If I've been to prison can I still be a CNA, HHA or RA?

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asked in Certification by Margo
Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida

1 Answer

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answered by Emily Fechtler

The answer depends on the state where you apply for certification, the severity of the offense, and how long ago it happened.

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.

Applicants for initial licensure are required to submit fingerprints via Livescan for a Level II background screening and will have their prints retained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. All offenses are reviewed and both felonies and misdemeanors may be disqualifying. The disqualifying offenses are outlined in Chapter 435: Employment Screening and Section 408.809: Background Screening; Prohibited Offenses, Florida Statutes.

If the result of this background report shows arrests and offenses, or incomplete dispositions, you will receive a notice from the Florida Board of Nursing office requesting additional information. Depending on the types and seriousness of the offenses, your file may go before the Board of Nursing for further review. If the board denies your application, you will receive an official Intent to Deny Order and will have right of appeal.

To be eligible for employment in long-term care as a certified nursing assistant, you must hold current certification and have no disqualifying offenses as outlined in Chapter 435 and Section 408.809, Florida Statutes. Licensees with a disqualifying offense may apply for an exemption in order to work in certain facilities. Exemptions can only be issued to Florida licensees. This Exemption Table for Disqualifying Offenses should give you an idea about who can receive an exemption however you should check with the Board of Nursing at 850-245-4125 or by using their contact form for a definitive answer.