Can You Get into Nursing School with a Misdemeanor? | The Big Question
Can You Get into Nursing School with a Misdemeanor? | The Big Question - Travel Nurse Source Blog

Can You Get into Nursing School with a Misdemeanor? | The Big Question

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For those who don’t have a clean record but have high hopes of attending nursing school, there is probably one big question looming over your head. Can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor? The answer is maybe. I know, that’s not exactly helpful or definitive, but the truth is that getting into nursing school with a misdemeanor is on a case-by-case basis. Schools and clinical programs are all different, with different admissions criteria. So, it depends on where you want to go, what state you’re in, and the type of misdemeanor you have. Let’s take a closer look at whether or not you can get into nursing school with a misdemeanor.

Getting into Nursing School with a Misdemeanor

can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor

So, can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor? Unfortunately for those in this unlucky situation, there’s no clear answer. A Google search for “can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor?” will show pages of theories, opinions, and tips from industry experts, but no definitive answer because each situation is unique. It may be smart for you to consult with an attorney that specializes in this, as they will be helpful in navigating the legal side of things. Each situation is different, but here are some important things to consider and understand when trying to get into nursing school with a misdemeanor.  

Can you get into nursing school?

What was the misdemeanor?

First, it’s important to consider what type of misdemeanor you have on your record. Misdemeanors such as drunk driving, simple assault or battery, and minor sex crimes are going to be more difficult to overlook as opposed to something like petty theft. Remember, the admissions boards at nursing schools have to look out for the safety of future patients you will interact with. Being fully honest about your charge up front will help you through the process of trying to become a nurse, despite your criminal offense.

How long ago did it happen?

Timing will also play a role in how likely you are to get into nursing school with a misdemeanor. For example, a crime that happened when you were still a minor will likely be easier to overlook than a crime that happened recently. If it was 15 years ago and you have no charges since then, it’s hopefully more forgivable. Some schools will conduct background checks when you apply. However, some state’s background checks only go back so many years. So, if the misdemeanor occurred a long time ago, it may not even appear.

Before you apply anywhere, check out your state’s rules with criminal convictions and nursing. Every state varies, so it’s important to understand exactly what rules your state has in place, and whether it will hinder your ability to get into nursing school with a misdemeanor.

Now that you’re aware of your state’s rules, check out the specific rules for each nursing school you’re interested in applying to. Look at the admissions requirements to see whether or not you will be accepted if you have a misdemeanor. If you’re worried that you won’t be accepted based on your background check, research schools that don’t require a background check upon admittance. You can also contact the school you want to attend and schedule a meeting with admissions to explain your misdemeanor. Explaining the situation first-hand will clear up any concerns the school may have, as well as allowing them to see your character.

can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor

Clinical rotations

Say you did the hard work and got into nursing school with a misdemeanor. The next problem you may run into is actually being able to complete the necessary clinical rotations required to become a nurse. Because you get to interact with patients in real life settings, healthcare institutions will conduct background checks on every student prior to starting clinicals. This becomes a gray area because some institutions may accept students with a misdemeanor, while others will not. So even if you made it this far in nursing school, you might not be able to complete your clinical rotations. Check where your schools do clinicals to make sure the healthcare institutions will accept you. It would be a shame to complete all of the schooling, only to be turned away at clinical rotations.

Consider alternate routes

Unfortunately, one wrong decision can lead to a long road of turmoil for you. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Just because nursing laws in your state forbid you from getting into nursing school with a misdemeanor doesn’t mean that other state laws are as strict. Alternately, working as a travel nurse could be another option. With that being said, it’s important to keep in mind that the nursing industry is extremely competitive. Depending on the nature of your crime, it could deter you from being considered for a position simply because there are so many other nurses applying for that spot who have no criminal background.

The answer to the question of “can you get into nursing school with a misdemeanor?” doesn’t have one simple answer. But now you have the information you need to understand the basics of getting into nursing school with a misdemeanor, and what to consider when applying.

Do you have any tips on getting into nursing school with a misdemeanor? We’d love to hear from you, let us know in the comments!

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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  1. How does being guilty of adultery affect my nursing career and can the nursing board suspend or revoke my license, if this considered a violation of ethics

  2. Do I need to report an Expunged DUI to a nursing school. I know the Board/state will okay me, as I applied for my LVN with an expunged DUI and got my license. But the problem is when applying for RN school’s some have denied me even with an expungement. Legally I know I dont have to disclose an expungement unless I apply for state licensure or political office. So does that mean I do not have to disclose it to the school itself?

  3. Hello Richard,
    Thanks for your comment. We suggest that you reach out to a local attorney, as disclosure of an expunged DUI can be complicated depending on where you apply.

