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Find your next substitute support professional job

You can make a difference as a substitute support professional

There’s a substitute support professional shortage in Pennsylvania’s public schools, and it’s making it hard for kids to learn. Our schools need substitutes. Badly.

Students just won’t get the support or the care they need without enough paraprofessionals and staff who provide services like transportation, secretarial and clerical, health support, information technology, food service, maintenance, and custodial.

For potential substitute support professionals, the map and contact information make it easy to connect with any school entity in Pennsylvania and inquire about opportunities to become a substitute.

Click on a school district below for contact information

ESP Classifications

Secretaries/Clerical employees interact daily with students, parents, and staff.  Clerical employees are on the front lines of all office operations, working in settings from schools to administrative offices to transportation facilities.

Custodial and maintenance employees keep schools safe and clean for students, staff, and the community. In addition to performing the heavy cleaning and grounds keeping duties that are most often associated with these jobs, custodial and maintenance perform an array of other tasks, such as clearing snow, making electrical repairs, cleaning up spills, painting, maintaining boilers, and any number of other necessary tasks.

Some know this position as an instructional or noninstructional aide.  An instructional paraprofessional will assist with classroom instruction and provides direct services to students.  Many paraprofessionals work with students with special needs.  Noninstructional paraprofessionals assist with preparing materials, or monitoring students in the cafeteria and other settings.

Food Service
Food service employees ensure that students have access to safe and nutritious meals. Food service Some of the aspects of food service employees include proper food handling, adapting recipes for children with special dietary needs, and nutrition education and practice. The meals provided meet recommended dietary guidelines.

Nurses in the ESP classification assist certified school nurses.  They perform a wide variety of jobs that improve and protect student health and welfare. Nurses provide first aid, monitor immunizations, conduct health screenings, and assist sick and injured children,

Bus drivers are the first people to greet students on their way to school and the last to say goodbye as they return home.  In addition to driving, drivers are responsible for first aid and emergency evacuation procedures, student conduct and discipline, and the safe transportation of students with special needs. All employees in a district’s transportation department keep up with new safety requirements, regulations, and policies.  Bus drivers must have a valid CDL while van drivers do not need a CDL.  Mechanics dispatchers are also employed in the transportation department. 

Technology Assistants
Employees in the technology department lead the effort to maintain high standards of technology and communications in our schools.  They install, repair, and upgrade computers and networks that enable the timely communication of essential information between parents, school district employees, and students.

Skilled Trades
Skilled trade employees maintain and improve the physical quality of school buildings, offices, and facilities, ensuring that they are safe, comfortable, and attractive for students, staff, and the community. Skilled trade employees perform a wide variety of jobs that require specialized expertise requiring licenses or certifications.  Skilled trades may include carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians.   

What members are saying

“The staffing shortage is leaving nurses in school buildings overwhelmed and seeing anywhere between 80 to1 00 students a day.  Not only are we seeing the "normal” injuries and illnesses but add to that the mental wellness of our students that we are addressing daily.  All this and we haven't even begun the bad weather season which brings its own set of shortages and challenges.”

Deneen Dry (Nurse), Central Bucks ESP

“The lack of an adequate supply of substitute bus drivers forces us to be stretched to the extreme.  Many times, our drivers are doubling up on runs which not only annoys the drivers, but also the parents whose buses are late.”

Tom Baker (Bus Driver), Central Bucks Transportation ESP

“My local represents custodians and secretaries.  The secretaries often skip their break times to get their work done. The custodians must double up on assignments when another custodian is off work. Overtime work for the custodians is kept to minimum by having custodians double up on assignments.  Our school district currently does not have any subs. The district has set the pay scale for subs at $12 per hour.  At that wage there are very few people that will apply.

Bob Warner (Custodian), New Brighton ESP

“The lack of substitutes affects everyone, but the most important thing is for the teachers and support staff to work to build strong relationships with the students. When that happens, regardless of who is in the room, the students know they can ask for the help they need. The students need to know that their teachers as well as the para-educators are always working to ensure they are getting the highest quality of education available.”

Angela Vigna (Paraprofessional), Leechburg ESP 

“The shortage probably scared away potential new employees.  They knew they would be coming into a position that is short-staffed and would have a bigger workload.  This is not a job where things can be put off until the next day.  The quality of work is impact when we are short-staffed.”

Anita Howshall (Former food service employee), Bangor Area ESP