Background Checks
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State LawsArizona

Arizona Background Checks

A guide to Arizona background checks

Background checks help employers hire with confidence by reviewing information about a candidate’s work experience, education, qualifications, criminal history, and more. However, navigating applicable federal, state, and local laws and fair hiring practices can be challenging. Read on to learn about conducting compliant Arizona background checks.

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What Is An Arizona Background Check?

An Arizona background check searches public records and databases to provide information about a job candidate, contractor, or volunteer. Depending on the scope of the check, it may include information about a candidate’s educational background, employment history, credit history, driving record, criminal history, and more. Employers may choose which screenings to include based on the industry, position being filled, and company background check policy.

You may choose to have your human resources team conduct background checks in-house or partner with a consumer reporting agency (CRA) to conduct pre-employment screenings. A qualified CRA, like GoodHire, offers multiple background screening services to help support a comprehensive background check program. Working with a CRA can also make the process simpler and faster, while delivering reliable results and supporting compliance.

Why Employers Need Background Checks In AZ

An employment background check in Arizona can help you maintain a safe and productive workplace. Background checks help employers verify the information a candidate provides in a job application or interview and provide insight into a candidate’s history that may not show up in other areas of the hiring process.

By law, some employers in Arizona may be required to complete pre-employment background checks. For example, individuals applying for a contractor license must consent to an Arizona criminal background check. Employers in the childcare industry, including Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) licensed centers and group homes, Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) certified home providers, and Arizona Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) registered providers, are also required to complete pre-employment background checks on all employees and volunteers before their first day of employment.

What Shows Up On A Background Check In Arizona?

The information that appears on an Arizona pre-employment background check depends on the screenings you include and the scope of each search, as each type of background check will report different types of information. The screenings included may vary by industry, role, and company background check policy. 

Here are some common background checks Arizona employers may conduct to learn more about a candidate and verify the information they provide in a job application or interview:

  • Criminal background checks may show misdemeanor and felony convictions, arrest records, and pending criminal cases.
  • Education verification confirms colleges and universities a candidate attended, including enrollment dates, graduation dates, majors, and degrees or certificates earned.
  • Employment verification confirms previous employment information, including employers, dates of employment, and positions held.
  • Credit checks review a candidate’s credit history, including account payment history, accounts sent to collections, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. These checks are most common for positions with access to sensitive financial information.
  • MVR checks review a candidate’s driving record to check a candidate’s license status and safety record and are most commonly used when a position involves driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Civil background checks search lower and upper court records for civil judgments, liens, foreclosures, breach of contract, and more.
  • Drug testing indicates whether there is evidence of current or past use of certain illegal and prescription drugs.

How To Get An Arizona Employment Background Check

How to get a background check in Arizona will depend if you choose to gather information directly, like requesting records from the county courts, or if you use a qualified background check provider. If your hiring team handles background checks in-house, you often must order each screening separately, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. 

You can order some types of Arizona background checks online. For example, employers may request MVR records online from the Arizona Department of Transportation or submit a signed and notarized copy of the Motor Vehicle Record Request form by mail or in person.

Additionally, non-criminal justice agencies (like public school districts) that are eligible to receive criminal history records may request them through the Noncriminal Justice (NCJ) Compliance Program, which conducts fingerprint-based state and federal records checks. 

It’s important to note that Arizona state law prohibits the Arizona Department of Safety Central State Repository to conduct criminal history checks for agencies outside of the state for the purpose of employment.  

To verify a candidate’s employment history or education, you must contact each employer or educational institution individually.

Employers may conduct employment background checks in Arizona on their own, but many choose to partner with a screening provider to streamline the process and access the more comprehensive results. A qualified CRA, like GoodHire, can help make the process simpler and faster, while delivering more accurate results.

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Arizona Background Check Laws

Fair hiring laws at the federal, state, and local levels may impact how your organization handles pre-employment background screenings. If you’re unsure which Arizona employment background check laws and regulations apply to you, you may want to follow the strictest requirements and consult legal counsel.


Arizona’s statewide ban-the-box law prohibits applicable state agencies from asking about a candidate’s criminal record on a job application unless state or federal law prohibits a candidate from being hired due to prior criminal conduct. State agencies impacted by the law may inquire about a candidate’s criminal history after an initial job interview has been conducted. This law does not apply to private-sector employers.

Arizona Civil Rights Act (ACRA)

The Arizona Civil Rights Act applies to public- and private-sector employers. It requires employers to notify candidates that a previous conviction will not automatically disqualify them from the position if they are asked to disclose conviction information on a job application.

Arizona Senate Bill 1294

Under Arizona Senate Bill 1294, an individual may petition the court to seal certain criminal records. If the court grants the petition, candidates may say they have never been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of the crime in question in a job application or interview. 

Certain criminal history offenses are not eligible for expungement, such as those that would be prohibit an individual from obtaining certain highly regulated employment positions. For example, the law may not be applicable  to a candidate applying for a job in elder care who was convicted of abusing a vulnerable adult or a candidate applying for a position in a daycare facility if they were convicted of an offense against minors.

Arizona Senate Bill 1504

Under Arizona Senate Bill 1504, childcare personnel, including volunteers, must submit to a fingerprint background check through the Arizona Department of Public Safety before their first day of employment and every five years after that. The check includes a search of state and national criminal records, state and national sex offender registries, the Arizona Child Abuse & Neglect Registry, plus records and registries in all states where a candidate previously lived. The law applies to DHS licensed centers, DHS Group Homes, DES Certified Home Providers, and CC&R Registered Providers.

