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Maryland Board of Nursing 
Patricia A. Noble, MSN, RN, Executive Director
Nancy D. Adams, MBA, RN, President

 Fact Sheet: Criminal History Records Checks
for NCLEX, Endorsement and 1st-time CNA Applicants

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In 2006, House Bill 1318 and Senate Bill 769 were passed requiring criminal history records checks. Criminal history records checks will be required of all new RN and LPN applicants and all CNA applicants after January 2, 2007. 

  • Background checks must include both a State and Federal review using fingerprints. Private background checks are not acceptable.
  • The Board will supply the applicants with the fingerprint cards that will be preprinted with the return address and other required information.
  • The state fingerprint cards have two (2) postcards attached that will be stamped and signed at the police station. One will serve as evidence that the applicant has completed the fingerprints, and the other will be the receipt with the verification number that the applicant will need if follow-up is necessary. The cards are pre-printed.
  • Applications will not be processed without the criminal history record check.
  • Cost - $57.25 to be paid directly to Maryland's Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS).

 Obtaining the Fingerprints

The quickest results are obtained when the fingerprints are taken at a State Police barracks or CJIS office that is set up for electronic fingerprinting. Results will be returned in one week. The current electronic site is in Reisterstown Plaza, where the Board is located. When the Board receives information regarding other electronic sites, the information will be posted on this website.

Fingerprints may be done manually at different state or local police sites and selected certified sites. Results generally take 3 to 4 weeks. The report will be sent to the Board and the applicant. The applicant will need the verification number to follow-up if the background report is not received by the Board. 

New Applicants

NCLEX Applicants - The purple print postcard (attached to the fingerprint card for the state criminal records history records check) will serve as evidence that the fingerprinting has been done. Once the Board has received the card, the applicant may take the NCLEX. NO LICENSE WILL BE ISSUED UNTIL THE CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS CHECK HAS BEEN REVIEWED. 

Endorsement Applicants – Once the purple postcard has been received, the applicant may be issued a temporary license for 90 days. The temporary license cannot be extended. NO LICENSE WILL BE ISSUED UNTIL THE CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS CHECK HAS BEEN REVIEWED. 

CNA Applicants – The purple print postcard (attached to the fingerprint card for the state criminal records history records check) will serve as evidence that the fingerprinting has been done. Once the Board receives the card, the applicant may obtain a 90-day temporary practice certificate and/or take the GNA examination. NO CERTIFICATE WILL BE ISSUED UNTIL THE CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS CHECK HAS BEEN REVIEWED. 

Board Review

Positive backgrounds will be reviewed by the Board prior to issuing a license. If the background check indicates arrests and/or convictions, additional information will be requested from the applicant. A Pre-licensure committee will review all information and will forward a report to the Board for a decision. The Board may deny licensure of an applicant, license the applicant with or without probation, or issue charges against a renewal applicant.

Access to Records

Only designated Board staff will have access to the background check records and the results are confidential. The Board decision is the only information that will be released.

Compact Licenses

No Criminal History Records Check is required for nurses practicing in Maryland on their compact licenses. This is a requirement for Maryland Licensed Nurses. All compact states will be moving to requiring background check if the checks are not currently required.

Updates to the CHRC process

Effective January 2, 2009, all applicants will need to submit a background check for EACH initial licensure and certification applications (RN, LPN, CNA) submitted to the Board.

Effective June 1, 2008, House Bill 269 allows the extension of a temporary license or certificate letter an additional 90 days if criminal history background information is pending. The applicant may have a maximum of two 90-day extensions. There is no additional fee or any required paperwork. It must be understood that this only applies to individuals that have ALREADY SUBMITTED HIS/HER CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECK AND HIS/HER RESULTS ARE PENDING. Please contact Dorothy Haynes at 410-585-1952 or e-mail dhaynes@dhmh.state.md.us regarding this matter.

How to Complete the Background Check

You may download the instructions for Nurse electronic [PDF] or Nursing Assistant electronic [PDF] fingerprinting process. 


Last update: July 31, 2014
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Martin O'Malley, Governor
Anthony Brown, Lt. Governor
Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary

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