Criminal Background Checks

PTCAS facilitates a centralized background check (CBC) process for accepted applicants. The purpose of the check process is, in part, to ascertain the ability of a student to meet the requirements of clinical education sites and to become licensed physical therapists. Each PT education program participating in PTCAS chooses whether to use the PTCAS background check vendor, Certiphi Screening, Inc. Not all PTCAS programs use the background check process through PTCAS via Certiphi.


  • Require accepted applicants to complete a background check through the PTCAS service partner, Certiphi Screening. To determine if a background check is required by a particular PTCAS program, visit the Certiphi Screening Web site (list subject to change).
  • Require accepted applicants to complete a background check through a different provider
  • Require PT students to complete a background check after they enroll (in lieu of or in addition to the PTCAS background check process)
  • Require or help PT students to complete a background check, if one is required by a clinical education site
  • Not require a background check at any point.

If your responses to the PTCAS felony question and/or related criminal questions on supplemental forms differ from the background check results, you may jeopardize your acceptance status.


Certiphi Screening will contact you via email once the company is notified by the PTCAS office that you accepted an offer of admission to a participating PTCAS program. The email will include a link to a secure, online form that will request additional information and your consent to initiate the background check process.


The background check fee will be $72.00 per applicant and will be paid to Certiphi by the applicant. The fee reflects a $10.00 APTA fee subsidy and is inclusive of all record search fees charged by states and counties. If you are accepted by multiple PTCAS programs that require a background check through Certiphi, you will only undergo a single search and pay a single fee.


Once you have provided consent, Certiphi Screening, Inc. will begin the background check process. Results are typically completed within one week. Once the report is complete, Certiphi Screening, Inc. will give you an opportunity to review the results before they are released to the PTCAS program that requested the report. You will then have ten (10) calendar days to verify the accuracy of your report before it is made available to the appropriate PTCAS program. If you do not review the report within the time allotted, Certiphi will release your report to the program.


Should you choose to do so, for a fee, you may request your own report from Certiphi Screening, Inc. before it is requested by a PTCAS program. Please note that you are NOT required to order an advance report. This optional report will not replace a separate background check report required by a PTCAS program upon acceptance to that program.


If you consent to the background check process through PTCAS, Certiphi Screening will release the results to the PTCAS program(s) in which you accepted the offer of admission. Neither APTA nor PTCAS will receive or hold any personal information gathered by Certiphi. APTA will receive de-identified aggregated data only for research and statistical purposes.


Below is a description of checks conducted by PTCAS’s service partner, Certiphi Screening, Inc,. The results of the background search do not include juvenile records.

Social Security Number Search
A search of credit report header data to help confirm the applicant’s identifying information such as name, aliases, address(es), Social Security Number and to determine areas of prior residence.
County Criminal Records Searches
A direct search of county courthouse records for any felony or misdemeanor criminal history. All records are researched to help ensure positive identification.
Statewide Criminal Records Search
A search conducted through statewide criminal records repositories or court systems for any felony or misdemeanor criminal history.
Federal Criminal Records Search
A direct search of federal courthouse records for any felony or misdemeanor criminal history.
National Criminal Database Search
This search is an instant, multi-jurisdiction private database search covering more than 194 million criminal records collected from across the country. All database “hits” are verified directly through the source of information to ensure that records reported are current and up-to-date.
National Sexual Offender Database Search
A search of a national private database which contains sex offender data collected from across the United States.
US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General List of Excluded Individuals /Entities Search
A search of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE), a database which provides information to the public, health care providers, patients, and others relating to parties excluded from participation in the Medicare, Medicaid, and all Federal health care programs.
Search for Dishonorable Discharge from the Armed Forces
Military records are verified through either telephone interviews with the subject’s former commander or by obtaining the applicant’s DD-214 form. Verification generally includes subject’s name, Service Number, rank, dates of service, awards and decorations, and place of entrance and separation.
SanctionsBase Screening
A search covering sanctions, disciplinary and administrative actions taken by hundreds of federal and state healthcare regulatory authorities, including FDA, NIH, GSA, OFAC, terrorist watch lists and more.