Last Updated: April 19, 2023. Report error / Make suggestion

Working in education can be tremendously rewarding, whether you are a teacher, paraprofessional, support staff, or bus driver.  As an education professional you will have the opportunity to provide lasting guidance and mentorship.  However, because you will be working with and around children, the background check requirements are more difficult.  There are certain convictions that are automatic disqualifiers and others where you may have to provide some type of documentation or proof that shows you can safely and professionally perform the job.

Application Requirements

Who/What Agency governs or oversees the profession?

  • The Washington Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB)

What are the background check requirements?

  • The initial application for certification requires (at your expense), a criminal history record check through the WSP criminal identification system and through the FBI. The record check also includes a fingerprint check using a complete Washington state criminal identification fingerprint card.
  • You will also be asked to fill out a character and fitness supplement which asks about your legal history and history of “serious behavioral problems” including the names of past health practitioners
  • If your application for certification is denied by the PESB, after exhausting any appeal procedures, you can apply directly to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the certificate or endorsement.

Are there any convictions that will automatically disqualify me?

  • You cannot have a conviction for any crime against children as listed in RCW 28A.400.322
  • You cannot have a conviction of any crime within the last 10 years (including motor vehicle violations) which would materially and substantially impair your worthiness and ability to serve as a professional in schools.
    • This determination is made on a case-by-case basis which takes into consideration your age, overall criminal history, and classification of the criminal act, among other factors.

Do Certificates of Restoration of Opportunity (CROPs) apply to the position?

  • CROPS do not apply to the certification of teachers, but do apply to other positions within schools (e.g. bus driver, paraprofessional, etc.).