Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation-FAQs

Please read these FAQs in their entirety before making a request or submitting payment for a Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation (PCHE). All fees are non-refundable.

1. What is a Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation? 

A Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation (PCHE) is an evaluation of eligibility for a Texas educator certificate based on your self-reported criminal history. As a service to prospective candidates, TEA staff may perform an evaluation for a non-refundable fee of $50. The evaluation is voluntary and non-binding.

During the process, agency staff will obtain your name-based Texas criminal history information from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Once the evaluation is complete, TEA staff will send you an evaluation letter advising of your potential eligibility for educator certification. The determination of eligibility is based in part on the information you provide to the agency.  Therefore, failure to provide complete and accurate information may result in an inaccurate criminal history evaluation.  Agency staff performs the evaluations under the authority of the Texas Occupations Code §53.102 and Texas Administrative Code 19 Ch. 227. 

2. What can I do with this information?

If you were previously charged with a crime, you may have questions about your eligibility for a Texas educator certificate. The agency’s evaluation letter should answer your questions about potential eligibility. You can use the evaluation letter to make decisions about whether to enroll in an educator preparation program or take a test for a certificate.

3. Can anyone request a Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation? 

You may request a Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation only if:

  • You are enrolled or planning to enroll in an educator preparation program or you are planning to take a certification exam for initial educator certification, and
  • You have reason to believe that you may be ineligible for educator certification due to a conviction or deferred adjudication for a felony or misdemeanor offense.

4. What is the cost of the service? 

The agency charges a non-refundable fee of $50 by credit card for a Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation.

5. Would I still be required to complete the fingerprinting process when I apply for certification? 

Participation in PCHE process does not exempt you from submitting to a national criminal history background check at the time you apply for your educator certification. This means you will be required to be fingerprinted and to pay the applicable fees during the application process. Additionally, the agency will review your national criminal history background check (based on information obtained through the submission of fingerprints), and you may be subject to an investigation based on that criminal history, including any information you failed to submit for Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation.

6. What else should I know before requesting the evaluation.

The agency is required to establish retention policies for criminal history evaluations. Therefore, it is important that you retain your records in the event you need them in the future. You should also know that you will not be given a copy of the criminal history report.  Finally, please be aware that TEA follows the Texas Public Information Act for releasing information. Therefore, information can only be kept confidential to the extent allowed by law.

7. What steps do I take to request a Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation (PCHE)?

Effective October 1, 2018, requests for a PCHE must be submitted online. TEA staff recommends that you follow steps #1 - #3 to prepare for your submission.

1. Read all FAQs to ensure that you meet the criteria for a preliminary criminal history evaluation. Do not submit a PCHE request or make payment if you do not meet the criteria.

2. Gather the following information, which TEA will require to complete your evaluation. To prevent delay in the agency’s response, be prepared to submit all documentation with your request:

• All offenses that you believe may make you ineligible for a teaching certification,
• Your statement about the circumstances upon which your arrest(s) were based,
• All court documentation showing the formal disposition of each offense and related charges. To obtain such documentation, contact the clerk in the jurisdiction (typically a County) in which you were arrested.

3. Provide payment through Texas Online. Retain the Local Reference Number, which is your payment confirmation that will be included in your request. Please be aware that the fee is non-refundable.

4. Complete the online Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation request form. Upon your submission, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a copy of the information you entered.

Once the request and documentation are received, TEA staff will begin evaluation of your criminal history. Within 90 calendar days, staff will send you an evaluation letter by email that provides you with the agency’s opinion about your potential eligibility for educator certification. The evaluation will be based on the information you provided as part of your request. Should you need to submit additional information during the review, you can do so by responding to your request confirmation email or faxing to 512-936-8247.