Applicants With Prior Criminal History

Having a prior criminal history does not preclude you from obtaining a license from the Respiratory Care Board of California (RCB). Each applicant for licensure must submit their fingerprints to the California Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation for a criminal history background check. Upon notification of an applicant’s criminal history, if any, the RCB will open an investigation to determine whether there is a basis to deny the application for licensure.

Effective July 1, 2020, the RCB’s authority to deny an application based on certain criminal convictions was restricted. (Business and Professions Code section 480)

Specifically, the RCB cannot deny an application on the basis of a conviction if:

  • The conviction has been dismissed pursuant to Penal Code Sections 1203.4, 1203.4a, 1203.41, 1203.42, or 1203.425 (or another state’s equivalent). You may be asked to provide proof of this.
  • The conviction(s) occurred more than seven years from the date of the application, or if the applicant was convicted of a crime and incarcerated, more than seven years from the time the applicant was released from incarceration.

NOTE: The preceding seven-year limitation shall not apply in either of the following situations:

  • The applicant was convicted of a serious felony, as defined in Penal Code Section 1192.7.
  • The applicant was convicted of a crime for which registration is required pursuant to paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (d) of Penal Code Section 290.

Unless restricted, the RCB may deny an application for licensure if the applicant was convicted of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a respiratory care practitioner. In assessing a conviction, the RCB must consider whether the crime is substantially related to the respiratory care profession, and whether an applicant has made a showing of rehabilitation. California Code of Regulations section 1399.370 sets out the substantial relationship criteria used by the RCB to determine whether the crime is substantially related to the practice of respiratory care. California Code of Regulations Section 1399.372 sets out the criteria for evidence considered by the RCB in making a determination of rehabilitation.

Frequently Asked Questions

The RCB does not pre-screen applicants with criminal convictions to determine eligibility for licensure and cannot offer legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you have any questions about completing the application.

If you have additional questions, please contact the RCB at