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Will a DUI prevent me from becoming a teacher in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | DUI | 0 comments

If you have had a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may be wondering if this criminal record will affect your ability to become a teacher.

Because teachers work with children, society holds them to a high standard. However, one past mistake will not necessarily prevent you from fulfilling your career aspirations in education.

Background check

When applying for a teaching certificate in Pennsylvania, you must undergo a background check, which includes a review of your criminal history. This review is part of the certification process to ensure that applicants meet the state’s standards. Therefore, whoever reviews your record will see the DUI charge.

Determination of good moral character

The Pennsylvania Department of Education only issues certificates to applicants who possess good moral character. This requirement means that the Department considers factors such as criminal history, including DUIs, when determining an applicant’s moral qualifications for teaching.


Having a DUI on your record does not automatically disqualify you from becoming a teacher in Pennsylvania. During the review process, the Department of Education will consider the following factors:

  • The nature of the DUI offense
  • Whether the offense occurred on school property or involved a student
  • Your age and education at the time of the offense
  • Your current age
  • How recent or remote the offense is

Equally important is your attitude toward the offense, as demonstrated by your application and any explanations you provide. Any rehabilitative efforts you have made, such as completing a DUI education program or participating in community service will help your case.

Having a DUI on your record may complicate your application process. However, you can take comfort in the fact that an increasing number of Pennsylvanians feel that requiring that a person’s morality undergo scrutiny as a requirement of any type of professional license is an outdated practice.



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