JOPLIN, Mo. — Many school districts are hurting for substitute teachers. But action being taken by the State of Missouri could help ease that shortage in the Show-Me State.

The Show-Me State is making it easier for people to become certified substitute teachers. It’s now requiring only 36 credit hours in any subject, as opposed to 60 credit hours.

Dr. Melissa Massey is the Executive Director for the Southwest Center for Educational Excellence and hopes this change will encourage more people to think about becoming a sub.

“We certainly hope so, if you are out there and would love to be a substitute teacher, contact your district um there’s a shortage right now and they desperately need those subs,” Dr. Massey said.

But Dr. Massey says this isn’t the first time those credit hour rollbacks were enacted, she says the state did the same thing two years ago, but that, by itself, wasn’t enough to eliminate the sub-teacher shortage. While this credit hour rollback is geared towards bringing in a new group of part-time educators, other changes are aimed at bringing former teachers back into the classroom.

“If you are a retired teacher, they’ve waived the number of hours you can serve in that district so that will certainly help too with substitutes. A retired teacher can now teach more than 500-plus hours. You can go back into the workforce and still receive your retirement, so DESI is trying, our Governor is trying,” she added.

Even if you don’t have those 36 hours, she says it’s still possible to become a part-time educator by taking a 20-hour online class to become sub-certified. The Center represents 41 different Southwest Missouri School Districts but says it’s part of a bigger problem facing almost every area district.

“Right now we are at a true crisis in education. We’re short on teachers, we’re short on subs, we’re short on custodial staff, bus drivers. We can’t find enough bus drivers. If you genuinely have an interest, contact that school and let’s see how we can help the community because that’s what we really do need,” said Dr. Massey.