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Q: Becoming a doctor with a record ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Becoming a doctor with a record
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: confusedocj-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 09 Sep 2006 01:00 PDT
Expires: 09 Oct 2006 01:00 PDT
Question ID: 763592
Hello I was recently convicted in New Jersey for a 3rd degree
possession of CDS and I am still waiting to start probation.  I was
also charged with 3rd degree attempt to distribute CDS and 3rd degree
forgery (forging prescriptions to get meds) which were dropped.  I am
20 years old and I am currently going to college and majoring in
biology/chemistry.  I wanted to go into medical or dental or pharmacy
graduate school to become a licensed physician or dentist or
pharmacist, which may seem hard to believe but it has been my dream to
be in the medical field.  My plan was to get my bachelor's degree and
enroll into graduate school.  I need to know if this charge will
prevent me from taking the MCAT and DAT and PCAT or any type of
entrance exam.  Also will this prevent me from becoming licensed in
any of these fields?  If I cannot with the record, I plan on expunging
the charge when I am around 31 -33 because that is about when I am
legally allowed to do it.  I think I ahve to wait 10 years after I
finish probation before I can expunge it but it could be 5.  If I wait
long enough between undergradute and gradute school so that I expunge
my record before I take the final exam and become licenced in any
field, would this plan work? Would the school have to know about the
charge before I applied?  Also because of the nature of the charge
will the expungement even help?  Are there any other high paying jobs
in these fields I should probably try to get a degree in since the
above mentioned jobs might be impossible to obtain?  Should I try to
get a different degree since the charge was drug-related?  If so, do
you have any suggestions?
Subject: Re: Becoming a doctor with a record
Answered By: politicalguru-ga on 14 Sep 2006 02:12 PDT
Dear Confusedocj. 

You have several different questions here: 

(1)	Can you take the MCAT, DAT or PCAT with a criminal conviction? 
(2)	Will it prevent you from being admitted to medical school?
(3)	Will it prevent you from being later licensed? 
(4)	Are there any other high paying jobs in these fields you should
probably try to get a degree in since the above mentioned jobs might
be impossible to obtain? Should you try to get a different degree
since the charge was drug-related? If so, do I have any suggestions?


(1)	Can you take the MCAT, DAT or PCAT with a criminal conviction? 

The answer to this question is positive. You may sit those exams even
if you?ve got a conviction of any type.

(2)	Will it prevent you from being admitted to medical school?

Yes and no. Most medical schools state in their policy that people
who?ve been convicted can apply. The candidate will be first
considered according to his or her merits (MCAT scores, etc.), they
will be directed to a special board that would decide if the person is
to be admitted despite the conviction. Please note that medical
schools will ask on their forms if you?ve ever been convicted (and in
drug-related offences, this is also regarding misdemeanor or traffic
charges), to which the answer will be always ?yes?.

See, for example: 
?Do any of the following preclude me from applying to medical school
?a criminal conviction of any kind? a student record of academic or
disciplinary misconduct?
The answer in general here is ?no?.  It is important to note though
that in some states a criminal record might eventually lead to denial
of your application for a license to practice medicine. This obviously
depends on the nature (severity) of the criminal offense. If you have
a history of arrest or of academic or campus misconduct, you MUST
explain the circumstances of the situation and their consequences in
both your AMCAS and secondary applications. The Committee on
Admissions will very carefully consider this information in
conjunction with all of the other materials submitted with your
application. This will allow them to make an informed decision
regarding your suitability as a medical student and, eventually, as a
practicing physician.?
(SOURCE: University of Maryland School of Medicine, ?Do any of the
following preclude me from applying to medical school ?a criminal
conviction of any kind? a student record of academic or disciplinary
misconduct?? <>)

?Will problems in my past  prevent me from getting into medical school
(eg, academic problems, bankruptcy, drug use, criminal record)?
Talk to your premed advisor about the need to discuss this problem on
your medical school application. If you decide it needs to be
addressed, then here's what I suggest. You should take 2 or 3
sentences to briefly state that you had this problem, that this was in
your past, and list the specific steps you have taken to make amends.
This should be done without making excuses or blaming others. For
example: "I had a substance abuse problem for about 3 years,
successfully completed rehab in 1991, and have been drug-free since
then. This experience inspired me to help others with similar
problems, and I have been working as a counselor at such-and-such drug
rehab center for the last 8 years."?
(SOURCE: Mike Grasso, Nontraditional Medical Student, , <>().).