Disqualifying offenses include sex offenses, child abuse or abuse of vulnerable adults, violent crimes, and more.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA applies to employers that work with a CRA to perform background checks. This federal law requires employers to provide written notice to candidates of their intent to conduct a background check and receive written permission from the candidate before moving forward. Employers must also follow the FCRA’s adverse action process if you decide not to move forward with an employment decision based on the results of a background check.

County Resources

The information below about local ban-the-box laws and the availability of public records may be helpful for employers conducting pre-employment background checks in Arizona largest counties.

Coconino County

Coconino County encompasses 18,661 square miles, making it the second-largest county by area in the contiguous US and the largest in Arizona. It contains parts of Grand Canyon National Park, Navajo National Monument, and Lake Powell. Coconino County has 144,060 residents and is home to the Navajo, Hopi, Paiute, Havasupai, and Hualapai tribes.

Public Information & Records:

A ban-the-box law applies to positions within the county government.

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Maricopa County 

Maricopa County is Arizona’s most populous and the fastest-growing county in the United States. Home to 4.5 million people, half of the state’s population lives here. The county comprises 9,224 square miles and has one of the largest park systems in the US, with more than 120,000 acres of open spaces. Phoenix, the state capital, is Maricopa’s county seat.

Public Information & Records

Local ban-the-box laws apply to positions within the county government of Maricopa County and the city governments of Glendale, Phoenix, and Tempe.

Mohave County

Located in the Northwestern corner of the state, Mohave County includes parts of Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, and the Kaibab, Fort Mohave, and Hualapai Indian reservations. About a quarter of Mohave County’s 220,816 residents live in its most populous city, Lake Havasu City. Other notable towns include Bullhead and the county seat, Kingman.

Public Information & Records:

Pima County

About half of Pima County’s over one million residents are centered around Tucson, the state’s second most populous city and the county seat. Tucson is home to the University of Arizona, with an enrollment of more than 49,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Sabino Canyon, and Saguaro National Park showcase Pima County’s natural beauty.

Public Information & Records:

Local ban-the-box laws apply to positions within the county government of Pima County and the city government of Tucson.

Pinal County

Located in the central portion of the state, Pinal County is the third-largest county in Arizona, with a population of 464,154. The county’s landscape includes mountains and the low desert. It is home to Oracle State Park, Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.

Public Information & Records:

Yavapai County

Yavapai County is the size of Massachusetts and has a population of 246,191 people. Nicknamed the “mountain heart of Arizona,” Yavapai County is located in a Ponderosa pine forest. Prescott is the county seat and second most populous city, with 47,603 residents. Located about 100 miles from Phoenix, Prescott began as a gold and silver mining town and is now considered a center for trade in the region.

Public Information & Records:

How Long Does A Background Check Take In Arizona?

Turnaround times vary depending on the scope of the search and whether you choose to conduct the screenings yourself or work with a qualified background check provider. Results may be ready quickly if the information you need is available online, such as a sex offender registry search or Social Security number (SSN) trace. But if you need to contact past employers and educational institutions or visit local courthouses to search county court records, it may take several days or longer.

CRAs provide a single point of contact for multiple background check screenings and verifications, simplifying the process for employers. Additionally, they often have access to databases that can speed the process and provide fast, accurate results for your state of Arizona background checks. For example, GoodHire’s platform curates and hosts more than a billion records from more than 2,100 regularly updated sources, and continuously evaluates new sources for the most up-to-date data.

How Far Back Do Background Checks Go In Arizona?

How far back an Arizona background check goes depends on the screenings you include and whether you conduct the checks in-house or work with a CRA. Employers that work with a CRA must adhere to FCRA requirements, which limit the reporting of certain types of information. Under the FCRA, tax liens, civil judgments, accounts sent to collections, and arrests that didn’t result in a conviction may only be reported for seven years. Bankruptcies may be reported for 10 years. This seven-year lookback period doesn’t apply to jobs with a salary of $75,000 or more.

Some states limit the lookback period for criminal records to seven years. However, there is no 7-year background check law in Arizona, and criminal convictions may be reported indefinitely under the FCRA.

Employers that conduct background checks on their own may be limited by the availability of records from state sources. For example, uncertified MVR records are available for only three years, and certified copies of MVR records are available for five years. 

How Much Does A Background Check Cost in AZ?

The cost of a background check in AZ depends on the screenings you include and whether you conduct them yourself or work with a background check provider. If your hiring team conducts the background checks, you often must pay for each check separately. For example, certified MVR records from the Arizona DOT cost $3-$5 and the cost of a criminal records check through the NCJ Compliance Program ranges from $5-$22 per search. 

The cost of a more comprehensive background check from a CRA may range from approximately $25 to $100, depending on the scope of the check. Working with a CRA is often more cost-effective and can save you time compared to handling checks in-house. With GoodHire, now a Checkr company, background check packages start at $29.99.

Get An Arizona Background Check With GoodHire

GoodHire offers 100+ screening options for employers for Arizona employers, allowing you to select the screenings you need to create customized background check packages based on the role you’re hiring for and the associated risk. Our automated workflows and compliance tools help speed the hiring process and provide worry-free results. Get started with our fast, accurate background checks. 

Get An Arizona Background Check Today

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The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.