Pre-employment drug testing

Maintain a safe and productive work environment by implementing an employment drug testing program with Checkr.

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Checkr Customer

Top reasons employers conduct drug testing

For many industries and organizations, pre-employment drug testing helps maintain a safer, more productive work environment. Here are three reasons to drug test for employment:

Promote high standards of safety

Pre-employment and routine drug testing protects the safety, health, and welfare of employees and customers.

Comply with regulations

Industry-specific laws and regulations, as well as your corporate policy, may require drug testing.

Lower workers’ compensation rates

Drug screening helps prevent on-the-job accidents and injuries related to alcohol or drug use.

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Why drug testing is important

The nation’s ongoing crisis of illegal substance abuse makes drug screening for employment a growing focus for employers across the country. A drug screening program helps:

Prevent drug use on the job

Routine drug screening helps ensure employees remain free of substance abuse on and off the job.

Reduce absenteeism and turnover

Drug-free workplace policies can reduce absenteeism and improve productivity and worker retention.

Safeguard assets

Drug testing may help prevent fraud, embezzlement, or other forms of workplace theft to fund an addiction problem.

“Knowing we can trust Checkr helps our clients trust us”

“Knowing the level of support we do have is a huge reassurance. Our account manager is incredibly responsive. For Field Nation, reliable and accurate background checks and drug screenings are imperative. Knowing we can trust Checkr helps our clients trust us. That’s the key to our success.” 
Field Nation
Nicole Berg, Director of Provider Experience & Recruitment
“With Checkr’s API and toolset, we can quickly and effectively background large numbers of operators (workers). They’re a long-term, strategic partner for us.
Noah Labhart, Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer

Checkr’s pre-employment drug tests

Checkr empowers you to carry out comprehensive checks while remaining in compliance with all federal and state laws. With Checkr, you can customize background check and lab-based drug test packages to align with your company’s drug policy. Candidates have access to more than 6,100 clinics across the country, and results are returned to your Checkr dashboard for easy review. Checkr also offers onsite oral fluid drug testing.

Multi-panel drug screenings

Test options are available for any combination of drugs, from 4- to 10-panel screens. These include blood, urine, hair, and breath tests. Both lab-based and onsite screening is available.

Onsite drug screening

Onsite testing enables you to administer tests at your desired location, giving you control and flexibility over when and where your testing takes place. Results are same-day, and returned to your Checkr dashboard.

Occupational health screening

Determine a candidate’s physical fitness for a job with a specialized medical evaluation, which includes a physical exam and may include a drug test. Learn more.

Illustration of Checkr candidate portal for drug testing

Advantages of lab-based drug testing with Checkr

Checkr’s technology handles the logistics of scheduling candidates and interpreting results so you can manage everything in one central system. At Checkr, we help you:

Improve the candidate experience

We simplify the drug test process, making it easy for candidates to schedule and locate a nearby test location.

Reduce candidate drop off

Our candidate portal makes getting support easy, which reduces frustration and keeps candidates in the funnel. 

Improve report ordering efficiency

The Checkr dashboard makes it easy for you to customize your drug test packages based on location and position.

Checkr Product Visual Drug Screening Results Onsite Shape

Advantages of onsite drug testing with Checkr

Get greater control over your drug screening program with onsite testing. By administering tests onsite, you no longer have to rely on varying clinic availability and lab processing times.

Rapid drug testing results

Tests are administered in-person, onsite and results are delivered same-day, saving you valuable time.

Routine or reasonable suspicion testing

In the event of incident testing, tests can be ordered and completed instantly onsite from a single device.

Scalable drug testing experience 

Our onsite offering is fully integrated with the Checkr dashboard, so you can order, view, and manage everything in one central system. 

Which drug testing program works for your organization?

Onsite drug testing

  • Administered onsite
  • Collected by the employer
  • Same-day results
  • Oral fluid (saliva) collection
  • Nearly identical results: 98% or better accuracy
  • Ideal for in-person work environments

Lab-based testing

  • Candidates must go to a lab site (and may be required to book an appointment)
  • Results in 2-5 business days
  • Options include: oral fluid, urine, blood, hair, and sweat
  • More flexible for remote working

Get started with pre-employment drug testing.

