Final grade: A-

Exclusion Grade


Relevance Grade


Due Process Grade



  • Created a petition process for applicants with criminal records.
  • Bans agencies from relying on arrest records, old convictions or “good moral character” to disqualify applicants.
  • Requires boards to consider evidence of rehabilitation and to use a directly related standard for all crimes.

Areas of Improvement

  • Extend protections to all licenses.

Updated February 2023

As part of an occupational licensing reform in 2019, Ohio created a petition process that allows applicants to see if their criminal record would be disqualifying before they start fulfilling a license’s requirements, which can be very costly and time-consuming. Building on that reform, in 2021, the Buckeye State enacted a massive overhaul of its licensing laws for ex-offenders, and saw its final grade soar to an A-. 

The 2021 reform also included robust reporting requirements. Since enactment, Ohio licensing boards have issued licenses to 2,014 applicants with criminal records and denied licenses to 50 applicants. The agencies that issued the most licenses were:

  1. Chemical Dependency Professional Board (418)
  2. Board of Education (410)
  3. Division of Securities (339)
  4. Board of Nursing (327)
  5. Board of Pharmacy (183)

Ohio agencies also received and acted on 215 preliminary petitions. In 77 petitions, or a little over one-third of all petitions acted on, the criminal record was found to be disqualifying.

Statute: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 9.78 (West 2019), Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 2953.31 to 2953.33 (West 2018)

Overarching ban on blanket bans Yes, but excludes several health care facility licenses
Ban on considering arrest records Yes
Ban on considering post-conviction relief records Yes, sealed records
Time limit 5 years, excluding violent or sexual offenses, 10 years for fiduciary crimes
Ban on vague, discretionary character standards Yes
Relationship between the crime and the license sought "Directly related"
Required factors for consideration
Rehabilitation Yes
Time elapsed since crime was committed Yes
Age when crime was committed No
Employment History No
Testimonials No
Due Process
Petition Process Yes
Burden of Proof Boards bear burden of proof, require preponderance of the evidence
Right to appeal Yes
Written notice requirement Yes