?Can I apply to the Brody School of Medicine if I have a criminal record?
A. All schools in the University of North Carolina system (including
the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University) are required
to inquire if potential students have any past or pending criminal
offenses. Therefore, we ask each applicant completing our
Supplementary Application to answer the following questions:
Your ?yes? answer to one or more of these questions will not
necessarily preclude your being admitted. However, your failure to
provide complete, accurate, and truthful information on this
application will be grounds to deny or withdraw your admission, or to
dismiss you after enrollment. For the purpose of the following six
questions, ?crime? or ?criminal charge? refers to any crime other than
a traffic-related misdemeanor or an infraction. You must, however,
include alcohol or drug offenses whether or not they are traffic
A. Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
B. Have you ever entered a plea of guilty, a plea of no contest, a
plea of nolo contendere, or an Alford plea, or have you received a
deferred prosecution or prayer for judgment continued, to a criminal
C. Have you otherwise accepted responsibility for the commission of a crime?
D. Do you have any criminal charges pending against you?
E. Have you ever been expelled, dismissed, suspended, placed on
probation, or otherwise subject to any disciplinary sanction by any
school, college, or university?
F. If you have ever served in the military, did you receive any type
of discharge other than an honorable discharge?
The answers to these questions are not considered by members of the
Admissions Committee as they conduct their deliberations. Any
applicants judged by the Committee to be deserving of an offer who do
have a previous criminal record are referred to a Subcommittee, which
reviews the prior offenses on a case-by-case basis. An applicant?s
eligibility for admission as determined by this Subcommittee will be
based upon a careful weighing of the totality of circumstances
surrounding the offense. In its deliberations, the Subcommittee
strives to be consistent with state medical licensure policies, and to
recognize the US justice system principle that a person's debt to
society is fulfilled once punishment is administered.?
(SOURCE: Brody School of Medicine Admission ? FAQ, <>).

?Question 18 - Criminal Record
Applicants/reapplicants must indicate whether, other than minor
traffic violations, they have been convicted of or subject to deferred
adjudication for a felony or misdemeanor, including alcohol or
drug-related offenses. If you answer YES, you must state details of
any conviction or action on a separate page that you mail directly to
The College of Pharmacy Office of Admissions along with the
Certification Page.
Question relating to criminal history are asked on the Texas State
Board of Pharmacy intership application. Any past convictions
appearing on a criminal history background check may prohibit a
student from gaining internship status with the Board of Pharmacy.
Students who cannot gain internship status cannot progress through the
UT Pharmacy curriculum, and therefore may not graduate with a degree
in Pharmacy. If you answered YES, you are highly encouraged to contact
the Texas State Board of Pharmacy adjudication division and inquire as
to whether this conviction would prohibit you from becoming an intern,
or may prevent subsequent pharmacy licensure in Texas. Their telephone
number is 512-305-8000. The Board of Pharmacy may grant limited
internship status under certain conditions to those with prior
convictions. However, placement in intership pharmacy practice sites,
as a part of the curricular requirement for a degree in pharmacy from
The University of Texas, may be extremely limited. ?
(SOURCE: The University of Texas, Austion, ?General Instructions for
the Web Application/reapplication
Fall 2006 Application?, <>).

?Criminal Background Checks
We conduct criminal background checks for felonies before you begin
PharmD classes at WSU. Please know that if you have a felony on your
record you might not be able to practice pharmacy even though WSU
would grant you a PharmD degree. While public institutions cannot deny
you admission based on a criminal record, the Washington State Board
of Pharmacy may not issue you a license if you have committed a
(SOURCE: Washington State University, ?Applying For The Doctor Of
Pharmacy? , <>)
In other words, you?d have to convince a committee that you?ve had a
sincere rehabilitation and that there is null chance of you becoming
an addict or a felon again. The fact that there is a drug related
offence here, and falsifying prescriptions on tops of it doesn?t make
it easier for you; especially given the fact that medical school
admission is in any case a very competitive business, even at the
lowest-ranked medical schools. (Naturally, going on lying about it is
a very bad idea and would get you shamefully expelled after they?d run
the background check on the students, and sooner or later, they ? or
the training hospital - will run a CBC).
And, most importantly: 
?If I have a criminal record, can I go to pharmacy school and become a pharmacist?
Contact the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) to
determine if a felony conviction will  prevent you from obtaining a
license to practice pharmacy in a particular state.

