Can I Obtain CNA Certification If I Have a Criminal Record?
This was a question sent in through email. The answer is written below -
With a criminal record, we often worry that it will jeopardize our chances of securing a job or even make it harder to get licensed. If you are working towards becoming a certified nursing assistant, having a criminal record should be a concern. However, the good news is you can still attend a CNA program and write the CNA examination. On the other hand, just like any job, you might have a hard time getting hired because employers are very careful when screening people during the process. They look to hire people who won’t put others in danger, can be trusted, and work with others in society.
I’m not saying you have “absolutely” NO chance of securing a job once you’ve completed your CNA examinations, but that there are factors which will determine how successful your employment application will be if you have a criminal record.
Before you can be fully licensed as a certified nursing assistant in any state, they’ll request the following information –
- A certified copy of conviction orders
- Proof that you fulfilled all court ordered requirements (paid fines and restitutions or letter from the probation officer)
- Compose a letter explaining the events that led to the criminal conviction. Stick to the facts only; do not make excuses
- Recommendation from employers describing your performance at work.
The approval of your licensing application will depend on your conviction, and how serious the conviction is. Something serious like murder will disqualify you from getting your license. But, getting licensed is on a case by case basis and will solely depend on conviction, timing, state laws, etc. Make sure when handing in supporting documents that you are totally honest because nothing hurts your chances more than lying on an application.
Additional Resources –
Here are a few things which will improve your chances –
- The seriousness of the crime. If you have a DUI charge, it won’t be as bad as having a record for aggravated assault.
- When the charge happened. For example, if you were convicted 20 years ago, then it’s better than having something appear on your record from what you did last year. A conviction 20 years ago, may still hurt your chances depending on the charge, but they might turn a blind because so much time has passed, and you have a clean record ever since.
If you applied to have the conviction removed and your approval has been granted. Instead of the employer waiting for it to come off your record, they’ll hire you with a pending condition. Visit your state courthouse to find out how to have a previous conviction removed.
If you have any additional questions regarding this, leave a reply below and our team will gather the information for you 🙂
My liscense expired, how do I get them reinstated? Also can you have felonies and still work in the medical field?
My liscense expired, how do I get them reinstated? Also can you have felonies and still work in the medical field?
What state are you in and we'll look up how to get it reinstated for you.
If you have a criminal record you can still work in the medical professional however this will depend on the conviction you have. Do you have a felony and what is it for? We will talk to our network and gather as much information as possible to help you in the right direction. Here's what we do know -
- Working in the medical field is still possible but this does depend on the seriousness of the felony.
- If you have been convicted of a felony, you may be able to get an expungement or pardon after 7 years to have it removed from your record.
- The final decision does come down to the employer or medical school.
- Some states DO NOT do a background check when applying for a license.
We hope this helps. But get back to us with some additional information and we'll speak to the State department to gather all the correct information.
I live in michigan. I got into some trouble 4 years ago and it left me with a felony on my record. I haven’t been into any trouble since that happen though. I’m currently in a CNA program and I just want to know will that felony stop me from being a fully licensed certified nurse assistant?
We want to thank you for your comment. We are also very sorry to hear about your felony conviction four (4) years ago.
To answer your question, it would be very hard to give you a definite answer however we can guide you in the right direction. We did some research and found the following information.
First, you MAY not be able to obtain your license if you have been convicted of a felony. In the Michigan Compiled Law 333.16243(1)(c) , it states that laws are in place to protect patients in health care facilities. More information can be found here - https://www.michigancriminalattorneysblog.com/criminal-convictions-nurses-licensed-health-care-professionals-michigan/
However, being disqualified really does depend on the type of felony/conviction you have and how long it has been since your last felony. You stated you have been clean for four (4) years so this MAY work in your favor. For example, here is some information we found -
"Unsurprisingly, most states will automatically disqualify a CNA who has been convicted of violent crimes such as homicide, murder, assault, battery, arson, kidnapping or rape. If the offense was committed more than a few years in past, some states will allow CNAs to apply for an exemption." - careertrend.com
With that said,
You MAY be able to OBTAIN your CNA license within the State of Michigan because it has been four (4) since the conviction and you have had NO conviction since then. However, here is another essential FACT to keep in mind. Even if you get your license, many employers MAY opt NOT to hire you because of your previous criminal record. Employers tend to do a background check before hiring a healthcare professional. This is especially important to them since you will be working hands on with patients, etc. If possible, yo should try and get the felony removed from your record in a process called "criminal record expungements". For this contact your Michigan Department of Corrections.
