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Criminal History Record Information/Criminal Background Checks

More and more jurisdictions are adding a review of an individual’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history record information (CHRI) prior to issuing an initial license as a PT or PTA as one means to ensure that physical therapists (PT) and physical therapist assistants (PTA) are safe, competent practitioners. The board should have processes to consider the CHRI that are consistent, fair, and reproducible. These processes however do not guarantee the same final determination for applicants with similar offenses. Due to variability in situations, board members should discuss each case and make a clear, articulate explanation of the nexus to practice, or lack thereof, to the offense. For example, a board may find a difference in the nexus to practice and choose to discipline an individual with a driving while intoxicated charge differently if the individual was driving to work on Tuesday morning versus driving home from dinner on Saturday night. Evaluating the nexus to practice of the offense also allows the board to make recommendations regarding licensure specific to the actual offense. The board may issue the license encumbered with restrictions, such as a required chaperone or work setting limitations aligning with offense. The board must acknowledge their own bias in this process and guard against the influence of that bias.

Below are resources that the Physical Therapy Regulatory Board may find helpful when implementing and using criminal history record information (CHRI), commonly referred to as criminal background check, as part of the application for licensure.