First and formost... YES, this is going to "plague" you forever! Unfortunately the system designed to "help" us, is also designed to debilitate us. Luckily, the sytem has holes called loops!
Its not the issue of licensure, depending on your state and the loops they make you jump through, you'll more than likely be able to obtain a degree, or certification. However! No one tells us that its up to the corporation that your applying to weither or not you will get a job!!! Its a horrible descrimination, I think, because Im going through it now. I have a felony conviction for a DUI when I was 20 and some drug charged that were dropped when I was 18. I am 26 now and I got my CNA license last year. But everytime I go to a job interveiw or even an orientation, I get pulled into the office of admissions who tells me the same line ( I swear they have a little handbook with lines) anyway they hit me with the ol' "your background check came back and we need to discuss this with corporate before we can allow you into our facility"
So its not them, its the big bad corporate office who says, NO! Even though you have'nt been in any trouble for over 5,6, or 7 years NO. Even thought you took this course or have this degree and passed with honors, NO. Even though our company claims that it does not descriminate and none of your convictions fall under immediate dismissal, NO... NO NO NO!!!!!
Im not trying to discourage you, but you need to realisticly evaluate your record, truely want this and be willing to work twice as hard for it. Im not giving up either. I am going to school for my bachelors in science for nursing and hopefully by the time I grasduate enough time will have lapsed between my last bout with the law and my future goals.
I dont understand why the system is set up the way it is, but our records will follow us around forever and the only thing that will heal it slightly is time. But your education is an investment and with a record you'll more than likely still be able to obtain it.