Criminal Background Check & Drug Screen Policy

SPECIAL NOTE: If you believe that there is anything in your past that may be discovered in a criminal history check, you should consider the possible consequences as they relate to completing the pharmacy curriculum, and ultimately becoming licensed to practice pharmacy. Students with any “hits” on their records are often prohibited from participating in practicum (experiential learning) by the practice sites. This is beyond the College of Pharmacy’s control. If students cannot complete the curriculum, they cannot graduate, and thus cannot become pharmacists. Criminal behavior that is discovered upon one of the College of Pharmacy’s scheduled checks, OR OCCURS DURING PHARMACY SCHOOL, will be dealt with as appropriate for the situation. Possible consequences could include delayed graduation, or possible dismissal from the pharmacy program.

This same note applies to the information obtained from the drug screen.

Facilities operating under The Joint Commission’s standards pertaining to human resource management require verification of competency of all individuals who have direct contact with patients or employees.  This includes students participating in clinical rotations in the facility.  Competency extends beyond technical skills to an individual’s criminal history.

Criminal Background Check

Professional pharmacy students will be subject to a criminal background check prior to the start of the P1 year (first year of the professional sequence of courses), and also during the spring semester of the P3 year (third year of the professional sequence of pharmacy courses, prior to the full-time experiential P4 year of practicum), or at any other time prescribed by the college. Students will be referred to a third party vendor to request the background check, and are responsible for any associated expenses and paperwork. The student must complete the background check prior to the deadline set by the College, or the student will not be able to matriculate. The vendor performing the background check will notify the College of Pharmacy that the student has participated in the check.  The facility will verify details of the background check directly through the background check vendor or the student.

Background checks will be honored by all facilities for the duration of the pharmacy student’s enrollment in the professional program if the participating student has not had an unexpected break in enrollment. A break in enrollment is defined as non-attendance of one long-term semester (fall or spring) or more.  The above information is verifiable through the College.

The criminal background check will review a person’s criminal history seven (7) years prior to the date of application.  The check will include the cities and counties of all known residences.  The following criteria will be included:

    • Social Security number validation
    • Felony convictions
    • Misdemeanor convictions or felony adjudications involving crimes against persons (physical or sexual abuse)
    • Misdemeanor convictions related to moral turpitude (prostitution, public lewdness/exposure, etc.)
    • Felony deferred adjudications for the sale, possession, distribution, or transfer of narcotics or controlled substances, and involving crimes against persons (physical or sexual abuse)
    • Registered sex offenders
    • HHS/OIG List of Excluded Individuals/Entities
    • GSA List of Parties Excluded from Federal Programs
    • Employee Misconduct Registry
    • U.S. Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), List of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) search.  Applicable State Exclusion list, if one.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If the Texas State Board of Pharmacy approves the student as licensable via the student pharmacist intern registration process (which infers that, upon completion of all requirements for licensure, the student is approved to take the licensing exam), the student may participate in clinical experiences within the facility.  Please refer to §283.4 of the Texas Pharmacy Board Rules, Texas Administrative Code for additional information via the website:

Internship Requirements


Texas Government Code, Subtitle B., Chapter 411.122 (background checks for pharmacists)

Drug Screens

The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy will require students to submit to a 10 panel drug screen at the same times that the criminal background checks are conducted.  As with the criminal background check:

    • The screen will be run by a third party vendor.
    • Students will be responsible for all costs associated with the screen.
    • The College of Pharmacy will  be notified by the vendor that the student has participated in the screen.
    • The facility is responsible for obtaining the results from the third party vendor.

In summary:

    1.  Students will be required to participate in a criminal history (background) check and a 10-panel or other drug screen prior to the start of the P1 and P4 years.
    2. Students will contact a participating third party vendor approved by the College of Pharmacy and have the criminal history check and drug screen performed, at their expense, through that vendor.
    3. The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy will certify that each student has participated in the background check and drug screen.
    4. If practice facilities require detailed information on the results of either of these processes for an individual student, the facility will contact the student or third party vendor directly and request the results.  The College of Pharmacy cannot release results due to the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
    5. If the student is approved and registered as a student intern by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (which infers eligibility to sit for licensure exams), the student will be allowed to participate in clinical experiences within the facility.
    6. A background check and fingerprint check are run by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy for both intern and pharmacist applicants.  This process is separate from the background check and drug screen run by the College of Pharmacy.
    7. Practice sites in which students are placed for practicum may require additional background checks and drug screens.

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Texas Pharmacy: The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy