Does Probation Show Up on Background Check? Use This Simple Trick

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | May 14, 2024

Man with a criminal record on probation walking with hidden ankle bracelet uncovered by a blue magnifying glass during a background check search showing does probation show up on background check record document on right.

Background Check for Probation Records
Search anyone's background check for probation records and criminal charges.

Are you wondering does probation show up on background check information? If so, many factors may impact the answer, but there is one simple trick you can use to find out.

Before jumping ahead, the type of background check you’re using and the process it follows is important to understand. For example, some companies only perform an online search without looking at official court documents and county databases which could mean information related to probation sentences is missed.

The trick is conducting a verified employment background check on yourself. Because of how public records work, you can do so even without consent from any third parties to conduct a check on yourself. This will provide access to all public records, including court documents which gives you the greatest possible chance to see whether probation will show up on the check.

The good news is some basic background checks can be done in minutes online.

With criminal background checks, there are different screening levels. Knowing the basics of “does probation show up on background check report,” including what information to provide to a potential employer and the types of background checks that are impacted by probation is all outlined below, and can help make sure you pass with flying colors.

Will Probation Show Up on a Background Check? (Will Probation Make Me Fail a Background Check?)

The answer to whether probation will show up on a background check is, unfortunately, that it depends. Probation generally won’t show up on a standard background check that an employer conducts, but there are different types of checks, and each one has different results.

A criminal record search (like a level 2 background check) will pull information from state and federal databases and court records. If you’re on probation, your name will likely appear in these records unless the judge orders explicitly that your record not be disclosed. A probation violation will also show up on a criminal record search in most cases.

Police officer's hand pointing towards man in handcuffs on wooden table.

Expunged and sealed records are generally not accessible to the public. If a background check contains this type of record, you must be told how they got access to prevent further issues from arising in the future. It violates federal laws such as the FCRA for a background report to include records that have been expunged or sealed.1

Probation is one of those grey areas for criminal records and background checks because, technically, your probation does end up on court documents that are made available for anyone who conducts an official criminal history search (e.g., through law enforcement agencies). However, the tricky part about this process is that many employers only perform a basic online search, so likely, they will not see your probation information and it won’t cause you to fail.

However, some employers may choose to conduct a more comprehensive background check which includes in-depth research into an applicant’s criminal history. If an employer does decide to go this route, your probation information may be found.

Understanding the process of determining whether someone is on probation is essential because it can impact your eligibility for specific jobs. In addition, performing a background check on yourself by enlisting the services of a reliable screening agency is a great way to get a clear picture of what information is being reported before employers see it on a background check.

Do I Have To Tell My Employer About Probation?

You are not legally obligated to disclose your probation status to a potential employer in most cases. However, it is always best to be honest and forthcoming about any criminal history you may have.

If you’re on probation, the terms of your agreement likely require that you notify your supervisor or parole officer if you’re offered a job. Failure to do so could result in a violation and possible jail time.

It’s important to understand that having a criminal record – even one that includes probation – does not automatically mean employers won’t hire you for a job. Federal regulations, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, protect your right to privacy and prohibit employers from denying an applicant a job simply because of their criminal record, for certain jobs.

Many employers are willing to give people a second chance as long as they can demonstrate they’ve learned from their mistakes. The key is explaining your situation honestly and proving that you’re capable of doing the job.

It is the employer’s responsibility to conduct due diligence in determining whether or not you’re capable of doing the job for which you’ve applied, regardless of what type of background check they used.

What is documented on a criminal history record can vary widely depending on the state in which you were charged whether or not your case was settled out of court, taken to trial, and what the final verdict ended up being. For this reason, the question of does probation show up on background check information will depend on the level of screening you undergo.

It’s important to remember that, while a criminal record can be a challenge, it doesn’t have to stand in the way of finding employment. Much will depend on why you’re on probation, concerning whether or not it disqualifies you from a position.

Healthcare Fingerprint Background Check: Probation

Healthcare fingerprint background checks are typically used to verify the identity of healthcare professionals, potential employees, and volunteers. These are usually done through state-regulated agencies specializing in searching criminal background reports for healthcare providers.

Probation does not automatically show up on a healthcare fingerprint background check. However, if you are convicted of a crime while employed in the healthcare profession, this information does get reported to The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).2

NPDB Website screenshot to search does probation show up on background check records.

(Image: National Practitioner Data Bank2)

If your conviction was for something that happened after you were hired or related to work performance issues, it may or may not affect your chances of being considered for a position. The best thing you can do is be honest about any past convictions when asked during an interview and explain how they relate to the job description.

