Background checks differ for teachers by state; however, most background checks consist of a thorough check into a person's criminal history, if one exists. While the aim of most checks is to uncover felonies and heinous acts, misdemeanors may be reported as well.
A criminal history does not necessarily bar one from employment in most states, but some crimes are a cause for concern. Background checks check local history, with the possible inclusion of traffic violations and misdemeanors, and crimes committed on federal property or at the federal level.
Fundamentally, all background checks search for possible threats to homeland security, inclusion in the local and national sex offender registries, and include a statewide and national criminal database check, and a scan of possible open warrants. In most cases, the teaching applicant has to submit his fingerprints to process the background check. Costs for this process also differ by state, and in most cases, the applicant is responsible for payment.
Texas reviews criminal history on a case-by-case basis if one is found. Wisconsin has specific violations that, if committed within the past six years, do bar an applicant from a teaching certificate, which bars him from employment. California applicants should note that there are some California laws regarding background checks that supersede federal laws.