Education Background Check Failed? How To Fix and Resubmit

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | June 24, 2024

Confused man looking at a large computer screen sees his education background check failed and wonders how to fix a teaching background check.

Many individuals who are trying to get jobs in education may be surprised that their education background check failed.

Although this can be a major setback, in many cases it will simply be because a mistake was made.

In this situation, knowing how to fix a background check report for teachers and resubmit the information can help individuals get to the next stage in the hiring process as soon as possible. It can also help to know the disqualifiers for a federal job, and then run a background check on yourself first to find out if you have any offenses that need addressed.

This complete guide outlines how to restore a teaching certification in the event that the education background check failed.

What Happens If You Fail a Background Check for Education?

The education background check is more thorough than the average background check that many individuals will be used to for other jobs.

Unlike a typical pre-employment background check that is performed by a private company, the background check for jobs in education is performed by government agencies. So, the process for determining whether you failed a background screening from a potential employer should be very similar to other public employment or a government job background check.

Screenshot image of child care staff background checks

(Image: ChildCare1)

In order to be a teacher, all individuals must meet the requirements set by the federal government to work in child care.1 One of these requirements is to pass a federal background check that is performed by the FBI and oftentimes checked again by the state police or a similar agency.2

The teacher background check is extremely thorough due to its use of a fingerprint-based check, as opposed to the name-based searches that most people will be used to.

Individuals can fail a teacher background check for many different reasons. Most commonly it will be an issue with the individual’s criminal history. Unlike jobs in the private sector, schools can not create their own list of disqualifying offenses for background checks and instead rely on those dictated by state and federal law.

The list encompasses numerous crimes and does not factor in the amount of time that has elapsed since the crime took place.3

Any disqualifying offense committed at any time will cause the background check to be failed.

How To Check if Your Education Background Check Failed (All 50 States)

It is also important to keep in mind that since the background check is performed by the FBI, state laws will not affect what is uncovered during the criminal history check. For example, individuals living in a 7-year state may have had past convictions sealed, however, the FBI will be able to view these records regardless and what is found will come into play. This is because federal checks are only subject to laws dictated by the FCRA and are able to essentially ignore state laws regarding background checks and criminal records.4

Individuals who fail a teacher background check for any reason will be notified by the board in charge of hiring teachers. If the problem is with the background check, the individual must be notified in writing of what specific elements of the check resulted in the check being failed.

The best thing to do if your education background check failed is to file an appeal. This can be done through the state teachers’ association in most cases.

Image screenshot of the fair credit reporting act

(Image: Federal Trade Commission4)

Keep in mind that appealing has a low chance of success unless the failure was the result of incorrect information or a mistake of some kind. Information on the teaching background check and the appeals process in each state can be found using the list below.

StateEducator Background Check Requirements and Information
AlabamaAlabama DOE Applicant Processing Services
AlaskaFingerprint Card/Employment Verification
ArizonaEducator Certification: Fingerprint Clearance Card (IVP)
ArkansasArkansas Background Check Process
CaliforniaCalifornia Fingerprint Information
ColoradoColorado Fingerprint Requirements
ConnecticutSchool Employees Criminal Record Check
DelawareCriminal Background Check for Public School Related Employment
FloridaFingerprint Processing Instructions
GeorgiaGeorgia Criminal Background Check System (GCHEXS)
HawaiiHawaii Preparation Program Affiliation Agreement (AA)
IdahoIdaho Background Investigation Check
IllinoisIllinois Criminal History Records Checks
IndianaIndiana PLA Criminal Background Check Instructions
IowaIowa Board of Educational Examiners Background Checks
KansasKansas Teacher Licensure (TL)
KentuckyApplying for a New Certification in Kentucky
LouisianaLouisiana Department of Education’s Educator Certification Portal
MaineMaine Child Care Background Check Information (come back)
MarylandMaryland Child Care Background Check Information
MassachusettsBackground Checks: Criminal History Record Information (CHRI)
MichiganRevised School Code Criminal History Check
MinnesotaMinnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Background Checks
MississippiMississippi Criminal History Record Checks
MissouriFingerprinting Background Check for Educator Certification
MontanaMontana Criminal History Background Check
NebraskaNebraska Child Care Background Check Information
NevadaNevada Department of Education Background Process
New HampshireNew Hampshire School Employee and Designated School Volunteer Criminal History Records Check
New JerseyNew Jersey Department of Education Criminal History Record Check
New MexicoNew Mexico Background Check Process
New YorkNew York Criminal History Background Checks for School Employees
North CarolinaNorth Carolina DHHS Criminal Background Checks
North DakotaNorth Dakota ESPB Background Checks
OhioOhio Child Department of Education Background Check FAQs
OklahomaBackground Checks for School Employment
OregonOregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Child Care Background Check Information (come back)
Rhode IslandRhode Island Background Check Guide
South CarolinaSouth Carolina Criminal Background Check: Register
South DakotaSouth Dakota Background Check Requirements
TennesseeTennessee Child Care Background Check Information (go back)
TexasTexas National Criminal History Checks
UtahUtah Fingerprinting, Background Check, and Educator Ethics Review
VermontVermont Child Care Background Check Information (go back)
VirginiaCode of Virginia Education Fingerprinting Required on Teachers, Officers and Employees
WashingtonWashington Department of Children, Youth, & Families Background Check Requirements
West VirginiaWest Virginia Department of Education Background Check
WisconsinWisconsin Child Care Background Check Information
WyomingWyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board PTSB Application Tip

