Working 4 hours or under is considered a half day pay, anything over 4 hours is paid as a full day. The schools have the right to have you stay for that entire paid time regardless of the actual hours listed. 
~ For example, if you have a job that is scheduled for 3 hours, you are being paid to work for 4 hours, you will be obligated to stay for the full 4 hours assisting in the school. If you are scheduled for more than 4 and fewer than 8 hours, you will be paid for a full 8 hour day, so plan on staying for the full 8 hours as you are obligated to work the entire time for which you are paid.

Working 4 hours or under is considered a half day pay, anything over 4 hours is paid as a full day. The schools have the right to have you stay for that entire paid time regardless of the actual hours listed. ~ For example, if you have a job that is scheduled for 3 hours, you are being paid to work for 4 hours, you will be obligated to stay for the full 4 hours assisting in the school. If you are scheduled for more than 4 and fewer than 8 hours, you will be paid for a full 8 hour day, so plan on staying for the full 8 hours as you are obligated to work the entire time for which you are paid.

Substitute - Frequently Asked Questions

Q ~ 1    Who do I work for, the EMS SubDesk or the district I sub for?
A ~ 1    You are classified as an At Will employee for t
he school district that you receive a paycheck from.EMS SubDesk is the employer if the district has contracted us to be so. Because of this if you need an employment reference or any information regarding your pay please contact the district you work for specifically, this will be listed on your pay stub as the employer. All the contact and general payroll information can be found on our website on the Schoolspage.

Q ~ 2    When will I get paid? How much will I get paid?
A ~ 2    Please refer to the specific district(s) you work for. Pay dates and times are listed on our Schools page.
~ K-12 Oregon school districts, the licensed substitute pay is based on the state-set rate. The rate changes each year and Charter schools and private schools have the right to vary from this rate. Licensed substitutes are paid for either a full day or one-half day regardless of the actual work hours. Bear in mind that the schools have the right to have you stay for that entire paid time regardless of the actual hours listed for the job.

​~ Classified positions are paid by the hour, and vary based on position and district.

Q ~ 3    How do I cancel an assignment?
A ~ 3    Assignments can be canceled by either calling into the system or logging in from the website. If it is less than two hours before the start of the job you *must* call the SubDesk to be removed from the assignment and provide us with a reason. If you need to cancel a job after 8:00AM, regardless of whether it is more than 2 hours before the start of the job please contact us directly.

Please bear in mind that if you are currently on a long term assignment and cancel the job you will be removing yourself from the remainder of the job as well.​

Q ~ 4 How do I cancel a just one day of a long term assignment?
A ~ 4 Easy! Just give us a call at 503-208-7454. If you call outside of our normal business hours please leave a message with your Name, ID Number and Job Number so we can get this taken care of. Don’t put this off, the earlier we know about it the better chances we have of getting someone to cover your absence.

~ To cancel off of the entire assignment you can do this any time via phone or the website. You will still get paid for the days worked but get cancel off the remaining days of the job and put it out there someone else.

Q ~ 5 When does the system call for assignments?
A ~ 5 The system has specific call out times so you know when you could potentially receive a call for work:

Callout timesToday's JobsFuture StartFuture End 
Monday5:30 am5:00 pm10:00 pm
5:30 am
5:00 pm
10:00 pm
5:30 am
5:00 pm
10:00 pm
5:30 am
5:00 pm
10:00 pm
5:30 am
No Calls
No Calls
No Calls
No Calls
No Calls
SundayNo Calls
3:00 pm
10:00 pm
HolidayNo Calls5:00 pm
10:00 pm

- You can be called for multiple positions in a single evening. If you are called for a job for tomorrow the system can still call you for another job. We call out up to 10 days in the future. You could potentially be called for 10 jobs in one evening if there are out there and available.

Q ~ 5 Will the system call me if I already have an assignment?
A ~ 5 The system is designed so that it will not call you for a job that overlaps with one you already have. Be sure to answer if the system calls, if a job gets canceled the system will call you that morning to let you know of the cancelation and begin calling to offer a replacement job. For half-day assignments so long as there’s no overlap, i.e. if a job you have ends at 11:30 AM and another starts at 12:00 PM, you could still get called for the other assignment.

Q ~ 6    What should I do if I get called for a job that starts in 15 minutes or 30 minutes ago and I know I cannot get to the school in time?​

A ~ 6    If you can arrive within a reasonable amount of time (no more than 45 minutes) from the call, then accept the job! You MUST contact the SubDesk at (503)208-7454 to let us know what time you will be arriving. We try to be accommodating to ensure the schools have the coverage they need.

