Can I Ever Get a Job as a Teacher if I Have a Criminal Record?

The process of getting a teaching job can rewarding and fulfilling. After all, your desire to enter the profession is most likely rooted out of a deep concern for young people and wanting to help them become the best they can be. This is also why it can be frustrating to enter the profession due to a mistake made in the past. If you have a criminal record, you might be wondering if it is even possible to get a job as a teacher. The answer depends on a variety of factors, including the area of the country you are searching for a job in and the crime that is on your record.

Hurdles to Overcome

If you have a criminal conviction, there will be inevitably be some hurdles to overcome if you desire to land that coveted teaching job. These rules are put into place, of course, to help protect children. Not all criminals are barred from the teaching profession, so it will depend upon the particular crime that you committed. For the most part, these regulations vary from state to state, so you would want to checks with the licensing board in your jurisdiction. Generally speaking, the following crimes tend to disqualify teaching candidates altogether:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Sex Crimes with a Minor
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Domestic Violence
  • Extortion

If you have been convicted of any of these crimes, there is virtually no way to find a teaching job in any state, no matter how much time you served or how many counseling programs you completed. Beyond this list, a criminal record is not an automatic disqualification from the teaching profession. Again, the extent to which you will be banned from getting a teaching job for other convictions will largely depend on where you apply for your license.

Related resource: Top 10 Best Online Master of Arts in Teaching Degree Programs

Honesty Counts

While you might find it tempting to not disclose a so-called lesser conviction when applying for a teaching job, this will not serve your best interest. School’s are increasingly concerned over the integrity of their teaching staff, so most will check your personal information against national criminal databases. If you are found to be lying on your employment application, it will not bode well for your future chance of getting a job in any state. Honesty will be viewed much more favorably by most schools than will a conviction for a minor crime committed 20 years ago.

Expunged and Sealed Records

Many crimes that minors are convicted of are sealed. This means that they will not be disclosed, which improves your chances of getting a job. Many crimes committed as an adult can also be expunged, effectively removing it from your record. It is important to note that major crimes will not be expunged, no matter what the circumstance. The general rule is that any crime that carries a mandatory sentence cannot be expunged. Misdemeanors can usually be expunged after one or two years, and felonies after three to five years.

The answer to this question may not be definitive, but it should provide hope to many people looking to teach even though they have a criminal conviction on their record. It is possible under the right circumstances. Getting a teaching job is the gateway to a rewarding and fulfilling career.