Many people in Pennsylvania have trained for a career, or have thought about pursuing a new profession, only to be stopped by unfair rules that prevent people from getting licensed because of an unrelated criminal record.
Starting in 2021, if you are applying for most types of job licenses or certifications in Pennsylvania and you have a criminal record, in most cases you can only be rejected for convictions that are directly related to the job you are applying for or if your criminal history puts your co-workers and customers at risk. (There are exceptions for certain sex crimes, substantial drug dealing, and serious crimes of violence.)
Even if the licensing board wants to reject you for a license or certification because of your criminal record, you will have an opportunity to present evidence to the licensing board that you are fit for the job you are applying for.
Also: Even if your record would still cause a problem getting a regular license, you may be able to work under supervision for a year or two with a “restricted license” if you were trained by a prison or the government. After that, you may be able to get a full license.
Please note: the new rules don’t apply to teachers, security guards, or certified nursing assistants; some other jobs are also not included.
Some of the careers that are impacted by this new rule are:
- Cosmetology, nail technicians, natural hair braiders and barbering
- Nursing (RNs, LPNs, CRNPs, and nurse-midwives), dentistry, and medicine
- Physical, occupational, and massage therapists
- Social workers
- Real Estate and accountants
If you have been denied a license or certification based on your record, but you know that your record doesn’t make you a risk to your employer or your clients or customers, you can call CLS at 215-981-3700 if you live in Philadelphia. We may be able to help you with an appeal. If you are in Pennsylvania but outside of Philadelphia, click here to find legal aid in your area. They may be able to help you with criminal records issues.