Q ~ 7    What do I do if I miss a call in the morning, accidentally hang up on the system, or accidentally decline a position?
A ~ 7   Don’t panic! If you’re available to work please give us a call at 503-208-7454 as soon as possible. Our staff are at work by 6:00 AM Mon-Fri and are here until 7:00 PM Sun-Thurs and are happy to help. So long as the job is still available we will stop the callout and offer it to directly. During the morning callout if you attempt to call into the system you will not be able to find any jobs available as the system will not offer the same job to more than one person at a time.

Q ~ 8  I search for jobs online in the morning and whenever I find one the system says it is "In callout" and to try again later, how can I accept these jobs?
A ~ 8  If you see a job in callout online and are interested in the position please call the SubDesk at (503) 208-7454 as soon as possible. Staff are at work by 6:00 AM Mon-Fri and are here 'till 7:00 pm Sun-Thurs and are happy to assist with stopping the callout on the job and offering it directly to you if it's still available.

Q ~ 9    I want to change what positions I work, how do i do this?
A ~ 9  If you wish to change anything on your profile send an email to the SubDesk with the subject line of 'Add Sites' or 'Add Positions'. Please be aware that substitute requests to add sites/districts will be based upon district need and is not guaranteed. HOWEVER, when your request is received, you will be placed as “on hold” for that district pending district need.  "On hold' substitutes are reviewed for adding to districts prior to external hiring.

Q ~ 10 What happens if a job is canceled and I have shown up already? Will I get paid for that time? Can a job be cut short and send me home early?
​A ~ 10 Payment is only required for actual time work, Oregon BOLI law does not require that an employee be paid for show up time. Once you get to work it’s a possibility that the job may be canceled or cut short due to a lack of work (i.e. if you are working one on one with a student and that student is out sick). Please refer to for clarification if needed. Be that as it may many school districts have adopted the courtesy to pay substitutes for show-up time, however each district has its own policy as to how much time will be paid for showing up.
- This can vary by classification as well, for classified positions it can be for 1-2 hours and licensed positions will be paid the one-half day rate, so long as the substitute stays to work in some capacity for the allowed time.
​- If there is no work available at that building, please contact us directly at 503-208-7454 or have the school contact us, we can attempt to find you a position elsewhere in the district. We will do our best to find you a replacement job that matches what you indicate you are willing to work.

* * * You can choose to leave and not stay to work, or not to take the replacement position being offered you, but doing so forfeits your opportunity to collect show-up time pay. If you are still looking for work and they don’t have anything for you at the school please contact us , there is always a chance that we may have another location that we can send you to. If there is no work at the building and there is not other job to be offered you at that time you will receive show up pay and be allowed to go home.

Q ~ 11   What happens if the sub system calls me and gets my voice mail?
A ~ 11  You may end up with some portion of the SmartFind Express greeting and narration recorded asking for your ID/PIN. The system will realize the phone was answered, but will not leave you any information regarding the job itself. If you miss a call, just call into the system or go online to check for available jobs, if you were specifically requested by a teacher the job will still be there waiting for you until 8:00 PM the day before the job is scheduled to start. In these situations the system may try calling you back later if you haven’t accepted via other means.

Q ~ 12  Can an employee request me for his/her absence?​
A ~ 12  Yes, if you give an employee your SmartFind ID number they will be able to plug that in manually when creating the absence over the phone or use your name when creating it online. If a teacher has requested you for a job but you have not accepted it yet the job will be available and viewable only by you up until 8:00 PM two days before the assignment starts. If the absence was put in less than two days before the job starts it will call you first then move down the list. If it is put in the same day you will be the first person called at 5:30 AM, however if you don’t answer it will automatically move on to the next person. There’s always a possibility that it will cycle back to you in a few minutes if no one else accepts it.​

Q ~ 13  Can an employee pre-arrange a position with me?
A ~ 13   Yes, there’s an option when creating an absence to indicate the substitute has already accepted the job. The system will completely bypass the callout and assign the job directly to you, be sure to keep your email up to date as you will also receive an email with the job number. **IMPORTANT: If you don’t have a job number you don’t have the job. For instance, if an employee forgets to indicate you have already agreed to work for them and you have your profile set to ‘do not call’ the job will go into callout at 8:00 PM the night before the job starts and the substitute with the job number will be the one who works that day.

