Background Process


Overview

A criminal history background review is part of the licensure process whenever an educator or prospective educator applies to obtain or renew a license in the state of Nevada. This background check is mandated by Nevada law.

Pursuant to NRS 391.033, "Every applicant for a[n educator] license must submit with his or her application a complete set of his or her fingerprints and written permission authorizing the Superintendent to forward the fingerprints to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History for its initial report on the criminal history of the applicant and for reports thereafter upon renewal of the license pursuant to subsection 6 of NRS 179A.075, and for submission to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its report on the criminal history of the applicant."

Per NRS 391.033(5), an application for an educator license may be denied if the applicant’s criminal history shows a conviction for a felony or for an offense involving moral turpitude. Administrative Regulation R136-15 defines “offense involving moral turpitude” for purposes of this statute. To assist in interpreting the regulation, the Department has created a matrix listing which types of offenses will result in denial of a license. You may view that matrix at the link below.

An applicant’s background check must be completed before a license will be issued or renewed. The Office of Educator Licensure will not issue a provisional license pending results of a background check.
Please note that your employer and the NDE do not share your information and you will need to submit fingerprints for both. If you fail to submit prints for the NDE background check, your license will be denied and you will need to reapply for licensure and pay all applicable fees again.

Electronic Fingerprint Submission (Livescan)

Applicants for an educator license are encouraged to submit fingerprints electronically via Livescan. Once you have submitted your licensure application and payment through OPAL, you will receive a verification email containing a link to a list of Department-approved Livescan vendors. If there is not an approved Livescan location in the area of the state where you live, you will have to submit a fingerprint card in order for us to complete your background check. Most Nevada law enforcement agencies and school districts will not submit fingerprints via Livescan for the Department of Education, but can take your prints and give you a fingerprint card to turn in.

The NDE is not able to accept Livescan submissions from any state other than Nevada. If you currently reside in another state and are applying for a Nevada educator license, you must submit a fingerprint card in order for us to complete your background check.

    Fingerprint Cards

    If you do not have access to an approved Livescan location, you may submit a fingerprint card to the Office of Educator Licensure, either in person or by mail once you have submitted your licensure application and payment. Fingerprint cards must be FBI form FD-258 or the equivalent. This is to ensure compatibility with machine-reading equipment used by the FBI to analyze the cards. Some law enforcement agencies do not use the FD-258 and do not carry them in stock. In this case you may download and print the card directly from the FBI's website. If you choose to do this, be sure to print the card on lightweight card stock. The Department of Public Safety and the FBI will not accept a fingerprint card printed on standard paper.

    Fingerprint cards must be signed by both the individual being fingerprinted and the official taking the fingerprints. Cards without both signatures, or cards dated more than one year old, cannot be accepted.

    If you are going to submit a fingerprint card in lieu of Livescan printing, you may have your fingerprints taken by any law enforcement agency or private fingerprinting agency in any state.

      Background Processing

      When you submit fingerprints to the Department of Education for background processing, they are sent to the Nevada Department of Public Safety and the FBI, both of which will run your prints and send a criminal history report to the Department. This process may take up to eight weeks. Individuals who have not yet applied to renew an existing Nevada educator license and who believe their license may expire before the background process can be completed may request an extension of their license by logging into their OPAL account and extending their license through the “online services” area on their dashboard, this will give an automatic 6-month extension to the existing valid unexpired license.

      If a criminal conviction appears on an applicant's background report, it will be reviewed by a background analyst to determine whether that conviction is potentially disqualifying under NRS 391.033. You may be requested to provide copies of court documentation and/or police reports documenting the final disposition of any event appearing in your background.

      Criminal history reports are confidential and will not be shared with any individual or other agency unless an applicant gives the Office of Educator Licensure written permission to do so using the Authorization for Release of Personal Information form below.

      Rejected Fingerprints

      Fingerprints that do not contain enough detail to be read may be rejected by the Department of Public Safety or the FBI. This generally occurs if the applicant has rough, dry, or worn skin, which can make it hard to obtain clear, sharp fingerprints. If this happens, you will receive an email advising you of the situation and directing you to be reprinted and submit a new set of fingerprints to OEL within 30 days. Reprinted fingerprints may not be electronically submitted – pursuant to DPS guidelines, you must submit a fingerprint card.

