Certain criminal convictions may prevent you from holding specific types of jobs. If you have aspirations of becoming a teacher in Pennsylvania, know that some criminal convictions may jeopardize your chances. The Pennsylvania Department of Education only gives teaching certificates to individuals who have demonstrated good moral character, although the term is somewhat open to interpretation.

In your pursuit of a teaching certificate, you must answer specific background questions. Your answers, in some cases, may trigger a good moral character review. Keep in mind, though, that having a criminal conviction does not automatically disqualify you from obtaining a teaching certificate in the state. What should you expect if you must undergo such a review?

The review process

There is no clear duration for a good moral character review. Rather, the duration may vary based on factors such as how much of a backlog exists and how long it takes you to submit the necessary documentation.

However, during the review, expect a representative from the Department of Education to consider the nature of the conduct that led to your conviction. He or she is also going to take into account your attitude toward the conduct that landed you in trouble and whether you have taken any steps to remedy your situation or grow from it.

The response

You should receive a written response about your good moral character review within 30 days of completing it. If you receive a denial, you have the option of appealing the decision within 30 days of the date your notice hit the mail.