Allegations of misconduct, on the part of a teaching credential applicant or current credential holder, are investigated by the Division of Professional Practices, according to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The allegations are reviewed by the Committee of Credentials, which may recommend adverse action (disciplinary action) against the credential applicant or holder. A range of crimes will prevent you from becoming a California teacher.
Commission on Teacher Credentialing
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing is an agency found within the state government’s executive branch, which manages the regulation and licensing of California’s teachers. The Commission’s Committee on Credentials reviews disciplinary cases against teachers -- applicants and current teachers -- including cases based on misconduct, arrests or criminal convictions. If you are in the process of earning your degree and have applied for a teaching credential, fingerprinting will be required to run a criminal background check. The COC will consider the results when it recommends denial or acceptance of your credential application.
According California’s Education Code Section 44242.5.6 (A), any allegation of misconduct or omission on your application will be presented to the COC, including your “affirmative response on an application submitted to the commission as to any conviction, adverse action on, or denial of, a license, or pending investigation into a criminal allegation or pending investigation of a non-criminal allegation of misconduct by a governmental licensing entity.” In other words, if you have ever been denied a license by another government agency, or you have been convicted or even investigated for a crime, the COC factors this into its recommendation for acceptance or denial of your credential application.
A number of crimes can generate a COC review. Convictions that result in automatic denial, revocation or suspension, include sex offenses requiring registration under Penal Code §290, drug offenses (possession, trafficking and so forth), violent felonies (like murder or rape) and any convictions leading to probation terms that limit contact with minors. Driving under the influence convictions may result in adverse action. If you have been convicted of a DUI or misdemeanor, you may still be able to teach, especially if you were a minor when the crime occurred, but it is advisable to consult with an attorney for detailed advice.
In addition to the specific crimes listed, other crimes, including white-collar crimes and shoplifting, for which you have been convicted could prevent you from becoming a California teacher. The COC will make a determination as to your fitness to teach and make its recommendation for issuance or denial of your credential. In making its fitness determination, the committee will examine how recently the conduct occurred, the type of credential for which you have applied or already possess and the impact your conduct is likely to have on students, should they become aware of it. The committee will also consider any extenuating or aggravating circumstances surrounding the crime, any publicity or notoriety received due to the conduct, the extent to which any adverse action may suppress your constitutional rights, and the likelihood of a recurrence of the conduct.
Based in California, Debbie Donner is a freelance online writer who primarily writes articles related to personal finance. Donner received a Mensa scholarship in 2006 while attending California State University, Fresno. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts and a multiple-subject teaching credential.