Q ~ 14  Why won't SmartFinder accept my PIN when it calls me for a job or when I call to review jobs?
A ~ 14  SmartFind Express listens to the musical tone of the number being punched into the phone to try to identify your PIN number. If you are using a cellular phone, sometimes the volume is turned up too high on your tones or if you are on speaker phone SmartFind double "hears" the musical numbers being punched in. Try to turn down the volume on your cellular phone when entering your PIN. If you are using a land-line but it is one of many extensions you have in your home, try to use the main line extension to answer the phone to punch in your PIN.

Q ~ 15   What if the days I am available to work change from week to week?
A ~ 16   You can change this information yourself, using SmartFind Express online or by phone. Once you are logged in, choose the “Schedule” option and click the “General” tab.

You can also change this information yourself, using your touch-tone phone. From the main menu, choose to review personal information and then choose to review the days of the week you can work. Follow the instructions given by the narrator and/or your Substitute Telephone Instruction guide to change your available days.

Even if you say you are not available to work on a particular day of the week you will be able to see long term jobs that spread over that day.
~ For instance if you take Tuesday off your schedule but there is a job out there that runs for a full two weeks, we will not call you for it, but if you search online you will see that job and can accept it.

If you need help, once you log in there is a help tab on the upper right corner of the screen that has videos that can walk you through how to change your hours in your profile.

Q ~ 16  How come the 'available jobs' page is always blank? Am I looking at the wrong time?
A ~ 16   SmartFind will check to see what jobs are open and then compare them with your profile to ensure they meet the following criteria:

Do you have the classification?
Do you have the location?
Are you available for the duration of the job?
Are you on a preference list assigned to an employee/school?

So long as you meet all the criteria, including being on a preference list, you will be able to ‘shop’ for jobs up to 365 days prior to the start time. This is not the case for all districts, but some will not open up the availability to ‘shop’ for jobs until after the phone system has placed at least one call to preferred subs for the employee. Also keep in mind that not every employee has set up a preferred list.​

Q ~ 17   What is the difference between marking myself 'Unavailable' and marking myself with a 'Do Not Call'?
A ~ 17  Marking yourself as 'Unavailable' means that you cannot work for the time period you put in. It does not mean that you don't want SmartFinder to call you with offers for future jobs if that option is selected. For example: If you say that you are 'Unavailable' on Monday, SmartFinder will not offer you a job for Monday but it may call you on Monday evening to offer you a future job.

When you create a “Do Not Call”, you are telling SmartFinder that you do not want to receive any calls during the time period you put in.

if you are on an employee or schools preference list, the 'Do Not Disturb' and 'Unavailable' status will prevent you from receiving calls for assignments and the system will bypass your name when it comes up in the calling order.

Q ~ 18  If I enter an Unavailable Date Range (for example: a vacation) and return early, can I begin to pick up jobs early?
A ~ 18   Yes, Online click on the “Schedule/Unavail Dates” option, you will be able to review your current Unavailable choices and then edit them if necessary. You will then be eligible to receive job offers, as well as review available jobs.

Q ~ 19 If I decline a job for a particular day, will the system quit calling me for that day?
A ~ 19  No. You will not be automatically removed for declining or canceling jobs. If you decline more than 4 jobs in a morning the system will stop calling you that morning. If you are available you will have go proactively on your own into the system and look for jobs. It will again call you that evening for future jobs.
~ Please note that we do require a minimum level of commitment, and substitutes who fail to work at least 10 days in a school year when work is available may be removed from the system. Substitutes who cancel an excessive number of jobs, especially close to the start time, may also be removed from the system.

Q ~ 20  If I reject or cancel jobs, will I be automatically removed from the substitute list?
A ~ 20  No. You will not be automatically removed for rejecting or canceling jobs. We understand that there sometimes are jobs that you are not available to do or do not wish to do. If you are receiving calls for jobs you do not want or cannot do please either mark yourself "Unavailable" for that day or time, or simply let us know if you would like us to remove a particular classification or location so you do not receive those calls.
~ Please note that we do require a minimum level of commitment and substitutes who fail to work at least 10 days in a school year when work is available may be removed from the system. Substitutes who cancel an excessive number of jobs, especially close to the start time, may also be removed from the system.

​Q ~ 21  How can I get more PDU's to renew my Teaching License? 

A ~ 21   We can issue 3 PDU's for taking your compliance training each year. Simply send us an email with: Your Name - as it appears on your teaching license, and your TSPC Account Number. We will send you a certificate for 3 PDUs. Above that here is a link that may help from TSPC.

