What is a Level 3 Background Check? [Complete Guide]

The most common among the levels of background checks type is a level 3 background check. So what is a level 3 background check? It includes reference checks, employment and education history, and criminal history screening. In certain cases, unlike other types of background checks, level 3 types of background checks also come with drug testing before employment. The reason to order a level 3 check is to make sure your potential hire won’t bring problems to the workplace that could have been anticipated. 

background check
background check

The standard period covered by a level 3 background check is seven years back and this check can report information going up to ten years back in some states. 

Reliable databases used to carry out this check have information from federal and state sources regarding disciplinary action, debarment, sanction, and exclusions of, and against individuals. Organizations in the medical field are in an obligation to thoroughly verify their providers’ backgrounds and credentials, whereby screening accuracy is of paramount importance. 

The Extent of a Level 3 Background Check 

Essentially, your level 3 check needs to go beyond what a single provider can detect or what you can find on your own searching Google. These checks give access to publicly available information, driving records, and phone records (private and public phone directories). You also get a social media account summary, court records, criminal records, and a general online lookup.

background check extent
background check extent

Reliable background check services are aware that the Federal Trade Commission oversees compliance with the FCRA. Your level 3 background check is to be by an official Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) for you to be able to use the findings legally. But if you wish to background check yourself, or find information on your roommates, neighbours, or a potential partner, then you can use a lookup tool like information.com, which provides the same information compiled from public records.

See also: 3 Ways to Remove National Consumer Center Virus or Scam

Level 3 National and State Criminal Searches 

The criminal search starts with a national search of electronic databases. Each state database is checked for offenses, including ones sexual in nature. State police, county courthouses, state corrections departments, attorney general offices, and multiple departments of law enforcement are combed for information. The searches also identify municipal-level misdemeanors and county-level felonies. Background check companies perform a Social Security Number (SSN) search too.

FCRA Section 607 must ensure the accuracy of all information provided. This means a compliant service provider will enforce procedures to assure maximum data reliability. When selecting a provider, make sure you take this into account. Even big names like HireRight have proven susceptible to fallacies.

criminal searches
criminal searches

State searches are a crucial component of any level 3 criminal background check. These can be a bit tricky because the procedure is different in each state. What the background check company will do in California will be different from what they’ll do in Mississippi.

See also: 9 Best Fake Social Security Number Generator Tools

Specialized Searches 

FACIS (Fraud Abuse Control Information System) searches on level 3 cover state Medicaid exclusions, HEAT force news, state contractor debarment and disqualification lists, Attorney General news, Medicaid/Medicare opt-out lists more. It’s critical to search national exclusion lists because a lot of medical care organizations get federal funding. Making payments to entities on an exclusion list comes with very high fines and legal fees. The risk of loss of reputation and that to patients is very real.

See also: How to Check RAM Frequency | 7 Simple Ways to Check


In sum, a level 3 background check always includes a physical search within the job candidate‘s jurisdiction and Social Security Number locations. These two searches will report many potential hits will report. In some cases, the screening company will send an employee down to the courthouse in person to check records. This is a best practice because electronic searches are not 100% reliable and accurate.

Sealed or expunged criminal records should not be reported. On every background check level, we must take care to avoid misidentification of a search target.

See also: [Updated] 8 Best Duplicate Content Checker Tools (2021)

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