Frequently asked questions

Learn more about pre-employment drug testing

Employers want to hire qualified candidates for their open positions. While employment and education checks help to ensure potential employees have the necessary skills, a pre-employment drug test can help reduce the costs and risks associated with drug use in the workplace. Conducting these screenings may also help you comply with state and federal laws that require employers to maintain a drug-free workplace.

What is pre-employment drug testing?

Pre-employment drug testing is used to detect the presence of alcohol and controlled substances in the specimen provided, such as blood or urine. Employment drug testing helps you determine a candidate’s fit and eligibility for a role, while helping to maintain a safe workplace. Some positions, such as those regulated by the US Department of Transportation (DOT), require a drug test for employment. Other safety-sensitive positions such as manufacturing, warehouse, or healthcare environments may also use pre-employment drug testing.

What does a pre-employment drug test screen for?

A pre-employment drug test typically screens for the following substances:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone/Methaqualone
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine
  • Propoxyphen

Employers may select from numerous types of drug tests, depending on company policy and the substances they wish to identify. Common drug screening types include blood tests, urinalysis, hair testing, oral fluid testing, and breath alcohol testing. 

These screening types are available as “panels,” each testing a certain number of substances: 5-panel, 7-panel, 9-panel, and 10-panel and so forth. The 5-panel drug test is the most common pre-employment drug screening and detects amphetamines, cannabinoids (THC), cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). 

What happens if you fail a pre-employment drug test?

If a candidate fails a pre-employment drug test, employers should consult their company’s written drug policy and review applicable federal and state laws to determine how to proceed. False positives may impact results and some states allow candidates to explain a positive test result within an allotted number of days. Drug testing conducted through a consumer reporting agency (CRA), like Checkr, must comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which outlines the adverse action process should a drug test impact an employer’s hiring decision. State pre-employment drug test laws vary from state to state but can often guide next steps (or consequences) for a candidate’s failed drug test. 

How long does it take to get drug test results for employment?

Once the candidate or employee provides a sample or specimen, most drug test results are returned within three business days. Specimens that require additional testing and results that require a Medical Review Officer to follow-up with the candidate may extend the turnaround time. Using a paper-based process may also cause delays.  

How do you know if you passed a pre-employment drug test?

If the drug test results are returned as negative that means no evidence of the substance was detected in the specimen. If the test shows a positive result, that generally means evidence of the substance was detected. With Checkr, employers and candidates can easily view the final results (indicated as negative or positive) of a pre-employment drug test using the online Checkr Dashboard and Candidate Portal. Employers should review their drug policy to understand how to interpret the results while remaining compliant with hiring laws.

How pre-employment drug testing works

A drug testing program includes several steps, but before getting started, your organization needs to have a written drug screening policy in place that aligns with any federal and state laws with which you must comply. Keep in mind that some states have specific laws or guidelines relating to pre-employment drug tests in relation to employment. For example, most states require a conditional offer of employment be made before requiring candidates to submit to a drug test or occupational health check. Please work with your legal counsel to ensure that you are meeting these requirements.

Here is a general guide to how employment drug testing works with Checkr:

  • In your Checkr dashboard, issue an invitation to a candidate to participate in a pre-employment drug test.
  • The candidate receives the invitation then schedules and completes their appointment before the deadline set by the customer. 
  • Once the screening is completed, results are reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). 
  • Final results are posted to the Checkr dashboard for your review, and to the candidate portal. 
  • Drug test results are returned as either negative or positive. Negative indicates that the employment drug screen revealed no evidence of the listed substance. Positive generally indicates that the test revealed evidence of one or more of the listed substance(s).

Run a compliant drug testing program with Checkr

Checkr enables businesses of all sizes to easily manage their pre-employment drug testing. We offer numerous options for pre-employment drug screening, including standard multi-panel and DOT-regulated screenings for streamlined hiring. Job candidates are able to easily schedule their screening online, while our extensive network of more than 6,100 clinics delivers timely, reliable results with Medical Review Officer verification. Get started today


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.

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