What You Need to Know About the Teacher Application Process: Background Checks

Criminal background checks may be required before any field experience, student teaching, applying for employment, or after securing employment. The district will direct you on the process they use to gather your fingerprints, and you’ll usually be held responsible for the cost of the background check. Different states use different criminal background tests. The Massachusetts test, for instance, is called the Criminal Offender Records Information (CORI).

In many states, tests like CORI in Massachusetts are administered to protect the welfare of students. These criminal background checks are usually required of all candidates for, and current occupants of, positions that have the potential for direct and unmonitored contact with students. The tests may be administered to teachers, teacher’s aides, school nurses, counselors, coaches or other extracurricular staff or supervisors, food service employees, custodians, and transportation providers. Volunteers, interns, student teachers, or other persons regularly offering support to any school program or facility, whether paid or unpaid, may also have to take the test.

Criminal background checks are an important part of ensuring that your future students are safe. You may request to receive a copy of the report that will be sent to your prospective employer, or you may waive the option. Asking to receive a copy will not reflect negatively on you.

While it may be intimidating to have a government agency look into your past, know that the check is just a routine part of applying for a job. Take a deep breath, do the paperwork, and keep moving forward with the job-seeking process!

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