VCU policy does not permit students to undergo criminal background checks, drug screenings, credit checks or the like as a condition of acceptance or enrollment. However, many of the clinical affiliates with which the University contracts to provide clinical experiences do require criminal background checks, health screenings and drug screens as a condition of allowing students to participate in the clinical experience. Clinical experiences of Level I and Level II fieldwork are an integral part of the EL-OTD academic program. Some affiliates may also require credit checks, Department of Motor Vehicles records check, review of professional disciplinary records, registry searches of certain types of sex offenders and/or verification of legal residency. Students need to be aware that they are responsible for the expense of these required checks, which can cost students around $100, and may need to be done up to four or five times over the course of the program.

Students assigned to a clinical rotation or internship at a clinical facility are personally responsible for completing the required checks and screenings and assuring that results are obtained by the facility that asks for them. Students also will be required to bear the costs of such tests. It will be the decision of the clinical affiliate whether the student will be allowed to participate in the clinical activities. Virginia Commonwealth University does not assume any responsibility for obtaining or evaluating the results of a criminal background check, drug screen or other check, maintaining the records of results, or delivering them to clinical sites. Students may not request to be assigned only to those sites that do not require such checks. Students who refuse to undergo a criminal background check or drug screen or other required check may not be able to be placed at another facility and consequently may not be able to complete program requirements and graduate. The University will make reasonable efforts to place all enrolled students in clinical training. It will be the decision of the clinical Fieldwork setting (school, community agency or healthcare or medical facility) whether the student will be allowed to participate in fieldwork should there be positive criminal or sex offender results. Factors involved in the final decision may include, but are not limited to:

 

  • the nature, circumstances, and frequency of any reported offense(s)
  • The length of time since the offense
  • Available information that addresses efforts at rehabilitation and
  • The accuracy and disclosure of the information provided by the student

Virginia Commonwealth University does not assume any responsibility for obtaining or evaluating the results of requested items, maintaining records of results, or delivering these results to fieldwork sites. 

The rationale for performing criminal background checks:

  • To foster patient safety and well-being
  • To bolster the continuing trust of the public in the occupational therapy profession
  • To minimize the liability of affiliated clinical/fieldwork facilities

As many facilities require that these checks be done within a limited time prior to starting the association with the student, students may be required to undergo these expenses multiple times over the course of the three year curriculum.

Students are also reminded that the occupational therapy licensing board National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists (NBCOT) may deny the individual the opportunity to sit for an examination if an applicant has a criminal history or is convicted or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or other serious crime. Successful completion of the EL-OTD at VCU does not guarantee licensure, the opportunity to sit for a licensure examination, certification or employment in the relevant heath care occupation.