  4. My friend got a drunk in public. He is an LPN in Virginia. Can he still practice as an LPN with a misdemeanor?

  5. Hello Michelle, employers have different requirements for criminal background checks. Depending on the nature of the misdemeanor and how recent it was, it may need to be discussed with future employers. He should be prepared to give a brief and honest explanation of what happened in order to ensure transparency.

  6. I have an arrest from 2014?the police arrested me because they were looking for a suspect who happened to be my boyfriend at the time who hit me in public? i tried to say that I didnt know where he was afraid that he would do something worse to me later on and they tried to arrest me and I resisted. Now i have been charged with resisting arrest and eluding as well as hindering investigation. Do you or anyone else with experience think I could somehow explain this to the BON in NJ? I disclosed my background to the school I attended? i went through clinicals? graduated and now awaiting to sit for nclex… Any feedback greatly appreciated!

  7. Hi Heather, it would be a good idea to contact the Board of Nursing in New Jersey and ask them about your options. You would also probably benefit from seeking legal counsel, given the unique nature of your situation.

  8. hello,
    I am looking to apply to nursing school and I have a unique situation. Almost 16 years ago I was cited for driving across another persons property and for vandalism because I left tire marks on their land. dumb I know. Anyway I have been a foster parent for 12 years and even adopted. I have had numerous live scans completed as well as employer background checks and nothing has ever come up. originally when I appeared in court the judge said it was a misdemeanor with informal probation and said that as long as I behave for at least a year he will drop it. at the time I was relieved to be past the ordeal but after all this time I do not know if it is on my record and that the judge was gonna drop only probation, or if the judge was gonna drop all of the charges. I cant seem to figure out how to obtain my records to check and the nursing school application is asking if I have ever been convicted of a crime. I have no idea how to answer that because I don’t know if I was convicted or not. any help is much appreciated, thanks.

  9. Thanks for your comment, Jessica! As far as your situation goes, we suggest that you check the court dockets for the state you were arrested in and see what shows up. However, most background checks only go back 10 years. You could also try to explain your situation to the nursing school directly and see what they say, or seek legal counsel.

  10. I have a petty larceny charge from 2006. It is considered a class 1 misdemeanor. Will this prevent me from going to clinicals and becoming a nurse.

  11. I have a misd possesion of marijuna multiple dui and YES Im a nurse and a DAMN GOOD ONE TOO. Dont let anything stop you from your calling.

  12. I have a warrant out for my arrest for failure to pay a speeding ticket (I simply don’t have the money) will that hinder me from taking the LPN course and applying for my future license?

  13. A relative of mine would like to apply to an LPN program. The relative was convicted of leaving the scence with personal injury which is a class 4 felony. This occured approximately 10 years ago. Will this prevent the relative from being accepted?


  14. I would look into the laws in your state regarding what charges prevent you from getting your nursing license. As far as school/clinicals, you’d have to check with the specific organizations or hospitals you’re working with.

  15. That’s awesome! What tips do you have for others who have similar charges to overcome? As you can see, we have lots of questions surrounding this. The best advice always comes from those with experience 🙂

  16. That definitely depends on your state and the rules there. Some states don’t allow you to continue with your nursing license until your record is cleared. We would recommend setting up a payment plan on that speeding ticket so it doesn’t follow you forever!

  17. Hi Sally! These questions are tough, because it varies by state. However, most background checks go back 10 years. We recommend that your relative do some research on nursing regulations in his or her state, as well as interview potential nursing programs to find one that is more lenient about those types of things. Good luck!

  18. I’m HIV POS, on meds and very healthy. Would I be able to attend nursing school? I’ve been taking the prerequisite classes and hoping to apply this coming year.

  19. Hi,
    I reside in the state of Louisana. Can an arrest from 16 years ago be a reason for denial into nursing school and sit for state boards? I was 23 at the time of the incident. I was involved in a relationship that resulted in fighting with the person on the property. As a result, I was arrested with a charge of a misdemeanor. I was later informed that charges have been dropped against me due to the incident. I have recently applied for nursing school in my current state. I haven’t been in any trouble since the event happen. I have been working in the healthcare field for a long time. I have obtained my certification as a registered medical assistant and completed my associate degree in science. I have been academically accepted into a school which has a nursing program which is phase 1. Phase 2 is completing the drug screen and background check. I do not know if the event from 16 years ago will be a reason for me to not be cleared for clinical with the school. Can you please give me insight if any at all on how far back the background check goes? I have also looked on the Louisiana State Board website for additional information with proper protocol with disclosing information to be eligible for the examination. I’m scared due to a lot of negative information giving to me saying that it will not be possible to be a Registered Nurse. I’m trying to stay positive and not think the worst. I just don’t want for all of my hard work to return back to school on a higher level to be a complete waste of time.

