge versus 20 hours online," she said. “Are the kids going to get quality people? That’s my concern.”
The state says just because you complete the online course, doesn’t mean you have a job.
People hoping to be subs still have to pass a background check and interview with their local school to see if they are the right fit.
KCTV5 reached out to the Kansas Department of Education on Friday.
They said that while changes are not out of the question, they do not have anything planned as of right now.