Before accepting a teaching positions, teachers must go through a series of background checks to work in a school. Schools need to ensure that those working with their students lack any criminal convictions or crimes relating to children. While some checks will look at your credit history and your employment history, most of the background checks used by schools primarily focus on your criminal history.
Child Abuse Checks
While not all states perform a child abuse check, many states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan, require that teachers pass a child abuse background check before working as a teacher. This unique check goes over your past history and highlights any problems or issues that you had with children in abuse or neglect cases. It will show if you had any convictions in the past for child abuse or neglect, the ages of the children involved and the sentence imposed by a judge. States typically will not let you work with children if you have an abuse conviction on your record.
Federal Criminal Background Checks
One of the more common types of background checks to work in a school is a federal criminal background check. Prior to implementing a national criminal registry, individuals could move from state to state without worrying about their crimes following them. If they received a conviction for drinking and driving in Ohio, the crime wouldn’t appear on a background check conducted in California. The new national system means that employers can see your complete criminal history, including any jail time, probation or fines that you received. Federal law now requires that crimes committed more than seven years previously cannot appear on your record. If police arrested you for drinking and driving, trespassing or another crime in college, the conviction won’t appear on your background check after seven years passes. It’s worth doing some research to see if you can become a teacher even with a criminal record.
State Criminal Background Checks
Though federal background checks are more common, some states still conduct a separate state background check or a state check in lieu of a federal check. Your record will only show any crimes that you committed within the last seven years in your current state or any crimes that followed you to the state. For example, if you moved to a new state while on probation for a crime committed in a different state, it will still appear on your record. Most states only look for criminal activities, but some states also search through civil cases. Civil cases include lawsuits regarding previous debts.
Other Types of Checks
According to The U.S. Small Business Association, employers can conduct other types of background checks, including searches of school records, employment records, military records and credit reports. A search of your credit report will show schools the amount of debt you carry and any bankruptcies or foreclosures on your record, while an employment record shows your most recent employers and how long you worked for those employers. Schools can also look into your military history and check with the previous schools that you attended.
Most school employees work closely with students and schools want to hire responsible people to work with those children. Most employers today use a series of checks that look closely at your history. The background checks to work in a school used by employers today include state and federal criminal checks, child abuse checks and checks of your credit, military, employment and education histories.