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.  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 this 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)?

  1. Read all FAQs and instructions to ensure that you meet the criteria for a preliminary criminal history evaluation. Do not submit a PCHE request if you do not meet the criteria.
  2. Provide payment through Texas Online, and obtain the Local Reference Number, which is your payment confirmation. Please retain this information to include on your PCHE form.
  3. Prepare a brief statement about the circumstances upon which your arrest(s) are based and the disposition relating to each offense to be evaluated.
  4. Complete the Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation request form.
  5. Submit your signed PCHE request form, your signed statement, court documents, and any other pertinent documentation by fax to 512-936-8247, or by mail to:
     Texas Education Agency
      Attn: Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation
      1701 N. Congress Ave, 5th Floor
      Austin, Texas  78701

Once the payment and documentation are received, the Texas Education Agency, Division of Educator Investigations will evaluate your criminal history. TEA staff will then send you an evaluation letter by email, within 90 calendar days, that provides you with the agency’s opinion about your potential eligibility for educator certification based on the information you provided.