Can a felon be a CNA?

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asked in Work by Lynn
I would like to know if your CNA certification is still valid if you already have a CNA license but are convicted of a felony.

1 Answer

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answered by Abby Langlois

It depends on the type of felony, when it occurred and the state where you are or plan on being certified. State laws require nursing homes, hospice programs and assisted living facilities to obtain a criminal background check of new hires. Some criminal convictions, and any substantiated complaint of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property, prohibit employment as a CNA. Other criminal convictions, such as for example traffic violations may not disqualify you from employment in some states, however, each employer will have their own policies for approving or denying an application for employment. I include three examples below because you don’t mention a particular state.

In Maine, the following criminal convictions are employment restrictions:

  1. Convictions for crimes involving abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property that occurred in a health care setting, including Class D and Class E crimes when the victim was a patient, client, or resident of a health care facility.

  2. Convictions, within the last 10 years, for crimes for which incarceration of three years or more may be imposed under the laws of the state in which the conviction occurred.

  3. Convictions, within the last 10 years, of the following named crimes: sex assaults, or crimes involving abuse, neglect or exploitation in a setting other than a health care setting for which incarceration of less than three years may be imposed under the laws of the state in which the conviction occurred.

In Arizona, applicants for certification must notify the board of criminal charges within 10 days of being charged and a CNA applicant is not eligible for certification if the applicant has any felony convictions and has not received an absolute discharge from the sentences for all felony convictions. The absolute discharge from the sentence for all felony convictions must be received five or more years before submitting the application for certification. If you cannot prove that the absolute discharge date is five or more years, the board will notify you that you do not meet the requirements for certification.

In Florida, each application is reviewed on its own merits and any applicant who has ever been found guilty of, or pled guilty or no contest to any charge other than a minor traffic offense must list each offense on the application. Reckless driving, driving while having your license suspended or revoked, driving under the influence or driving while impaired are not considered minor traffic offenses by the board. The Florida Board of Nursing has created guidelines for specific offenses to be cleared in the board office, however, the staff cannot make determinations in advance as laws and rules do change over time. Some convictions or pleas exclude applicants or candidates from licensure, examination, certification, or registration, unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or plea ended many years ago depending on the severity of the crime.