What’s Included in a Background Check for Employment as a Teacher?

A teacher background check consists of checks with both the state agency in charge of background checks, usually the state police or a similar agency and a federal criminal history check through the FBI.

Image of a primary teacher facing class and holding a marker

(Image: nappy6)

These checks ensure that previously convicted criminals, particularly those who’ve committed crimes against children, are not allowed to hold teaching certifications in the state.

The exact checks that must be performed at a minimum are as follows:

  • FBI Fingerprint Check
  • National Sex Offender Registry Check
  • State Criminal Registry
  • State Sex Offender Registry
  • State-Based Child Neglect Registry Check

Keep in mind that the above checks only cover the federal requirements for teachers and do not include the various checks that certain states may require in addition to the above.

How To Fail a Background Check For Teaching

The most common way for an individual to have an education background check failed is to be dishonest about some aspect of the check.

Besides specific crimes being considered automatic disqualifiers, individuals who lied about past crimes will also be disqualified.

This can be frustrating for many individuals, especially because even if the crime is not a disqualifier in itself, failure to mention a past conviction is cause for an automatic failure.

There are other ways to fail an education background check, most notably including incorrect information even if by accident. Something as simple as entering the wrong social security number can cause an automatic failure as the FBI will not be able to properly verify the individual’s identity.

Although this is not an ideal situation, not all hope is lost if this happens. Occurrences like these are the precise reason why appeals exist for education background checks. Still, it is important to verify all information possible before submitting the background check as the appeals process can take a significant amount of time to complete, even for simple mistakes.

Can You Fail a Background Check With a Misdemeanor?

Individuals can have an education background check failed due to a misdemeanor on their record. Although not all misdemeanors are considered disqualifying offenses, specific kinds of misdemeanors will result in an automatic fail. Most notably, most violent misdemeanors are disqualifiers as well as any crimes of a sexual nature or crimes involving children.

How Do I Know If I Passed My Background Check?

Individuals will always know if they passed a background check or not. This is because the FCRA requires that anyone who fails a background check be notified in writing of the specific reason for the failure. If the background check failed, individuals should receive a letter in the mail explaining the circumstances as well as steps on how to appeal the decision.

If there is no response at all, individuals should contact where they applied an inquiry as it is likely the result of a miscommunication such as a phone number or address being incorrect.

What Should You Do If You Are Nervous About Background Check?

Any individual who is anxious about a background screening, especially those undergoing education background check should conduct a background check on themselves first. Not only is this easy and quick to perform, but it will allow individuals to see the exact same information as the background check service or government agency.

By knowing what to expect individuals can avoid silly mistakes like forgetting to disclose certain crimes. More notably, this will allow individuals to fix any potential mistakes. Although rare, mistakes on background checks do happen and can drastically affect an individual’s chances of getting a job.

Individuals can use the search bar at the top of this page to perform a public records search on themselves for free. Other options include hiring a private background check service for a fee or undergoing an FBI background check, which is the most thorough and expensive option.

Failed Background Check After Job Offer

Most individuals who received a negative background check report after a job offer can be confused. This is because background checks are paid for by the company, so most employers will not bother performing a background check unless they intend to hire the individual.

When this happens, the appeals process is usually the only chance of still getting hired. The appeals process varies but will usually be done directly with the employer.