Q ~ 22    How can I get more jobs? ​A ~ 22    To make any additions to your SmartFind account, you will need to email the SubDesk and tell us which site(s) or program(s) you wish to add. You cannot add them yourself.
 Here are some things you may want to consider:

1. If you are a Substitute Teacher you can increase your jobs by adding "classified" positions to your SmartFinder account. Classified is an Educational Assistant. This is a lower rate of pay, however, it will increase your chances for getting jobs and will get yourself known out there, especially if you are new to these districts. Once added to your profile, the system will call you depending on the type of absence that needs to be filled whether it be Certified or Classified. It will NOT pick Certified before Classified so it will be on an "as needed" basis

2. ​​It is suggested that you market yourself. If you don't already have some type of business card to leave for the person you are substituting for, a business card can be helpful. This business card should have at minimum, your name, telephone contact, your credentials (licensing and endorsements) or type of positions you are willing work (Certified or Educational Assistant), email address and your ID Request number. Anything more is up to you. Leave this with the employee you are substituting for and also give one to the school Secretary and ask if he/she would consider you for their preference list.

3. Preference List, Preference List, Preference List!!! The SmartFinder system allows employees to have a Preference list of substitutes to call when that employee is going to be absent. The employee can list as many substitutes as they wish. If none of those substitutes are available, the school may also create a preference list of substitutes they want called who are familiar with their building and students. If none are available on that list then SmartFinder will go to the general Skill List of substitutes to call. As you can see, your goal is to work your way up the list to be a "preferred substitute" with that employee and/or school. This increases your chances of being called. More and more of the employees and schools are utilizing "preference listed" substitutes. It helps them get their absences filled more quickly and they get the subs they want. BECOME A PREFERRED SUBSTITUTE!!!

4. Take a look at the districts we serve and see if you wish to add more districts or schools to your list. If you are a Substitute Teacher, your endorsements, authorization subjects, and age levels do not pertain to substituting. If you check the back of your license, bottom left corner, it should say that you can substitute in anything. Initial, Initial I, Standards, Basics, should all say, "Substitute in Anything", anything that is, in which you feel comfortable teaching.

5. A Special Education endorsement on Teachers’ licenses is NOT necessary to work in a special education classroom setting. ALL DISTRICTS have these classrooms within their schools and are always looking for Substitute Teachers AND Educational Assistants who are willing to work with these students. Many times I have worked with substitutes who have tried these programs and have really enjoyed working with special needs students. Most of the time, the substitute was just not familiar with these programs.

6. If you are classified consider increasing to include Food Service and Custodial, we often have trouble filling these positions and are always looking for more people interested. Please note with custodial positions this does involve lifting heavy items at times and cleaning of all areas in a school, these positions are also often in the afternoon/evening. For food service positions you must have a Food Handlers Card, these can be obtained through: The cost is only $9.00 and is valid for three years.
If you are interested in adding some of these programs to your SmartFind account, you will need to send an email to: then advise us which program(s) you are interested in. Remember, you can try these and if, for any reason, you wish to remove that site or program from your list, it just takes an email to us and we will remove it.

Q~23    How do I become a substitute teacher?
Q~23    A valid and current Oregon Teaching License is required by state law in order to register as a substitute teacher. If you need more information on the requirements and how to obtain or renew a license please contact the Salem based Teacher Standards and Practices Commission at their website or by calling them at 503-378-3586.

Q~24    Does EMS SubDesk accept substitute applications all year?
A~24    We process applications based upon the needs of the districts we service.

 What are the requirements to be a substitute?

  1. You must pass a criminal background check.
  2. You must be a high school graduate or have a GED.
  3. You must attend a substitute orientation.
  4. You must complete an online application.

 What happens at the registration? You will:

  1. Learn about the mandatory background check procedures.
  2. Be given training on how to use the SmartFind Express.
  3. Be informed of district policies, procedures and expectations for substitutes.
  4. Fill out other required forms.

Q~25    My teaching license is expiring but TSPC has not issued my new license, how can I continue to work? A friend of mine is trying to schedule me and the system will not let them do so.
A~25    Please call the SubDesk at 503-208-7454 and we can assist with creating a temporary Grace Period while the TSPC is processing your paperwork. We get this question a lot as you can imagine and are more than happy to help.

Q~26    My TSPC issued Grace Period has passed on my license and it is still not renewed. Can you help me?
A~26    Unfortunately once the Grace Period has expired in our system unless TSPC shows your license as valid/active we cannot place you into licensed positions. You will need to contact the TSPC for assistance.