  20. I believe that most background checks only go back 10 years. I would recommend applying and see what happens! Before you apply, you could always call and talk to someone on the state board or at the school before you proceed with paperwork, and see what they think.

  21. I was convicted in January of 2013 with a misdemeanor of possession (marijuana) in the state of Nevada. In Nevada you have to wait at least 7 years from the date of conviction to work as a nurse which I have accomplished. Also, in Nevada you can have your record sealed by an order of the court, which I had done in 2016. I would like to attend an LPN program and eventually get my R.N. I contacted the Nevada state board of nursing to inquire what would happen if I completed a program and then applied for my license and they didn’t give me any information. Basically, they played dumb. What should be my next steps in finding out if I could receive my license once I graduate from a nursing program?

  22. Answers are really challenging when it comes to stuff like this. I would say keep asking the nursing board, ask people in the school, ask anyone you can think of until you can get a more consistent answer. Document all of it so that when you do apply you can show you’ve taken all of the steps expected of you. I wish we had a better answer! Good luck!

  23. My friend was charged with a Class A misdemeanor of theft of property in Alabama, She was accepted into a nursing program prior to her school completing a background. Will this misdemeanor charge prevent her from going to nursing school?

  24. I had a misdemeanor (2) from a fight with my ex husband from 10.5 years ago. I did jail time and even had 59 sessions of therapy instead of the anger management classes and even ended up getting my 2 misdemeanors expunged 2 years ago. But i see Texas nursing board still wants me to disclose expungments and what conviction(s) i had. I would rather be honest then lie about my convictions even though it is a violent crime (fight with ex husband and threatened him) but it was over 10 years ago. Do you think i have a chance of getting into the school? i already passed phase 1 and im doing phase 2 now including background check/finger prints and my drug screening. Im nervous and i am pessimistic about the situation and i even hired a lawyer to help me get the info i need to do a Declaratory order if i need to. Do you think i have a chance to get into the school? i havent gotten in trouble for anything else at all so besides that my record is clean.

  25. That is hard to say. I think because the crime was so long ago and you’ve taken steps to not repeat that situation, you have a chance! Work with your lawyer, be honest, and follow all of the necessary steps. Good luck to you!

  26. It could. That will be up to the school and regulations on nurses in that state.

  27. I am finished! I am in Nursing School first semester and just recently got convicted for pandering which is a misdemeanor , I am
    very disappointed in myself, I am sincerly remorseful and don’t know what to do, my dream is to be a nurse. I am scared I might not be able to take my boards if I do make it through Nursing school.

  28. I am finished! I am in Nursing School first semester and just recently got convicted for pandering which is a misdemeanor , I have been down for days, thinking of how I shattered my dreams,
    very disappointed in myself, I am sincerly remorseful and don’t know what to do, my dream is to be a nurse. I am scared I might not be able to take my boards if I do make it through Nursing school.

  29. Can a misdemeanor of a hit and run be affected to getting into the nursing program? That happend 9 years ago.

  30. Most likely not, but you could double-check with the nursing school as well as the board of nursing in your state.

  31. I am 42 yrs and have several misdemeanors a dui from from 2013,public int.2016 , simple assault and minor possession of marijuana 2018. I have already spoken with a lawyer and cannot get any of my charges expunged. I know I can get into school to be a lpn but will anyone hire me? I’m so desperate! I’m trying to change my life and no one will give me a chance I can’t even get a job at a gass station. Is there any hope I could pass a background for clinical and actually get a job somewhere

  32. Is it still possible to get into nursing school with an incident of academic misconduct?

  33. i was recently convicted of a misdemeanor 1 for attempted theft. would i be able to get into nursing schools and complete clinicals? i have the option to have the charged expunged after a year. i was told i can’t work anywhere that accepts medicare until the charge is gone. how does this affect clinicals?

  34. I have a misdemeanor of using a fake ID at 20 to get into a club with friends. Will this deter me from Nursing Schools in Texas?

  35. I have a misdemeanor in 2020 for failed to yeild emergengy mv & reckless driving. I have another misdemeanor in 2022 for driving while license revoked/suspended. Will that hinder me from getting into the nursing program in VA? I am currently attending Germanna Community College. I have contacted the Dean of Nursing and she keeps asking me how long ago was the misdemeanor, and I told her but she does take quite a while to email me back

  36. Also the reason why my license was suspended at the time was because of car insurance purposes.

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