Can You Become A Nurse With A Felony


It is possible to become a nurse with a felony conviction.

However, some felonies/crimes prevent individuals from applying for special licenses or working in healthcare.

It also depends on the state, the felony committed, and the conviction’s nature.

Together, these factors determine whether an individual can become a nurse.

Nursing allows individuals of various backgrounds to improve their lives and help others, including those with felonies.

Many states also have provisions to help convicted felons find work and obtain specific licenses.

Some felonies will stop individuals from obtaining a nursing license or employment in healthcare.

Those with felony records must understand state laws and contact the local board of nursing.

It will help them determine whether their crime prevents them from obtaining a license or getting hired.

Nurse Journal provides an excellent overview of how criminal convictions affect getting a nursing license.

Conditions for College Acceptance

Many colleges/universities have admission requirements for students to gain acceptance into their schools.

It includes possession of a diploma/GED, background check, drug test, admission test score/ACT, and academic requirements/recommendations.

Each college/university varies in terms of its requirements.

As a result, it may be difficult for convicted felons to obtain acceptance into a particular college.

That said, some colleges, universities, and community schools are significantly easier to gain acceptance.

These colleges may also offer more flexibility in terms of who they accept.

Individuals with felony convictions who want to earn a nursing license must consult various institutions to determine their opportunities for college acceptance.

Contacting the local board of nursing in their state is also beneficial.

They ensure it won’t prevent them from becoming employed after obtaining their nursing degree and license.

Conditions for Employment

Numerous states allow individuals to become nurses with particular felonies.

However, it’s up to the employer to determine whether to hire a convicted felon.

Some employers decide whether to hire a felon based on the class of the felony and other factors.

For instance, those with Class E Felonies are often considered lower-level crimes.

As a result, employers are more willing to employ lower-level felonies.

Conditions for Employment Include:

  • How long its been since the felony was committed
  • The nature of the felony
  • Showing no further criminal activity
  • Providing a background verification
  • Having a case sealed or expunged

Each employer has rules for hiring healthcare professionals, so consulting numerous employers is best.

In addition, convicted felons should consult the local board of nursing in their state.

The board of nursing can provide valuable information for the best employment opportunity.

Finally, perform an online search to determine which employers are most likely to hire Individuals with less severe felonies.

Common Felony Offenses

There are numerous felony offenses an individual can commit.

However, the most common felonies include drug crimes, violent crimes, theft, and sex crimes.

  • Drug crimes
  • Violent crimes
  • Theft
  • Sex crimes

Most states define a felony by the length of the jail/prison sentence or the incarceration location.

A felony is significantly more severe than an infraction or misdemeanor.

Individuals convicted of felonies receive long jail/prison sentences, fines, or loss of freedom.

For instance, convicted felons generally receive more than a year in a state or federal person.

Felonies are broken down into several classes.

It includes Class A Felonies, Class B Felonies, Class C Felonies, Class D Felonies, and Class E Felonies.

Each class of felony is determined by prison length.

Class A Felonies are the most serious, with punishments of life in prison or the death penalty.

Class E Felonies are the least serious, with less than five years in prison but more than a year.

The legal punishment for a felony varies depending on various factors.

It includes the nature of the felony, the felony committed, the individual’s age, prior background, and the state of the legal case.


A misdemeanor is less severe than a felony but more severe than an infraction.

Some misdemeanors include drug possession, petty theft, or acts of violence.

However, the crime isn’t nearly as bad as a felon’s.

For instance, possessing certain drugs is not as bad as selling large quantities.

Public fighting is also not as bad as premeditated crimes with the intent of severe injury or death.

As a result, the misdemeanor charges are less severe than those convicted of felonies.

Misdemeanors include:

  • DUI
  • Third-degree assault
  • Public fighting
  • Battery
  • Vandalism
  • Possession of controlled substances
  • Petty theft (shoplifting)
  • Indecent exposure

On the other hand, a misdemeanor may result in shorter jail time, job loss, fines, and emotional distress.


An infraction or petty offense is a minor type of legal violation.

Unlike a misdemeanor, it usually doesn’t result in jail time or job loss.

However, in rare cases, an individual may receive up to five days in jail.

Infractions include:

  • Disturbing the peace
  • Littering
  • Traffic tickets
  • Trespassing

Those guilty of infractions do not go to prison or lose legal freedoms.

Nevertheless, individuals with infractions are usually required to pay legal fines.

Sealed and Expunged Convictions

Whether a criminal record can be concealed/expunged depends on the crime and the state.

Numerous states allow citizens to seal or expunge certain convictions.

However, they must follow specific laws and time frames to be eligible to seal/expunge a conviction.

Most individuals must wait a certain period before applying for concealment/expungement.

They must have limited many crimes, and the severity impacts the decision.

Each state determines whether a crime is eligible to be sealed or expunged.

However, there are records numerous states consider eligible for expungement.

Common Records Eligible for Expungement:

  • Arrest records
  • Dropped or dismissed charges
  • Infractions
  • Juvenile offenses
  • Low-level misdemeanors
  • Non-violent crimes

Regarding felonies, some crimes can be sealed or expunged depending on the state and the offense.

Some states will not expunge any convicted felony charges.

Other states will expunge most convictions after some time if the severity of the crime allows for expungement.

Expungement depends on the crime committed, prior offenses, state laws, and the time since the conviction.

Finally, some felonies are seldom eligible for expungement due to the nature/severity of the crime.

States Laws & The Board of Nursing

The opportunity to become a nurse after a felony conviction varies depending on the state.

Some states have strict policies making it difficult to obtain work in healthcare with a felony.

Others states offer more lenient policies and provide support to help individuals become nurses.

In addition, not all colleges accept applications with a criminal record.

It can make obtaining the required education to earn a nursing license more difficult.

Aspiring nurses must understand their state laws to determine whether obtaining a license is possible.

In addition, it’s ideal for determining whether employers are willing to hire nurses with felony convictions.

Contacting the local state board of nursing helps understand the requirements for obtaining a nursing license and getting hired.

How California Criminal Convictions Affect Nurse Discipline & Licenses

A California Board of Nursing (BRN) official may discipline a licensed nurse found guilty of a specific offense.

It includes convictions relating directly to nursing qualifications (examples include convictions for fraud, extortion, or a violent act).

Therefore, nurses must disclose all felony charges to the board of nursing and their employer.

Receiving employment without disclosing felony convictions may result in various disciplinary actions, including loss of license and work.

Moreover, a nursing license may be denied if convicted of a violation within seven years of applying for a medical license.

Getting a Nursing License in Texas with a Criminal Record

It is possible to get a nursing license in Texas.

However, applicants must complete several requirements.

It includes waiting a specific period after conviction before license approval and not committing additional crimes.

In addition, the Texas Board of Nursing determines whether a license is permutable based on the severity of the felony.

The nursing board believes the severity of the crime plays a role in the individual’s mental state.

Finally, state laws may determine whether an individual can apply for specific licenses.

As a result, it is necessary to contact the state regarding whether obtaining a nursing license is possible.

A nursing license applicant must pass a background check, drug test, and another state testing.

Consider reading, How to Get into Nursing School with a Criminal Record if this article was helpful.