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Why South Carolina Requires Criminal Background Checks for EMTs

Without passing a criminal background check, you will not be certified in South Carolina.

That’s because in 2008, the S.C. legislature revised the S.C. EMS Act to require all EMTs to undergo a criminal background check prior to receiving certification or recertification by DHEC.

A person seeking EMT certification or recertification must undergo a state criminal records check, supported by fingerprints, by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and a national criminal records check, supported by fingerprints, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The results of these criminal records checks must be reported to the department*. SLED is authorized to retain the fingerprints for certification purposes and for notification of the department regarding criminal charges.[…]”

Section 44-61-80, S.C. EMS Act
*DHEC

Some Kinds of Criminal Activity Could Prevent Certification

Individuals convicted of or under indictment for the following crimes will be denied in all cases*:

  1. Felonies involving criminal sexual conduct;
  2. Felonies involving the physical or sexual abuse of children, the elderly, or the infirm including, but not limited to, criminal sexual misconduct with a child, making
    or distributing child pornography or using a child in a sexual display, incest involving a child, assault on a vulnerable adult;
  3. A crime in which the victim is a patient or resident of a health care facility, including abuse, neglect, theft from, or financial exploitation of a person entrusted
    to the care or protection of the applicant.

*Applications from individuals convicted of, or under indictment for, other offenses not
listed above will be reviewed by the department on a case-by-case basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If I’ve never lived in South Carolina, why do I need a SLED check?
The EMS Act does not differentiate between South Carolina residents and out of state individuals. Therefore, to comply with the mandate, you will be required to undergo a
SLED check as well as the FBI check.

2. Where do I go to get fingerprinted?
IBT is the company authorized to perform the EMT fingerprinting process. They have locations across the state. To find a location nearest you, please visit their website at:
www.ibtfingerprint.com

3. How much does this process cost?
The total cost is $37.25. IBT will collect this fee when they take your fingerprints or you can pay online via their secure website.

4. If I have had a criminal background check within the past 6 months, do I need to
complete another one?
Yes, the law mandates that an individual undergo a criminal background check each time they apply for certification/recertification regardless of when the last check was completed.

5. If I have a copy of a recent criminal background check can I submit it to fulfill this
requirement?
No. DHEC can only accept data directly from SLED and the FBI.

6. Can I go to my local police station to be fingerprinted?
No. You must use the electronic scanning procedure from IBT.

7. What is IBT?
Integrated Biometric Technologies is an authorized agent that performs electronic fingerprinting for law enforcement and the FBI nation-wide. They are the only agent approved by the Department to obtain fingerprints for emergency medical technician certification/recertification.

8. What is the benefit of using IBT?
By using the scanning system provided by IBT, results from SLED and the FBI are returned to the Department within 48 hours (compared to 6 weeks with manual fingerprint cards) and the cost of the FBI check is reduced by $13.25.

9. Can I get a copy of the results DHEC received?
If there is activity on the report that would prohibit you from obtaining certification, DHEC will notify you of the results. Otherwise, DHEC is not authorized to send you a copy of your record.

10. How will I know if there was something on my record?
DHEC will only notify you if there is activity on the report that would prohibit you from obtaining certification.

11. Is there a process to contest the results?
Yes. An individual may challenge the information contained in their background check by contacting the original agency that submitted the information to the FBI or SLED in the state in which the arrest occurred (i.e. police station, solicitor’s office, etc.). These agencies will be able to furnish the guidelines for correction of the Record.

12.  How long does it take to get the results?
Using the scanning system through IBT, DHEC will receive results within 48 hours of the scan.

13. When do I need to get a criminal background check performed?
A criminal background check must be performed each time you wish to certify/recertify.

14. As a student in an EMT course (any level), when do I get my background checked?
Do not make an appointment with IBT until you have passed both the NREMT practical and written examinations. Failure to wait until after you have obtained national registration will result in another background check being completed.

15. Can I complete my background check early (before I’m ready to be certified)?
No. The Department is not able to store background checks for use at a later time.

16. Is there a process to contest the Department’s decision not to certify me?
Yes. You can appeal the decision by making a formal written request to the Department. Include any additional information necessary for the Department to make an informed decision regarding your circumstances (i.e. court order, pardon, dismissal, etc.).

17. Who will have access to the criminal background results?
Only authorized individuals within the Department may have access to these results.

18. How secure is the information?
SLED and the FBI have very strict security policies for electronic data submission. Results will be treated in the same manner as patient care data and are not subject to FOI requests. They will be kept in a secure area that is restricted from general staff use and shall be destroyed after processing.

19. As a training officer, what will I need to do differently to recertify my personnel?
Nothing. However, if you wish to expedite the process of recertification please include a copy of the receipt from IBT. This will enable the Department to match the background check results with the certificate application in a more efficient manner.