Background Check and Drug Screen


At CDU, a check of a student’s background is intended to serve as an important part of the selection process. A background check is conducted with the goal of assessing risks and promoting a safe environment for students, faculty, employees, and guests to protect key organizational assets such as people, property and information.

Background checks shall be performed on all students prior to matriculation into the program and prior to beginning clinical rotations. Students in the PA Program will be subjected to criminal background checks in order to meet clinical placement requirements. The student is responsible for incurring the cost of the background check.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) standard HR 1.20 and California state law requires criminal background checks on all employees, students, and volunteers who provide care, treatment or services to patients.

The University and the PA Program recognize the need to conduct background checks on applicants and employees must also be balanced with the need to protect the privacy of those individuals and will adhere to any state and federal law or University policy pertaining to those rights.

Drug Screening

CDU is committed to providing a safe, healthy learning community for all its students and a safe work environment for all its employees. CDU supports and endorses the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act amendments of 1989. Pursuant to these Acts, the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance or abuse of alcohol (as defined in these Acts) by a University employee or student on University property or as part of any university activities is prohibited.

Students are required to undergo drug screening 1) prior to matriculation and 2) prior to beginning clinical rotations. Individual clinical training sites may require additional drug screening. The student is responsible for incurring the cost of the drug screen.


  • Matriculation and continued enrollment in the PA Program are contingent upon satisfactorily completing a background check. An offer of admission will not be final until the completion of the background check with results deemed as satisfactory. Admission may be denied or rescinded based on a review of the background check.
  • Clinical rotations are a requirement of the PA Program curriculum. Students who cannot participate in clinical rotations due to criminal or other adverse activities revealed in a background check are unable to fulfill the requirement of the PA Program. Additionally, many licensing agencies require individuals to pass a criminal background check as a condition of licensure or employment.


  • Obtaining a background check and drug screen report is designated to the company CastleBranch©.
  • Students offered admission must comply with instructions provided by CastleBranch© in order to authorize a background check.  Details are provided through the CASPA application portal and through CastleBranch©.
  • Students offered admission are responsible for payment of any fees charged by CastleBranch© to provide the background check and drug screen service.
  • The background check report will be submitted to the PA Program for its review.  If the report contains negative findings, a Review Committee consisting of the PA Program Director, PA Program Medical Director, an Institutional Official (i.e. Dean of College of Science and Health) and University Legal Counsel may request the student submit additional information relating to the negative finding such as a written explanation, court documents, etc.  The Review Committee will review all information available and determine appropriate action on a case-by-case basis.
  • Admission decisions are final and may not be appealed.

If a current student is determined by the Review Committee to require dismissal from the program due to results of the background check and/or drug screen, the student may appeal that decision in accordance with the University’s grievance procedure found in the University Catalog

Review Committee Standards

1. Factors utilized by the committee to make decisions include but are not limited to:

  • Nature and seriousness of the offense or event
  • Circumstances surrounding the offense or event
  • Relationship between duties to be performed as part of the PA Program and offense
  • Age of person when offense occurred
  • Whether the offense was an isolated or recurring event
  • Past employment and academic history

2. The committee bears in mind both the safety interest of the patient, the workplace and the university. In reviewing background checks and supplementary information, the Review Committee may obtain advice from university counsel, university human resources, or other appropriate advisors.


The categories of background checks include, but are not limited to:

  • Confirmation of a person’s identity
  • Review of criminal conviction records
  • Social Security Number verification
  • Drug testing as required by law
  • Residence History
  • Nationwide Records Indicator
  • Nationwide Sex Offender
  • Nationwide Healthcare Fraud and Abuse
  • Patriot Act
  • Nationwide Federal Criminal

Rights and Disputes

  • Students have the right to review the information reported by CastleBranch© for accuracy and completeness and to request that CastleBranch© verify the information provided is correct.
  • Prior to the final determination that will adversely affect the student, any dispute of the accuracy of information obtained on the background check should be referred to CastleBranch©.
  • Falsification of information may be cause for withdrawal of an admission offer or dismissal from the program.

Confidentiality and Record Keeping

  • Background check reports and other submitted information are confidential and may only be reviewed by university officials and affiliated clinical facilities in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • The background check company will maintain reports and provide them to the Program when requested.
  • Files of applicants denied matriculation will be maintained by the Office of Registration and Records.

Additional Information

  • Students with negative background check and or drug screen findings permitted to enroll in the program are not guaranteed clinical rotation placement by facilities serving as clinical affiliations for the program.
  • Students with negative background check and or drug screen findings permitted to enroll in the program are not guaranteed that any state will accept their registration or provide licensure or certification.
  • Falsification of information, including omission of relevant information, may result in denial of admission or dismissal from the PA Program.
  • Criminal activity that occurs while a student is in attendance at the university may result in disciplinary action, including dismissal, and will be addressed through the PA Program’s disciplinary process.