EMT Background Investigation FAQ
This document is intended to provide answers to some commonly asked questions regarding the criminal history background checks that are required by the State of California for all EMT certification and recertification applicants as of July 1, 2010.
What has changed?
The general education/training requirements for EMT certification and recertification have not changed. However, under State regulations effective July 1, 2010, all EMT applicants must complete a criminal history background check to determine eligibility for certification. Some EMTs may be exempt from this requirement if they meet a "grandfathering" provision in the regulations.
Who is eligible for grandfathering?
The provision for "grandfathering" is available to EMTs that are actively certified prior to July 1, 2010, if the requirements outlined below are completed and the employer submitted the request to the EMS Agency prior to June 30, 2010 in the format specified by the California EMS Authority. EMTs who are certified after June 30, 2010 or do not meet the requirements below must pass a background investigation through the EMS Agency.
What are the requirements for grandfathering?
The EMT's employing agency must have previously conducted a California Department of Justice (DOJ)-level criminal background check AND must be actively receiving subsequent arrest notifications from the DOJ on the currently certified EMT. Additionally, there can be nothing in the criminal background or subsequent arrest information that would preclude that individual from being certified as an EMT pursuant to Title 22 Section 100214.3 (c) & (d).
Will EMTs who have been "grandfathered" need to have another criminal history check done in the future?
As long as the EMT continues to be employed with the same agency under which the grandfathering was granted and that agency continues to receive the subsequent arrest notifications, the EMT will not be required to have another criminal history background check done. However, an EMT who leaves employment with the agency under which they were grandfathered will no longer meet the requirements for being followed with subsequent arrest notifications and therefore will be required to complete the criminal history background check through the EMS Agency the next time they apply for recertification.
What is the new background check requirement for certification?
All EMT applicants are required to complete a criminal history background check in the first certification or recertification cycle unless that EMT has been grandfathered as outlined above.
If I was not "grandfathered", will the criminal history background check be a "one-time" requirement or will I need to repeat it again in the future?
As long as you remain actively certified under the same EMS agency, you will not be required to repeat the background check process (see note above regarding "grandfathered" personnel). You may be required to have another criminal history background check performed if you change local EMS agency jurisdictions (example - moved from San Diego County to Sonoma County). This is due to the fact that the other local EMS agency will stop receiving the subsequent arrest notifications once you are not operating within their system. Therefore, the EMS agency in the new jurisdiction will need to have you "LiveScanned" under their DOJ number so they will begin receiving the subsequent arrest notifications.
What is the process for having the criminal history background check completed?
EMT applicants must complete a DOJ "Request for Live Scan Service" form (pdf). The form is available at the EMS Agency offices or on the EMS Agency website (pdf). You must use this specific form since it contains the EMS Agency's unique ORI number. This ORI number informs the DOJ where the background information will be sent. Failure to use the correct form may result in having to repeat the Live Scan process and pay additional associated fees.
What previous history would disqualify me from EMT certification?
California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 22 Section 100214.3 (c) & (d) clearly defines disqualifying criminal history. Applicants are encouraged to review CCR Title 22, Division 9, Chapter 6 for a complete understanding of California EMT disciplinary regulations.
Where can I go to have the Live Scan done?
There are multiple sites in each county that are approved to perform the Live Scan service. A list of those sites can be obtained on the DOJ website.
How much does the Live Scan cost?
At this time the DOJ fee for the Live Scan is $49. In addition to that fee, the Live Scan service will charge an additional "rolling" fee for their services. The "rolling" fee varies with the different Live Scan operators. Information on this fee is available on the California DOJ website listing of approved Live Scan operators.
The Live Scan fee is separate and in addition to the EMT certification/recertification fee that you will pay to the EMS Agency. You will pay the Live Scan operator the DOJ and "rolling" fee. The EMS Agency will collect only the fees for certification and recertification.
How much does my EMT certification or recertification cost?
The fees are as follows:
Note: the State definition of "certification" is an individual that has not had the criminal history background previous performed and that data is not yet entered into the State EMS database. A "recertification" is for individuals that have had the criminal history background performed and that data has been entered into the State EMS database.
How long does it take to complete the certification/recertification process?
The determining factor for processing certifications is obtaining the criminal history background information. The time varies depending on how long it takes to receive the background report from the DOJ, as well as the type of information returned (if any) on the report. While the EMS Agency works to process applications as rapidly as possible, EMTs should allow at least 30 days for processing to ensure that they don't experience a lapse or delay in receiving their certification. Same day processing is longer be possible.