Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE)

A Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE) is a document issued by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) after Court approval which can help remove certain barriers to employment for people convicted of felonies and misdemeanors.  A CQE allows employers and government licensing boards to hire or award professional licenses to people who were not legally allowed to do certain jobs under prior law, and gives legal protection against claims of negligent hiring to employers who hires applicants with CQEs.  A CQE does not guarantee a license or a job, but it may help make the process easier.

Any Trumbull County resident who has committed a felony or misdemeanor, regardless of where the crime was committed, may file a petition for a CQE in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. Persons convicted of felonies must wait until one year after any incarceration, supervision, or other sanction has ended to apply, while those convicted of misdemeanors must wait six months.

CQE applicants must first fill out an online petition application with the ODRC, which will review the application and then notify the applicant by email when it is ready for filing with the Common Pleas Court.  Applicants must then print out their completed ODRC petition and take it to the Clerk of Court’s office for filing.  The applicant must then fill out a local petition cover sheet (available from the Clerk) and submit a $50 Deposit.  An Affidavit of Indigency may be filed to request a reduction or waiver of the deposit. 

Once a CQE petition is filed, the Court will gather information about the applicant’s criminal record, seek input from the Prosecuting Attorney and the courts where the applicant’s convictions occurred, and, if necessary, seek additional information from the applicant.  Within sixty days after completing the gathering of all necessary information, the Court will then render its decision and mail it to the applicant.  If the CQE is granted, the actual certificate will come from the ODRC, and can be downloaded and printed out.

The ODRC’s CQE page, including a link to the online petition application, is at the following link:


More information about CQEs is available at the following link:


CQE Forms

Submission of Information

Notice to Prosecutor

Notice to Court

Affidavit of Indigency

Petition for CQE