      In some cases, an individual will have both an initial fingerprint submission and a set of reprinted fingerprints rejected. When a second set of prints is rejected, we will request that DPS perform a non-fingerprint based (“manual”) background check based on other unique identifiers (name, Social Security number, date of birth, etc.). If this happens, you will receive a courtesy notification via email advising you that this step was taken. You will not need to take any further action at that point. DPS will not allow us to request a non-fingerprint background check until two separate sets of fingerprints have been submitted and rejected. It may take DPS and FBI up to 10 weeks to process a non-fingerprint background request.

      Individuals whose fingerprints have been rejected one or more times and who hold an existing educator license may, at their discretion, request an extension of their license if they believe it will expire before the background process is completed. To request an extension, these individuals must contact our backgrounds unit via email at backgrounds@doe.nv.gov. Please allow up to 1 week to have your license extended.

        Contact Information

        If you have further questions about the background process, you may contact the Office of Educator Licensure’s background unit via email at:

        Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS):

        Q: Can I submit fingerprints electronically (Livescan) for my background check?
        A: Yes. An applicant who chooses to submit fingerprints electronically via Livescan must first register for an account through OPAL to apply for licensure and pay, licensing fees. Once the application and fees are received, he or she will be sent an email detailing where all the NDE-approved fingerprinting agencies are located. You will need to bring a government-issued ID to the vendor to have them submit your fingerprints to the DPS and FBI on our behalf.

        If you prefer to turn in a fingerprint card rather than submit prints via Livescan, you may still do so. Fingerprint cards must be FBI form FD-258 or an equivalent card, and they must be submitted to one of our licensure offices located in Carson City or Las Vegas. If you wish to mail the fingerprint card to us, please send to:

        Nevada Department of Education
        Attn: Office of Educator Licensure
        9890 S. Maryland Pkwy., Ste. 221
        Las Vegas, NV 89183

        Q: What agencies can submit my fingerprints via Livescan?
        A: The Department of Education currently works with a group of approved Livescan vendors, which are listed on the authorization information which will be emailed to you. Only approved locations may be used for electronic fingerprint submission. Approved vendors are located in Las Vegas, Carson City, Reno, and Elko. Applicants who do not live near an approved Livescan location will have to turn in a fingerprint card in lieu of submitting prints electronically.

        Most Law enforcement agencies do not submit fingerprints via Livescan for the Department of Education, although they can still take an applicant’s fingerprint and provide him or her with a fingerprint card to turn in.

        Livescan submissions from out-of-state vendors will not be accepted by the Department of Public Safety for background processing. Anyone who resides out of state and wants to apply for or renew a Nevada educator license must submit a fingerprint card with his or her application.

        Q: My local Police department uses a different fingerprint card than the FD-258. Is it okay to submit my fingerprints on their card instead?
        A: No. All fingerprint cards submitted for purposes of educator licensing must be on FBI form FD-258 or the equivalent, for the reasons listed on our Background Process page.

        Q: How long will it take to complete my background check?
        A: Since the Department of Education uses the FBI and the NV Department of Public Safety to process backgrounds, we have no control over the time frame involved. Depending on circumstances, we may receive criminal histories in as little as four weeks, or it may take much longer. If your fingerprints are rejected as unusable and you have to submit a new set of prints, this may significantly delay the completion of your background check.

        Q: My fingerprints were rejected. Why did these happen, and what should I do now?
        A: There are several reasons why fingerprints may be considered unusable by DPS or the FBI. This may be a result of an error in the fingerprinting process, but more typically is because of physical conditions that make it difficult to obtain clear fingerprints (such as excessively rough or dry skin, or certain medical conditions).

        Pursuant to the provisions of NRS 391.033, any conviction for a felony or for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor crime involving moral turpitude is grounds for denial of an educator license. A background review will determine if a conviction appearing on an applicant’s criminal history report is disqualifying or not. You may request your own criminal history from the Nevada Repository and/or the FBI.

        Q: I have an arrest and/or a conviction on my record. What documentation might I be asked to supply in order to complete my background evaluation?
        A: You will usually only receive a request for further documentation from our office if your criminal history report is incomplete, or if it shows an arrest but no final case disposition. The types of documents we usually require include (but may not be limited to) court records showing case dispositions, orders for reversal/expungement/dismissal of a conviction, police/district attorney’s reports indicating that a case was or was not prosecuted, or parole/probation reports showing successful completion of probation or a pre-trial diversion program.