How To Get Into Nursing School With A Criminal Record

Determining how to get into nursing school with a criminal record is challenging for many individuals.

However, it is possible to earn a degree and license with a criminal record by following the proper steps.

It requires abiding by state laws, picking locations with ideal acceptance odds, and earning approval from the nursing board.

Each state determines what opportunities are available to those with criminal records.

So, consider several states to ensure the best chances of getting into nursing school if the laws of your state don’t allow it.

Without further adieu, here are several tips on how to get into nursing school with a criminal record.

1. Wait 7 Years Before Applying to Nursing School

Most colleges/universities perform background checks on students to determine eligibility for entering college.

However, these institutions usually only look at the prior seven years when conducting background checks.

Old crimes and misdemeanors committed over seven years ago may not show when being screened.

Nevertheless, the type of offense, severity, and nature of the crime plays a role in whether an institution accepts a college student.

It’s also valuable to consult the local state board of nursing to ensure you won’t have licensing issues after completing the nursing program.

2. Attempt to Get Your Record Expunged

Getting a record expunged is another helpful strategy for people with a criminal background.

Some states allow citizens to have their records deleted after a specific period.

However, the likelihood of a record expungement depends on state laws and the severity of the crime.

Those who want their criminal record expunged must file a petition with the state to apply to remove the offense.

Each state has specific laws, rules, and guidelines for deleting records.

Some states will expunge most non-serious criminal records.

Other states won’t expunge criminal records at all.

As a result, you must contact the state you live in to determine its rules and regulations.

You can also look for an expungement eligibility test to see if you’re reliable to have your record removed.

Finally, having a record expunged means you’re less likely to have past criminal activity appear on a background check.

It makes applying for college/university programs and jobs much more manageable and stress-free.

3. Demonstrate Good Behavior

Nurses spend their carers caring for other people and managing sensitive situations professionally.

Pursuing volunteer programs in your state allows you to build a positive reputation.

You’ll have better opportunities to land a job or apply for college acceptance because of your volunteer experience.

Volunteering also helps you demonstrate good behavior to colleges/universities and the state board of nursing.

The nursing board looks at various aspects when applying to the nursing program, including decisions made after criminal behavior.

As a result, volunteering to support others and important causes shows you care and have learned from your mistakes.

It allows you to display goodwill and optimistic behavior among the less fortunate.

Places to Volunteer

  • American Red Cross
  • Animal shelters
  • Adaptation centers
  • Food banks
  • Homeless shelters
  • Hospitals
  • Disaster relief organizations
  • Retirement homes
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Human & civil rights organizations

4. Obtain Recommendation Letters

Recommendation letters show you’ve demonstrated good behavior and characteristics valuable to the nursing profession.

It also indicates that qualified professionals vouch for you and put their reputation on your recommendation letter.

You can receive recommendation letters from prior employers, volunteer programs, and academic teachers.

The stronger their reputation and status, the better it is for you to obtain their recommendation.

Those with status usually manage people, institutions, or businesses.

As a result, they’re considered good decision-makers and identifiers of positive traits.

You’ll want to include recommendation letters for college/university applications or when contacting the nursing board.

It improves your odds of gaining acceptance and displaying positive traits/attributes to potential institutions.

5. Contact The State Board of Nursing

Contacting the board of nursing helps you determine if a school will likely reject your nursing school application.

Even if you gain acceptance into a college/university and pass the needed prerequisites, the nursing board can still deny you.

It can be frustrating to complete nursing prerequisites and not gain acceptance because of a criminal record.

As a result, consulting the nursing board will help ensure you’ll have a smoother experience obtaining your license.

Based on the board’s rules and regulations, some nursing boards offer more flexibility, particularly for low-level crimes.

The time since the crime may also factor into whether they’ll accept your application.

Don’t give up if one nursing board denies you.

Keep trying because each state board is different, and some surrounding states provide better opportunities for nursing.

6. Write A Letter to The Board of Nursing

Write a letter to the state board if you’ve done the previous steps and still have difficulty getting into the nursing program.

Writing a letter gives you a second chance by allowing you to state your case and discuss your desire to become a nurse.

It also allows you to thoroughly explain your past criminal record, so they better understand your actions and mistakes.

This strategy allows you to petition the state board of nursing and change their minds.

We are all human, and we all make mistakes.

As a result, appealing to the minds and hearts of the decision-makers can result in a higher chance of gaining acceptance.

7. Apply in a Different State

If your state or surrounding states won’t accept you into the nursing program, apply in a further away state.

You may need to relocate to enter the program due to the distance.

However, it allows you to earn your degree and practice as a registered nurse.

Before applying to a different state, you must contact that state’s board of nursing.

You don’t want to move or start paying college tuition to find out that the state won’t accept you due to a criminal record.

Finally, use google to determine which states have the most flexible laws for those with a criminal background.

You’ll save time and frustration by applying to states unlikely to accept your application.

Consider reading, Can You Become a Nurse With a Felony if this article was helpful.