Image of a teacher writing on a white board

(Image: Christina Morillo7)

In the case of an education background check failed, a successful appeal is usually only possible if the information is incorrect. This is because there are strict laws regarding hiring teachers who have been convicted of certain crimes, while private employers may be able to make an exception, the same can not be said for teachers.

Accepting Job Offer Before Background Check

Many employers will offer an individual a job before the background check has been completed. When this happens the job offer is usually dependent on the results of the background check. If the background check is failed the job offer is rescinded automatically.

Many people waiting on the results wonder how long a background screening takes for a potential government worker. The answer to that depends on your record and how easily the information can be accessed, but it is usually around 2-4 weeks.

How To Dispute a Failed Background Check

Disputing a failed background check is a fairly common practice and one that is required by law to be available to individuals who have undergone a background check.

The exact steps will vary based on who performed the check but in general the first step is to contact the agency that performed the check. In the case of an education background check failed, the letter that indicates the check is failed will also include the basic steps to appeal.

What States Prohibit Pre-Offer Background Checks?

Very few states expressly prohibit pre-offer background checks. However, very few companies will perform this practice due to the potential legal issues it may cause.

Conducting a background check before the individual is offered a job can put the employer in a position that leaves them open to discrimination lawsuits. Mainly, discrimination against an individual due to their criminal history.

Mistaken Identity Background Check (Education Background Check Failed)

In some cases, a failed background check may be the result of a mistaken identity. In this case, it is important to know how to clear up the mistake as soon as possible. This will usually entail contacting the background check agency and providing identity verification, often with a photo ID and a social security number.

What Is the Next Step After a Background Check?

The background check is usually the last step in the hiring process, so very little will happen after that. In most cases, the job offer will have been extended before the background check so the only thing left to do is accept the job and begin training.

When it comes to teaching background checks the steps immediately following a successful check will vary based on the state and school district.

Education background checks can be extremely stressful due to how hard individuals must work to become educators. Finding out an education background check failed can be extremely frustrating so individuals should always first perform a check on themselves to avoid any surprises.

Frequently Asked Questions About Education Background Check Failed

What Does a Background Check After Offer Letter Mean?

Being asked to undergo a background check after receiving a job offer is standard practice, if the check is passed the job only needs to be accepted by the individual.

What Happens If You Fail a Background Check for a Gun?

Individuals who fail a background check for a gun will have the option to appeal the results with the FBI.5

What If My Background Check Shows Wrong Address?

Any incorrect information on a background check should be corrected immediately with the agency that performed the check.

How To Fix Minor Discrepancy in Background Check?

Fixing a minor discrepancy in a background check is fairly simple and will usually involve contacting the agency that performed the check and explaining the situation and what needs to be fixed.

Can an Employer Fire You After They Hired You Because of a Background Check?

Most companies will not hire an individual until a background check has been completed. However, individuals can be fired for committing a crime that would be a disqualifier on a background check if they committed the crime after being hired.

What If There Is No Response After a Background Check for Employment?

There should always be a response after a background check as it is required by law. If there is no response, reach out to the employer to see if there is a communication issue.

How To Dispute a Criminal Background Check?

Criminal background checks can be disputed with the company that performed the check.

How To Clear a Bad Background Check?

Bad background checks can be cleared with the company that performed it, individuals with mistakes on their check should contact the company as soon as possible.

If a Company Does a Background Check, Are You Hired?

The hiring will be dependent on the results of the check in most cases. Very few employers will bother performing a background check on an individual that they do not plan on hiring.

What If There Is Incorrect Information on Background Check?

Incorrect information should be fixed as soon as possible by contacting the agency that conducted the background check.


1Office of Child Care. (2020, May 16). Child Care Background Check. Background Check – What You Need To Know. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from <>

2Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2016, May 3). Identity History Summary Checks. Identity History Summary Checks (Rap Sheets). Retrieved September 29, 2022, from <>

3Child Care Technical Assistance Network. (2016). Criminal Background Checks – Disqualifying Crimes. CCDF Fundamentals – Disqualifying Crimes. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from <>

4Federal Trade Commission. (2013, July 19). FTC Fair Credit Reporting Act. Fair Credit Reporting Act. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from <>

5Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2016, June 3). Firearm-Related Challenge (Appeal) and Voluntary Appeal File (VAF). National Background Check System – Appeals. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from <>

6Photo by nappy. Cropped, Resized, Changed Format. Pexels. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from <>

7Photo by Christina Morillo. Cropped, Resized, Changed Format. Pexels. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from <>

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