Firearm FBI Background Check: Probation Law

FBI background checks begin with a search of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database. This database is used to determine if someone is eligible to possess a firearm. The FBI has access to other databases including the Interstate Identification Index, which contains criminal history records for federal crimes. It can also access state records for some crimes utilizing the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) which compiles information from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

If you are on probation due to a felony conviction, your state’s Department of Corrections likely submitted your record to the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. This information will show up in an FBI background check if it has been reported by the department responsible for overseeing your probation.

For firearm FBI background checks, does probation show up on background check records? The answer is no. A criminal conviction will not prevent you from owning a gun if you are otherwise allowed to possess one.

However, certain crimes, such as domestic violence or assault, make it illegal for someone convicted of that crime to own a gun. Therefore, if you’re on probation and have been convicted of a crime that falls into this category, you will not be able to pass the background check and will be prohibited from owning a firearm.

Felony convictions will also prohibit someone from gun ownership. If you’re on probation, the terms of your agreement likely require that you not possess a firearm. Failure to comply could result in jail time and additional violations.3

Probation is not always reported on a firearm FBI background check, but the terms of your probation agreement might require you to submit documentation like court papers or your parole/probation officer’s contact information with any application for employment that involves firearms.

There are also state-specific laws that may impact your ability to possess a gun. It’s essential to research these background check laws in advance to know what is and isn’t legal in your state. While probation does not automatically show up on firearm FBI background checks, certain types of convictions can prohibit you from gun ownership.

Types of Probation That Will Show Up on Background Checks (Criminal Record and Criminal Background Check Review)

Two types of probation will show up on a criminal record check: supervised and unsupervised.

Close-up of handcuff with 'criminal record' stamped word on white background.

The type of probation on your record can impact your ability to get a job and may impact what a background check includes.

Supervised Probation

Supervised probation occurs when a defendant is released into the community under the supervision of a probation officer. This type of probation usually lasts for one to three years and requires regular meetings with the probation officer.

Supervised probation does show up on a background check. However, it can prevent you from getting a job or holding the license for which you wish to apply.

Unsupervised Probation

Unsupervised probation occurs when someone is convicted of a crime but does not receive any jail time and does not have to meet with their parole officer. Unsupervised probation instead relies on periodic drug tests or self-reporting to monitor compliance.

Unsupervised probation does not show up on a background check, so it does not prevent someone from holding the job they’re applying for or getting their license.

Supervised Versus Unsupervised Probation

For some jobs, such as teaching or childcare positions where you’ll be working with children and other vulnerable populations, employers may require that you’ve only ever had supervised probation without any periods of incarceration for them to consider hiring you. However, this requirement is rare for most other types of employment – unless your crime was specifically related to work performance issues (for example, theft at the workplace).

Graphic showing the differences between supervised and unsupervised probation, including the answer does probation show up on a background check and does probation go on your record, depending on if its supervised and the answer to does probation stay on your record.

Both types of probation will likely appear on a background check if you were convicted, and either one can hinder your ability to get the job or license you want.

State Laws About Probation Disclosure on Background Screenings

Each state has its own laws about how probation might affect your ability to apply for certain kinds of jobs or licenses. These laws can even vary between counties. Therefore, you’ll need to check with the specific office that processes these screenings (i.e., Clerk of Court) and see if they require any additional information before processing your request.

For example, some offices may require documentation of your probation discharge or completion before they will approve an employment background check.

At a certain point during the length of their supervision period, you can petition to have probation records removed from public records. However, this does not mean that all criminal record databases will remove it. In addition, there is no guarantee that a prospective employer will not find out about your probation, even if you’ve completed all the requirements of your sentence.

It is critical to be aware of these discrepancies and understand how they may impact your ability to get a job. If you are on supervised probation, it is best to know ways of running a background investigation on yourself to get an accurate representation of what a prospective employer will see.

So, does probation show up on background check reports? Not necessarily.  

It depends mainly upon the type of conviction and whether or not legal restrictions prevent you from holding certain positions because of what’s on your record. Suppose you’re unsure whether or not a job you’re interested in will ask about your criminal history. In that case, it never hurts to do some research by conducting a background check on yourself with a verified employment screening provider to find out.

If you have any other questions about how a criminal record may impact your ability to get a job or hold a license, a reputable background screening company can provide the guidance and resources to fully understand does probation show up on background check reports.


1O’Brien, Katherine. 19 May 2021. FCRA Violations Lawyer: When Expunged Records Show Up On Background Checks. Law Office of Katherine O’Brien. 9 December 2021. Web. <>

2NPDB. Nd. Your Responsibilities for Reporting State Health Care-Related Prosecutions and Civil Judgments to the NPDB. 9 December 2021. Web.   <>

3Pirius, Rebecca. 2021. Laws Banning Gun Possession After a Criminal Conviction. NOLO. 9 December 2021. Web. <>

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