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Expungement/Sealing of Records and Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE)

This guide is for...

  • Summit County residents with a criminal record who meet specific requirements and who are interested in removing certain barriers to employment, housing and occupational licenses.
  • Three of the tabs match one of the University of Akron Reentry clinics and there are additional tabs for Certificate of Achievement and Employability and Juvenile Records which fall outside of the services provided by the clinic. 
  • If you live within the service area of the Legal Clinic and you plan on using the Legal Clinic, then use this guide to learn about the process and what the requirements are for each category of reentry.
  • If you live outside of the service area of the Legal Clinic, you will find links to instructions and forms on each web page explaining how you can file the requests yourself.



The University of Akron School of Law has a Reentry Clinic, which includes the following clinics:

Expungement Clinic

Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE) Clinic

Clemency Project 

Human Trafficking Clinic

Click on the tabs above for information about these clinics.

Also see the Expedited Pardon Project

Reentry in Ohio

Until recently "Expungement" and "Sealing of Records" in Ohio both meant the same thing.  Both expungement and sealing referred to the court file becoming inaccessible to the public, but maintained by the court.   134th General Assembly, Senate Bill 288, effective April 4, 2023 created a true "expungement", where the record is deleted, destroyed and erased so that it is permanently irretrievable, except in very limited circumstances.  Not all crimes can be sealed or expunged.

Certificate of Qualification for Employment will allow persons living in the community who have a previous felony or misdemeanor conviction to apply to the court to lift the collateral sanction that bars them from being considered for employment or a professional license. (129th General Assembly, Senate Bill 337)

Pardon in Ohio is an act of mercy or leniency from certain consequences of a criminal conviction, and is exercised by the Governor after receipt of a recommendation from the Parole Board. 

Certificate of Achievement and Employability is a certificate program administered by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction that will give employers relief from civil liability for hiring an offender who was trained for a particular job. (129th General Assembly, House Bill 86)

Note that the bills linked above are the original versions of the legislation. Check the Ohio Revised Code for what is currently in force. The other tabs in this guide provide links to the relevant code sections.

Click on the tabs above for more information about these options.

Web Resources