In terms of your CNA license and what is the next step for you, we recommend to contact the Michigan CNA board here - 517-335-1980.
Below you will find a link to the Michigan Public Health code where they have more information on felonies and convictions. Please let us know if you have any further questions.
My felony is 2 years old it is a drug charge will this hurt me for my certification
@Kaitlyn Ann Stone
Each STATE has different laws in regards to felonies. What STATE are you located in and we'll gather the CORRECT information for you?
Thanks for your question.
I have a pending felony charge in Iowa for something that happened in 2016. I was charged in 2018 and the court process is still going on. Could you provide me information?
Thanks for your inquiry and sorry to hear about your current situation. We decided to call the Iowa Health Care Association and they said it is a case by case bases. So, it depends on the felony pending and how long it has been. However, they WILL and MUST perform a background check and will make a decision at that point. As mentioned here -
"Unsurprisingly, most states will automatically disqualify a CNA who has been convicted of violent crimes such as homicide, murder, assault, battery, arson, kidnapping or rape. If the offense was committed more than a few years in past, some states will allow CNAs to apply for an exemption."
However, let's hope the pending felony is dropped and you will NOT have to worry about applying. In the end, they mentioned it does work on a case by case based so will depend on the felony if convicted and the time from when it happened. Hope this helps and please let us know if you have any further questions.
i also have the same question concerning the state of Michigan. I have a drug felony from 2012 in the state of Ohio. If i try to get my CNA license again is it possible that I will be able to work in that field.
Thanks for your question. The same regulations apply even in Michigan. They will determine how your felony plays a role in your ability to do your job. Every case is different. The more serious felonies like assault, abuse, sexual offences would MOST probably eliminate you from practicing because you are working with patients and employers would be concerned for patient safety. With that said,
Yours case is a drug felony and it has been several years. I would check with your STATE if you can have it removed from your record. I think the waiting period is around 7 years before it can be expunge (pardoned). Also, if you have a clean record from 2012 then that is also a good indication that you have managed to stay clean and on track. Again, best advice is to contact your STATE's board of Certified Nursing Assistant's because they can guide you step-by-step. Hope this helps 🙂
A little bit back, not sure how long, there was a misunderstanding between my girlfriends sister and I and a small spat. In the heat of the moment police were called and papers were filled out but she never meant to turn them in, her boyfriend did it. Now I have a pending misdemeanor b for battery but my girlfriends sister plans to talk to the prosecutor and assure them that she doesn’t want to go any further with it. Will this affect my chances? I’m in Indiana. I don’t know the law on it very well but there’s a local nursing home I’m looking to apply at and they help pay for your cna classes and being a cna is what I’ve wanted since I was little. The charge is only pending and my lawyer says she can probably get the thing dismissed or dropped if her sister tells them she doesn’t want it.
Thanks for your question and we are sorry to hear about your situation. Let's just hope that there is NO legal action taken. So, you are worried because you SPAT on someone and are afraid of a criminal record for that? We don't think the STATE will waste resources to go all the way to court for this. It may just simply get dropped. Have your friend speak to them too. With that said, here is what is written on the Indiana CNA website -
"The board has the discretion to either approve your application without any further action or request your appearance in front of the board to discuss the matter further. If a personal appearance is requested, the board may request supplemental information from you including an explanation of the criminal event(s) and disposition documentation. If you do not have the information in your possession, you can obtain the documents from the court or law enforcement agency of record that processed the matter. This is the same process that applicants underwent when criminal history was self-disclosure only."
In the end, it really does come down to the board and I don't think they will restrict you from practicing because of an argument with your friend. We recommend staying clear of trouble going forward and focusing on your career.
Hope this helps 🙂
- So I have a criminal background I have several property crime enhancements (that is felony shoplifting) I have a possession of meth from when I was in active addiction. I have been clean for awhile now but I would like to continue my degree but I need to know if I can with my background. Can anyone give me any insight on this. I live in south Carolina.
Hey, I have a concern regarding CNA that i would like to talk you about. I was wondering if you can reach me through my email so that i can tell you with a detailed explanation. Thank you