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
1600 Feehanville Drive 
Mount Prospect, IL 60056
Tel: 847-391-4402
Fax: 847-391-4406

Pharmacy schools may ask applicants to disclose any previous felony or
misdemeanour convictions as part of the application process. A
criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from enrolling in a
pharmacy school; however, failure to disclose any past or pending
charges may be grounds for dismissal. Pharmacy schools may require
criminal background checks and/or drug tests in order to verify and
individual?s suitability to participate in experiential education
rotations, to confirm a student?s eligibility for pharmacy licensure,
and to ensure patient safety. Contact your designated pharmacy schools
directly for specific policies.
(SOURCE: AACP, ?Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Pharmacy
Admissions?, <>)
(3)	 Will it prevent you from being later licensed? 
Not all state boards are unified in their policies towards convicted
felons, especially those whose records have been expunged.
?You should be aware that the federal government need not honor the
expungement, nor does an expungement of a conviction necessarily
relieve a person from having to disclose it in an application for
public office or on some professional license applications.? (SOURCE:, ?If my record is expunged, do I have to ever have to
acknowledge the case again??, <> ).

In general, however, having your record expunged, and having
demonstrated a law abiding conduct in the ongoing years might merit
you of an interview, and later licensure. In any case, unless the
state board specifically approves that they?d approve the licensure of
someone who has past drug-related convictions, be prepared for a legal
battle, because the question is not only if those convicted can apply,
but also your specific conviction, which is pretty damaging in case of
a medical licence candidate.

Here is a list of Medical Boards: 

The American Association of Dental Examiners (AADE)

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy 

(4)	 Are there any other high paying jobs in these fields I should
probably try to get a degree in since the above mentioned jobs might
be impossible to obtain? Should I try to get a different degree since
the charge was drug-related? If so, do you have any suggestions?

As mentioned before, you should check with the relevant professional
boards, because some sates are more difficult than others, and in some
states you might be pardoned for the follies of your youth, having
demonstrated an exemplary conduct.

High paying jobs, in any field, are hard to get once you have a
criminal record. Scientific education can certainly lead you towards
employment in the business sector of scientific research companies and
health care management; in scientific research itself (within or
outside academe); and further a field, in legal and technical fields
that are somehow related to sciences.

However, in all cases, a CBC would be preformed by the employer. It is
true, that unlike a state board ? if your field does not require any
special licensure (for example, if you get an MBA) ? a private
employer cannot ?see? an expunged record and you are not obliged to
tell them anything. However, before that would happen, you might have
problems with any chosen field.

As you can see from a list of the highest paying jobs in America, the
only professions not requiring licensure are MBAs, and perhaps also
engineering and high-tech related jobs:

Ben Murray, ?The Next 10 Highest-Paying Jobs in the US?,,

However, in these cases, again, you?d have to rethink your strategy,
how to deal with your convictions, because those would appear on
record until you can expunge them.

In any case, if your reason of going to med-school was because it is a
high paying job, you might want to reconsider. Not only because the
profession and training are hard and the less dedicated ? who are only
in it for the money ? will suffer. There is much more practical
reason. Your chances of getting into a top ranking school (or even
middle tier) with a criminal record are not very high, and when
statistics is calculated about high paying physicians, those who rank
at the top are usually those who also went to top schools.

I hope this answers your question. Please contact me if you need any
clarification on this answer before you rate it.
Subject: Re: Becoming a doctor with a record
From: qed100-ga on 09 Sep 2006 06:28 PDT
I don't think that, in the U.S., a criminal record of any sort can
categorically exclude one from taking the exams. As for your record's
impact on being able to practice, that might be an issue on a
state-by-state basis. Perhaps someone else can provide a more rigorous
answer to that one.
Subject: Re: Becoming a doctor with a record
From: jcutts-ga on 13 Sep 2006 21:36 PDT
Anyone can take the exams.  Whether a school will even accept your
application is another story.  Some schools may even make you disclose
charges that were filed against you even if they were dismissed. 
Forging prescriptions?  I wonder what you were thinking.  That level
of dishonesty and disregard for ethics would probably disqualify you
for any profession.  Do you think that any medical field would accept
a student who is already abusing drugs and forging prescriptions? 
Yikes.  Is there a need for some serious therapy indicated here?

Sorry, I don't mean to be personal but as someone who advises students
on career options, I can't help but notice that there is a serious
disconnect between your idea of what is acceptable and the
expectations that any profession would have.

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