• PTCAS facilitates a centralized background check process for accepted applicants. The purpose of the check process is, in part, to ascertain the ability of a student to meet the requirements of clinical education sites, and to become licensed physical therapists.

    Each PT education program participating in PTCAS may choose whether to use the PTCAS background check vendor, Certiphi Screening, Inc. Not all PTCAS programs use the PTCAS background check process through Certiphi.

    If your responses to the PTCAS felony question or related criminal history questions on supplemental forms differ from the background check results, you may jeopardize your acceptance status.

    PTCAS Programs May:

    1. Require accepted applicants to complete a background check through the PTCAS service partner, Certiphi Screening, Inc. To determine if a background check is required by a particular PTCAS program, visit the Certiphi Screening website.
    2. Require accepted applicants to complete a background check through a different provider.
    3. Require PT students to complete a background check after they enroll (in lieu of or in addition to the PTCAS background check process).
    4. Require or help PT students to complete a background check, if one is required by a clinical education site.
    5. Not require a background check at any point.

    Background Check Process

    Certiphi Screening, Inc. will contact you via email from "Application Station" once the company is notified by the PTCAS office that you have accepted an offer of admission to a participating PTCAS program. The email will include a link to a secure, online form that will request additional information and your consent to initiate the background check process.


    The background check fee will be $75 per applicant and will be paid to Certiphi Screening, Inc, by the applicant. The fee is inclusive of all record search fees charged by states and counties. If you are accepted by multiple PTCAS programs that require a background check through Certiphi Screening, Inc, you will only undergo a single search and pay a single fee.


    Once you have provided consent, Certiphi Screening, Inc, will begin the background check process. Results are typically completed within 1 week. Once the report is complete, Certiphi Screening, Inc, will give you 10 calendar days to verify the accuracy of your report before it is made available to the appropriate PTCAS program. If you do not review the report within the time allotted, Certiphi Screening, Inc, will release your report to the program.

    Sharing of Background Check Results

    If you consent to the background check process through PTCAS, Certiphi Screening will release the results to the PTCAS program(s)in which you acceptance the offer of admission. Neither APTA nor PTCAS will receive or hold any personal information gathered by Certiphi Screening, Inc. APTA will receive deidentified aggregated data only for research and statistical purposes.

    Types of Checks

    Below is a description of checks conducted by PTCAS’s service partner, Certiphi Screening, Inc. The results of the background search do not include juvenile records.

    • Social Security Number Search: Search of credit report header data to help confirm the applicant's identifying information, such as name, aliases, Social Security Number, and current and prior addresses.
    • County Criminal Records Searches: Search of county courthouse records for any felony or misdemeanor criminal history. All records are researched to help ensure positive identification.
    • Statewide Criminal Records Search: Search conducted through statewide criminal records repositories or court systems for any felony or misdemeanor criminal history.
    • Federal Criminal Records Search: Search of federal courthouse records for any felony or misdemeanor criminal history.
    • National Criminal Database Search: Instant, multijurisdictional search of private database covering more than 194 million criminal records collected from across the country. All database "hits" are verified directly through the source of information to ensure that records reported are current and up-to-date.
    • National Sexual Offender Database Search: Search of a national private database that contains sex offender data collected from across the United States.
    • US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General List of Excluded Individuals /Entities Search: Search of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE), a database that provides information to the public, health care providers, patients, and others relating to parties excluded from participation in the Medicare, Medicaid, and all federal health care programs.
    • Search for Dishonorable Discharge from the Armed Forces: Military records are verified through either telephone interviews with the applicant's former commander, or by obtaining the applicant's DD-214 form. Verification generally includes applicant's name, service number, rank, dates of service, awards and decorations, and place of entrance and separation.
    • SanctionsBase Screening: Search covering sanctions, disciplinary and administrative actions taken by hundreds of federal and state health care regulatory authorities, including Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), General Services Administration (GSA), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), terrorist watch lists and more.
  • Last Updated: 5/13/2016
    Contact: ptcasinfo@ptcas.org