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Can a criminal conviction prevent you from becoming a teacher?

When Pennsylvania authorities charge you with any type of crime, you may have concerns about how it may impact your life if that charge winds up leading to a conviction. Ultimately, the repercussions you should expect to face following a criminal conviction may vary broadly based on the type of crime and whether you have offended before, among other factors. However, if you face criminal charges and also look to become a teacher within the state, you should know that some types of criminal convictions could potentially hinder your chances of doing so.

How? Whenever someone applies to become a teacher within state lines, the state has to first take into account whether the applicant has what it considers to be good moral character. If there are any questions raised by the way you answer certain questions presented by the state’s Teacher Information Management System, you may need to undergo something called a good moral character review.

The good moral character review

Certain offenses, such as driving under the influence, among many others, are likely going to trigger a good moral character review. If you have to take part in one, you should expect the person or people conducting your review to consider the nature and seriousness of the conduct that led to your criminal conviction. You should also expect your current attitude about the conduct that landed you in trouble to come into play. Similarly, if you have made any rehabilitative efforts to better yourself in the time since your conduct occurred, this may, too, factor in when it comes time to decide on your character.

When to consider an appeal

If whoever conducts your review determines that you do not have good moral character, you should receive a letter notifying you of his or her decision. At this point, you have the option of moving forward with an appeal, provided that you do so within 30 days of receiving the denial letter.

While undergoing a good moral character review may prove unnerving, keep in mind that a criminal conviction does not automatically disqualify you from following your chosen career path.

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