Can I Get a License to Sell Life Insurance in PA with a Felony Marijuana Conviction from 16 Years Ago?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

Millions of Americans have had youthful experiences that they'd prefer to forget. Although most have gone on to lead productive lives, some are unable to outrun past criminal convictions, credit problems or ethical issues. In a few unfortunate cases, such issues can derail careers and destroy lives. Many marriages have been torn apart by unpleasant revelations from long ago.

If you're thinking about switching jobs, you might be wondering about your past criminal conviction's potential to impact your prospects. Unfortunately, it's difficult to generalize about such a situation. Ultimately, your ability to find work will depend upon the protocols of the field in which you intend to work as well as the laws of your local jurisdiction.

If you're looking to go into the life insurance industry, you may be in luck. In most places, the state agencies that administer life insurance entrance exams don't conduct background checks or other reviews of qualifications prior to administering these tests. In Pennsylvania, it's likely that you'll be able to take the state's life insurance exam without presenting any credentials at all. Of course, you'll have to show up at the testing site and pay a hefty administration fee in order to complete the test. Once you pass, you'll be eligible to receive an insurance license that entitles you to sell insurance and certain other financial products within the state's borders.

Although you probably won't have trouble securing your insurance license, you may find it more difficult to find a suitable job. Tens of thousands of licensed insurance agents currently live and work in Pennsylvania. As such, competition for available jobs is fierce. Although the state's economy is relatively healthy, there are often dozens of applicants for a single life insurance job. After all, this line of work pays fairly well.

While they're not legally or ethically required to do so, many insurance agencies and direct-sales organizations use background checks to weed out seemingly untrustworthy job applicants. A background check generally provides a snapshot of a prospective employee's credit profile and criminal history. Once an agency has received the results of a background check, it may use its discretion to determine whether to proceed with the hiring process. If you've been convicted of a drug-related felony within the past decade, chances are good that many of your potential employers will elect not to consider you for a position. If your felony occurred more than 10 years ago, you might have a better chance of being hired by a reputable company.

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