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Can a Felon Become a Doctor?

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Earning a doctoral degree in any field is not an easy task, and a felony conviction may make the task even harder. In addition, felons may not be able to obtain a license in some professional fields.

Graduate School Application

Having a felony conviction does not prevent anyone from applying to graduate school in any field. However, since almost all college applications ask if you have been convicted of a felony, it may be necessary to explain the circumstances of the conviction. Those circumstances, along with the charges involved, may impact admission to some programs.

Licensure and Certification

A felony conviction may make it difficult, if not impossible, to actually obtain a license or certificate to practice in some fields and states. Each state sets the specific requirements for obtaining a professional license in such fields as medicine, law and education. In most states, certain types of felony convictions makes you ineligible for a license. For example, if you have a conviction for crimes involving moral turpitude, you will not be allowed a teaching certificate in most states.


A felony conviction may be most limiting in medical fields. Before a medical professional can prescribe or distribute controlled substances, he must receive a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) certificate of registration. A felony conviction, especially one that is drug-related, may make this impossible.


Carolyn Kaberline has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her articles have appeared in local, regional and national publications and have covered a variety of topics. In addition to writing, she's also a full-time high-school English and journalism teacher. Kaberline earned a Bachelor of Arts in technical journalism from Kansas State University and a Master of Arts in education from Baker University.

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