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Jobs for someone with an OTH discharge for marijuana use?


Mario Hernandez Tomkins Cove, NY

Like is it possible to become an FBI agent or paramedic for a fire department?

15 February 2019 2 replies Career Exploration



Tim deCordova Palm Bay, FL

Hello Mario
There are several issues to tackle here so let me see if I can provide some insight.
I cant speak for the FBI, but considering how competitive it is, I highly doubt they would hire someone with previous military Marijuana usage. The OTH would be a definite no-go. Think of it this way, they have 10K applicants that don't have an OTH nor marijuana use, so there isn't really a need to go down that road. In short, most federal agencies frown on anything that isn't Honorable Discharge. For an alphabet agency security clearance, they ask drug use questions going back 7 years but they do not like OTH.

As for the fire service, I have direct knowledge of this industry. During my background check they asked about ANY drug usage EVER. (Each state may vary). The application form also asked if I had been discharged from military with anything other than an Honorable Discharge. But there is a reason for this. You are put in a position of trust, you are in people's homes, you have access to narcotics and other drugs. Most agencies have policies that protect themselves liability wise for prior drug usage. The paramedic school I attended, any drug usage was a non starter (each school may vary) for obvious reasons. The fire service is typically hyper competitive. In southern California, there were 35 thousand applicants for 25 slots. The testing process whittles that down to about 200. The interviews and background process yields the top 25 people. I say this to illustrate the fact that you will be competing with thousands of people who have a clean background and no OTH. Not to say its impossible but you need to be realistic. Having an OTH isn't an automatic disqualifier, but when asked about it in an Interview with fire officers, they may view it as someone using poor judgement and not willing to follow rules. Even the industry I am in today in an aerospace company, they will not hire anyone with an OTH or recent drug usage (10 years). The reason for this is because you would have a difficult time getting a security clearance

You didn't indicate how long ago this occurred and what you have been doing to improve yourself since that time. One bad decision shouldn't prevent you from being successful in the future but you may consider looking at other career fields. . I have never seen anyone in the fire service have an OTH. I never want to discourage anyone from their dream jobs but you need to know the ground truth to start.


Jodie Prieto-Rodriguez Pittsburgh, PA

It depends on your RE and Separation code on your dd214. The FBI background check process will immediately request the legal proceedings from the military asking why its an OTH. Paramedics and fire departments will not be able to request the proceedings.

Regardless of the code; I find it better to be honest about what occurred and state what tangible steps you have taken to change your ways and progress your career.

The FBI, CIA, NSA, and most federal jobs will bring up the matter prior to a decision being made on your employment. The FD and Paramedic jobs have a varied process that may or may not ask before an interview.

Either way; own the situation and show what value you can potentially add to their organization.

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