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Can a Felon Become a Personal Care Assistant?

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Many felons can recall their own medical treatment while incarcerated, going to sick call and being greeted by a friendly, compassionate nurse, nurses’ aide, or other caregiver.

They may also recall the quality treatment they received from their doctor with the able assistance of that physician’s assistant.

This blog post addresses the issue of whether a felon is allowed to work as a personal care assistant.

  • The Challenge Felons Face
  • Why Work in the Healthcare Field?
  • What Is a Personal Care Assistant?
  • Becoming a Personal Care Assistant
  • A Success Story
  • Supporting a Felon Becoming a Personal Care Assistant


The Challenge Felons Face

As felons know all too well, getting a job in any field is a challenge.  The healthcare field is actually more difficult to enter successfully.

Felons, before their conviction, often had a career in the healthcare field in mind.

Occupations involving not only the personal care of people but having access to sensitive personal information can leave felons out due to their criminal record.

Working in the healthcare field requires one to be honest and ethical.  These are traits which many felons lack.

Even if they do not lack these traits, they may be rejected in their efforts at entering the field because of the common negative attitude toward felons whether it is fair or not.

Why Work in the Healthcare Field?

Statistics show that eight of the top 20 professions are in the healthcare industry with more than 13 million working in that field.

This means there is a strong future with more job security, which is very important to felons who have difficulty finding any type of employment.

It is an area that allows for changing lives and impacting individuals and families.  This is important to felons who thought they would never be permitted to be in a position like this.

Society is not so welcoming to felons regardless of what their crime was.

Another attractive feature of a career in the healthcare field is that there are jobs available for those with all educational levels.

There are many popular career choices in the healthcare field, such as a personal care assistant.

What Is a Personal Care Assistant?

A personal care assistant cares for patients who are not independent maintain good hygiene, proper nutrition, and a clean living space.  They may also help with activities of daily living.

Personal care assistants help patients with self-care and daily tasks along with providing companionship.

They may also be called a personal attendant or companion.  Their duties are similar to a home health aide, but a personal care assistant cannot provide medically related services.

A personal care assistant works in an individual’s home a retirement home, residential group home, and nursing care facility.

A personal care assistant is concerned with patient care.  They must be dependable, patient, detail-oriented, and have good interpersonal and time management skills.

Due to patients’ pain or emotional distress, personal care assistants must be emotionally stable, caring, and compassionate.  They must have physical strength and stamina to be able to help with many daily tasks.

Becoming a Personal Care Assistant

No formal education is required to become a personal care assistant.  Typically, they have at least a high school education.

Training to be a personal care assistant varies from one state to another.

A formal training program is necessary in some states and generally found at a community college, agency, or elder care program, to which felons are able to be accepted.

Most states don’t require certification, just the desire to become a caregiver, although some such as Minnesota, New York, and Alaska do.

Working for a nursing facility may require certification, just the desire to become a caregiver.

While most states don’t conduct a background check to enter a certification program, a few like New Jersey do.  A check with the state requirements for personal care assistants is recommended.

Certification programs typically include classes in basic nursing and specialized care.

Some facilities and agencies involve Medicare or Medicaid.  Working in these settings, specific certification or training is required by federal regulations.

Usually this includes at least 75 classroom hours or passing a competency exam along with a minimum of 16 hours of on-the-job training.

A Success Story

There are success stories of felons who did become healthcare professionals.

One particular example is of a felon who, after his release from prison, wanted to become a nurse.

So, he completed a reentry drug treatment program.

He gathered his case records, police reports, and character references together along with having his record expunged.

He obtained letters of recommendation from his doctors, counselors, instructors, his employer, and the dean of the school he was attending.

He documented everything positive he had accomplished after his release from prison.

In spite of the long odds, he succeeded in being allowed to take the nurse licensing exam and passed.

What were the keys for him in his pursuit of becoming a nurse?

First, he was honest every step of the way.  He disclosed all aspects of his criminal record to the nursing faculty and school administration.

He didn’t try to hide anything, and he didn’t downplay the seriousness of what he had done that earned him a felony conviction.

He was open about what he had done to rehabilitate himself after prison.

He contacted a lawyer and had a background check completed on himself that revealed a clean record since prison.

He had satisfied all of the requirements of his conviction, paid all fines, and restitution.

He no longer associated with those from his criminal past.  He had new friends who sincerely wanted him to succeed.

He strengthened the relationships with his family and had their support.

As a part of his lifestyle change, he regularly did volunteer work with a 12-Step program and other community projects.

The most important thing he did was not to give up whatever happened along the way.  He kept his spirits up, remained positive, and persevered until he achieved a successful outcome.

Supporting a Felon in Working as a Personal Care Assistant

For families of felons wanting to pursue a dream of working as a personal care assistant, encourage your loved one and support their efforts to live an honest life, change their lifestyle, and keep their dreams alive.

Your family member is worth making the effort for, if they are sincere in their desire to become a caring, compassionate personal care assistant.

Help them realize their ambition no matter how difficult the road might be.

What do you think about this blog post?  Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to work as a personal care assistant with a felony?  What was like for them, and how did they achieve success?  Please tell us in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Can a Felon Become a Personal Care Assistant?”

  1. My problem is, they allow me to work. An I am very open an honest about my past, I’ve completed courses, and am a certified caregiver. Acouple weeks later, I’m let go due to my criminal history…

    • This exact thing just happened to me on Friday. Mine was back in 06 and I have done everything right since . It really sucks that just because u messed up in the past u have to pay for it always

  2. I am a convicted felon. It was a drug related felony alond with a misdemeanor possession of a firearm charge. I recently applied for a job with a PCA firm where they pay for the class if you agree to worm for them. I have gone over and over the barrier crimes for this job and my crimes arent listed. Also this was 20 yrs ago so why cant I get hired.


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