Live Scan Requirements

This guide will help you navigate through the California live scan requirements. The live scan fingerprinting and background check portions of the hiring process can seem daunting to employers and job applicants alike. That’s why we created this guide to help your organization create a smooth and stress-free onboarding experience for everyone. Ready to get started? Keep reading!

What is a live scan?

A live scan is simply a digital fingerprinting process. A live scanner device will electronically capture your applicants’ fingerprints. The data will then be transmitted to a law enforcement agency or a third-party service provider that has been authorized by agencies such as the FBI, Department of Justice, and others.

Why is a live scan better than traditional fingerprinting?

Live scan fingerprinting is done electronically. This process eliminates messy ink fingerprinting. Live scans also provide an accurate, faster, and more efficient way of obtaining biometric data. The collected data is also easily distributed between agencies, employers, and third-party vendors. Record-keeping and management of databases is greatly improved when fingerprinting and background check data is done electronically.

California laws regarding live scan requirements

California doesn’t have a general singular law regarding live scans. Instead, various industries and jobs that are regulated by the state–typically those that require state licensing or certification–have their own live scan requirements. The types of jobs that typically need live scan fingerprinting and background checks are employees who are in a position of trust for some of California’s most vulnerable citizens, such as the elderly, dependent adults and minors. For example, California State Education Code requires that all new school employees have to be fingerprinted, which should include a criminal background check. Likewise, the state licensing boards for doctors and nurses require fingerprinting and background checks, which is typically done through live scan methods. The same policy generally applies to other health workers who need a license or certification to work in the state of California, such as medical assistants, certified nurse assistants, paramedics, and many other types of medical professionals.

Which types of employees are required to have a live scan in California?

Let’s dive a bit deeper into who exactly needs live scans in California. As we learned earlier, state laws regarding live scans usually pertain to particular job types. Live scans ensure the safety of the public. Fingerprinting and conducting background checks on new hires protect against potential abuse or misconduct. Here are the general professions who may need to undergo live scan in the state of California:

Healthcare Professionals

Doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals are required to participate in a live scan as part of their licensing process. Live scan fingerprinting ensures that new healthcare employees don’t have any criminal convictions that could disqualify them from practicing.


Teachers, administrators, and other education professionals may be required to undergo a live scan as part of the process for obtaining or renewing a teaching credential in California. This is to ensure the safety of students and to protect against potential abuse or misconduct.

Child Care Providers

Individuals who work in child care, including daycare providers and babysitters, may be required to undergo live scan as part of the process for obtaining a child care license. This is to ensure the safety of children and to protect against potential abuse or neglect.


Most organizations–like schools, nonprofit programs, and youth organizations–require volunteers to get live scans in order to ensure the safety of the children and other vulnerable individuals. This is for the safety and protection of those the volunteers are serving and working with.

Court-Ordered Individuals

Those who have been ordered by a court typically need to undergo a live scan. To comply with court orders, you should book a live scan appointment as soon as possible.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement professionals–such as police officers and sheriffs–are required to submit to a live scan as part of the hiring process. This is to ensure that they do not have any criminal convictions that may disqualify them from serving in these positions.

Licensees in General

If you are applying for any kind of license in California, you may be required to undergo a live scan as part of the licensing process. This includes professionals such as teachers, heath workers, real estate agents, security guard work, and many others.

What is “FLATS on APPs”?

All Live Scan fingerprinting services are “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” in COVID-19. Text of Governor’s Executive Order N-52-20 As such, the DOJ is implementing a new fingerprint capture method for Live Scan sites called “FLATS on APPS” in order to reduce the amount of time and physical contact between the applicant and the live scan operator while continuing to provide fingerprint based background checks to California citizens in need of employment, licensing or certification. FLATS on APPS is a fingerprint capture capture method that allows the live scan device to submit flat impressions of an applicant’s fingerprints rather than rolled impressions.

How live scans will benefit your company

There are many benefits to implementing live scan fingerprinting as part of your company’s policies.

Live scans ensure your customers and other staff members are safe

Pre-employment live scans will ensure that the person you’re hiring doesn’t have a history of violent offenses, including sexual abuse, especially those against minors. Having said that, you should consult with your company’s legal department or a law firm regarding the delicate nature of California’s laws. The state introduced the “Ban the Box” legislation in 2018. This makes it a bit more complicated to use an applicant’s criminal record in the hiring process.

Live scans can protect your assets

Once the fingerprints collected from a live scan session are sent to the FBI or California Department of Justice, you, the employer, will see if your applicant has a history of theft, fraud or vandalism.

Live scans can protect you from legal liability

Live scans give you a preventive measure to make sure that your company avoids legal trouble in the future. For example, you hired someone without conducting a live scan. They then physically assault a colleague. The victim sues your company for failing to protect them. Their lawyer finds out the perpetrator has a long RAP sheet (Record of Arrests and Prosecution) and that you did not enforce a pre-employment live scan. Your organization could face severe financial loss if the court decides you’ve created an unsafe environment by not screening new hires.

Live scans makes the onboarding process faster and easier

Live scan fingerprinting is very fast and efficient, especially compared to old-school traditional ink-based fingerprinting. Likewise, you get the results faster and securely through electronic transmission.

Your next steps

Now that you know California’s live scan requirements, it’s for you to take the next steps: book an appointment. Wellness Mart has live scan facilities all throughout California. We offer affordable pricing and fast user-friendly online booking!

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