Can you be a CNA with a felony on your record? There are federal and state laws in place that prohibit people who have these kinds of offenses from working in this capacity as a certified nursing assistant, and Michigan put legislation in place back in 2010 that amended its statutes about protecting patients in health care settings. This law means that employees with access to patients or patient belongings must pass criminal background checks; this applies to CNAs. While some convictions will keep them from working as CNAs, some are temporary.
CNA Disqualifying Offenses
Michigan Legislature shares a public health code excerpt from Section 333.20173.a, a state law that applies to medical facilities and CNA background check requirements. This states that covered facilities cannot employ, grant clinical privileges or independently contract with individuals to provide direct services to patients or residents when those individuals have been convicted of certain crimes listed under 42 USC 1320a-7(a). These crimes include embezzlement, billing fraud, patient neglect or abuse and manufacturing or distributing illegal substances. Attempting to obstruct an investigation into program misconduct is also a qualifying offense.
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Felony convictions for theft also count and will stop an employer from hiring or keeping a convicted CNA on staff. U.S. Code 42 also prohibits facilities and agencies from hiring aides with convictions for conspiring to and attempting to commit felonies. A CNA who is prosecuted for a felony must notify their employer immediately. Other examples of felonies include murder, aggravated assault, identity theft, arson, burglary, rape or sexual assault and child pornography.
Disqualifying Convictions for CNAs
A felony is a crime punishable by at least one year of imprisonment or death. Misdemeanors include crimes like negligent homicide, home invasions, abuse or neglect, larceny and criminal sexual conduct; these can also qualify as felonies when the penalties are more serious. Misdemeanors that are disqualifying convictions for CNAs include using dangerous weapons, like firearms, to injure others or threaten violence; an assault conviction; second- or third-degree retail fraud; and the manufacture, possession or distribution of a controlled substance.
Anyone convicted under U.S. Code 42 will not be able to get hired as a CNA for a long time if at all. It may be possible to get hired after 15 years following a felony conviction and 10 years after a severe misdemeanor, like criminal sexual conduct. You would have to wait five years for a home invasion, negligent homicide, larceny, embezzlement and other less serious misdemeanor convictions. Also, know that licensing agencies and other organizations will perform background checks on potential CNAs, and if a conviction shows up, the agencies will likely bar you from applying.
How to Become a CNA in Michigan
You do not need a college degree to become a CNA, but training is required to earn the necessary postsecondary nondegree diploma or certificate. Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs provides details and resources about this process. In Michigan, students must complete state-approved CNA programs; these programs are offered by medical facilities, nursing homes, tech schools and community colleges. The courses take from four to 12 weeks with varying costs. Choose a board-approved program with at least 75 training hours (59 in the classroom, 16 of manual skills instruction), which can be a combination of online and in-person training. After that, the applicant must pass an exam to receive the certification.
These programs can cost hundreds of dollars and more, which can be a barrier for students. The government offers grants to aspiring CNAs that can help pay for the training, and it suggests going to the Job Corp (a federally funded agency) website to look for CNA grant opportunities. It may be possible to get a federal Pell Grant for CNA training, but keep in mind that not all learning institutions participate in either of these programs.