Last Updated: April 19, 2023. Report error / Make suggestion

Similar to working in education, working as a healthcare professional can be very rewarding and offers a chance to have a real and lasting impact on people’s lives.  And, just like working in education, because you are working with and around vulnerable people, there are more difficult background check requirements.  There are certain convictions that are automatic disqualifiers and others where you may have to provide some type of documentation or proof that shows you can safely and professionally perform the job.

Initial Application Requirements

Who/What Agency governs or oversees the profession?

  • The Washington State Department of Health and in turn, the Secretary of Health

What are the background check requirements?

  • Applicants for a license must submit to a background check through the Washington State Patrol.  In some instances, you may also be required to submit fingerprints for examination by the State Patrol and the FBI.  These instances might include if you have recently lived out of state or where you have a criminal record in Washington.
  • The Department will notify you if your background check reveals a criminal record.
    • Only when the background check reveals a criminal record will you receive a notice. Upon receiving such a notice, the DOH must provide you with a copy of the record at your request.

Are there any convictions that will automatically disqualify me?

  • Yes. A medical professional license application may be denied (or granted with conditions) if you have been convicted or have pending charges for a crime involving moral turpitude or a crime identified in RCW 43.43.830 involving children or vulnerable adults.
    • The term “conviction” includes pleas of guilty or no contest, and cases with a deferred or suspended prosecution/sentence
  • The DOH will also consider the results of any background check conducted that reveals a conviction for any criminal offense that constitutes unprofessional conduct as defined by RCW 18.130.180 or a series of arrests that demonstrate a pattern of behavior that, may pose a risk to the safety of patients.

Do Certificates of Restoration of Opportunity (CROPs) apply to the position?

  • Yes, but only in certain instances.  CROPs only apply to the positions of home care aides and long-term care workers.  Even with a CROP, the DOH may still deny a license on the sole basis of your criminal record, as long as they make an individual inquiry about 1.) nature and seriousness of the offense 2.) time since incarceration 3.) changed circumstances  and 4.) nature of employment/license sought.
  • CROPs do not apply to nursing home administrators, nurses, physicians and physician assistants, and vulnerable adult care providers.