Criminal Background Checks


A majority of clinical sites now require students to complete a criminal background check prior to participating in clinical education placements. Furthermore, state laws may restrict or prohibit those with criminal backgrounds from obtaining a professional license to practice following graduation. For example, WV law prohibits physical therapist licensure for anyone with an un-reversed felony conviction within ten years preceding the application, and may also deny a license to applicants with certain misdemeanor convictions.WV Code §30-20 (Laws vary by state; matriculants are encouraged to consult legal counsel for advice.)

Therefore, students with criminal backgrounds may not be able to meet the academic standards of the DPT program or the criteria for professional licensure.


  1. All matriculating students will be required to obtain a Criminal Background Check (CBC) prior to the start of the professional DPT curriculum.

  2. Certified Background will perform CBCs as a designated agent. We may also consider CBC results from other standard approved companies.

  3. The School of Medicine has designated the depth of the background search to include felonies and misdemeanors at Federal, state, and local levels at the 7 previous years of residence.

  4. Each student will contact Certified Background via a secure internet site and place an order for his/her CBC. The student provides his/her name, current and previous addresses, and other identifying information and pays by credit card.

    To obtain your initial CBC:

    1. Log on to the website

    2. Click on “Students” and enter package code “WB38 – Background Check Package”

    3. Enter the requested demographic information

    4. Enter requested payment information. More detailed instructions are available here.

  5. The Administrative Associate for Clinical and Fieldwork Education will have access to Certified Background inquiry results via a secure website via a unique username and password. Paper copies of CBC results for each class are kept in a secure location under lock and key until the student graduates. Upon graduation, paper copies will be returned to the student or destroyed.

  6. The Administrative Associate will forward any positive CBC results to the Associate Dean for Professional Programs (AD)

  7. In the case of positive CBC findings:

    1. The AD will review the student’s PTCAS application to determine whether the student reported the conviction on his/her application.

    2. The AD will meet with the student to discuss the results and the student’s perspective on the circumstances. The conversation will be documented in writing on the CBC form.

    3. If the student feels that a positive CBC finding is in error, the student will be directed to speak with Certified Background to determine if further investigation is needed. Errors may occur in instances of:

      1. CBC was completed on a different person with the same name

      2. CBC was completed on a similarly named person

      3. CBC returned information that was supposed to be sealed or expunged

        If the information is in error, the CBC is repeated and Certified Background will update the CBC report online. If the positive result is truly an error, no further action is taken.

    4. The AD will refer the case to the Division of Physical Therapy Committee on Academic & Professional Standards for consideration and recommendations as stated in the Policy on Academic & Professional Standards.

  8. Clinical sites may require repeated or additional background checks prior to the start of a rotation. It is the students' responsibility to identify the need for these subsequent background checks for PT 760 & 780.

    1. Ideally, these requirements should be listed explicitly on the Clinical Site Information Form (CSIF). Sites may also notify the Division by letter or by noting the requirements on pre-rotation confirmation forms as appropriate.

    2. The ACCEs will place copies of the CSIF and other relevant documentation in the student access files.

    3. Students are responsible for obtaining this information prior to beginning his or her clinical rotation and completing all necessary requirements.

  9. Prior to each clinical education rotation, the ACCE will provide the following attestation in his/her communications with each clinical site:

    The Division of Physical Therapy obtains criminal background checks on all students upon admission to the program. Unless otherwise noted, the background check for the student assigned to your facility was negative.

    If the clinical site requires more specific documentation, the student will be directed to provide a print-out of his/her results from the Certified Background website.