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Nationally, there are no federal criminal background criteria for teachers or any other professions, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Instead, state laws govern the types of criminal offenses that will determine your eligibility to earn a teacher certification.
Teaching is a Privilege
A teaching certification is not a contract and therefore the rules that govern certification can be changed at any time by the state authorizing the certifications. The certification process is enforced equally for private and public school teachers and generally can be refused or revoked if teachers display acts such as indecent behavior, immoral conduct, fraud or neglect or unprofessional conduct.
Variations by State
Criteria governing criminal offenses and teacher certification vary from state to state and often, even among school districts. For example, while school districts in Texas can make individual rulings, state laws prohibit the districts from hiring any teachers who are registered sex offenders or have been convicted of Title 5 felonies, which are assaults against another person. New Jersey state officials deny teacher certification for a long list of criminal convictions and pending charges that include weapon possession, sexual offenses or child molestation, drug sale or possession, robbery, kidnapping, assault and murder.
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Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."