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Do Internships Run Background Checks?

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Felons typically find that most things are challenging when they return to society, which includes getting a job.

Much of society seems to turn its back on felons, and opportunities are not easily found even though employers have discovered that felons make good employees.

For many felons it means returning to school for additional education and starting a new career.

In some fields that can be a college program followed by an internship.

This blog post will address whether or not internships run background checks.


What Is an Internship?

An internship is a temporary work opportunity for someone who is completing a course of study in a particular field to work in that industry before taking a job.

An internship provides students hands-on experience to work in their chosen field and will last from three months to one year.

A student learns how his or her course of study applies to the real world and gains experience that makes him or her a better job candidate.

For example, an internship is an important step in becoming a qualified doctor following completion of medical school.

An internship provides employers a chance to work with new graduates and begin turning them into professionals and potential future employees.

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The key to getting an internship is understanding what they are and what employers are looking for.

Who Offers an Internship?

Recently, students have become more interested in completing internships, but there is also more demand by employers.

Statistics show that:

  • 67% of recent graduates complete at least one internship during college
  • 84% of employers offer at least a summer internship

The top fields in which internships have become an important component include:

  • Business operations
  • Marketing
  • Engineering
  • Sales
  • Media and communications
  • Data analytics and finance
  • IT development
  • Arts and design
  • Program management
  • Human resources
  • Science
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Database Administration
  • IT support
  • Politics
  • Economics
  • Retail
  • Legal
  • Event planning

Do Internships Run Background Checks?

As with most businesses, background checks on new employees are routinely done.

In the case of interns, there is no consistent regulation.

Interns often have the same privileges and access to company resources as permanent employees so they are often held to the same screening standard.

If the intern will be handling sensitive information, company assets, cash, or working directly with children, a background check is often completed.

If the intern’s job is to “shadow” other employees and is not directly responsible for assets or cash, some companies may not do a background check.

Instead, managers may provide strict supervision.

What Is in a Background Check?

An employer screening a new employee or an intern will view driving records, credit reports, and educational records in addition to criminal offenses.

Background information helps an intern supervisor to determine a candidate’s past mistakes, character, and financial fitness, and to identify hiring risks for the security and safety of the company.

The criminal record review of a potential intern’s background check includes examining criminal history files for any criminal offenses, which will reveal all convictions and non-convictions, including cases not prosecuted or those dismissed.

Convictions can be reported without a time limit while a non-conviction will show up for seven years. However, a crime will not show up on a background check if a felon has had his or her record expunged.

Employers might request access to someone’s driving record as part of an employment screening.

A driver’s license agency might require a background check before someone can obtain a certain license, such as a commercial driver’s license.

What This Means for Felons

During the internship acceptance process, an applicant may be asked to consent to a background check.

Any internship offers that are made will be contingent upon passing this background check.

An applicant may also need to consent to a pre-employment drug screening.

As an example, the background check for a medical school and its internship program typically includes information about all convictions and adjudications for both felonies and misdemeanors. Additionally, it will include military service and discharge information for those who have served in the military.

Many companies do use interns, but they typically do not accept anyone with a violent or sexual offense. They usually don’t use individuals with a conviction of theft or forgery, either.

For other crimes, companies may consider an intern based on:

  • The nature of the offense and its seriousness
  • Circumstances of the crime
  • Length of time since the conviction
  • Participation in the school’s curriculum
  • An applicant’s age when the offense occurred
  • Whether the offense was isolated
  • Past work history
  • Evidence of rehabilitation

The background check on interns is run for a company to protect itself, its employees, and its customers. In evaluating the results, they look for discrepancies between the report and their responses on the application. They also evaluate the nature of any criminal offenses discovered by the report.

Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?

Doing a background check on him or herself before applying for an internship will allow a felon to know exactly what will be discovered when the company does its review. A felon with any questions can contact an attorney. It is essential to take action and not risk a chance on the results. After all, an internship can be an essential step in entering a new career field.

There are different kinds of personal background checks that a felon can run:

  • Driving records for any job involving driving, such as a truck driver
  • From the court in which he or she was charged
  • A credit report which will help determine how financially responsible an individual is
  • An educational report through the National Student Clearing House

For someone wanting to do a background check on themselves, there are places that can help.

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It is a significant challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon that wants to apply for an internship. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs, rehabilitation, job training, or additional education could make an essential difference in a felon’s success.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to get an internship with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

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