What sort of career are you looking at for yourself? If your prospective employer mentions a preemployment drug test, you may be prepared to be handed a urine collection cup.
But what if the person performing the test takes out a tiny pair of scissors instead? There are a few fields that still practice this method, as it detects drug use farther back in time. Read up on which industries commonly use hair drug tests and be prepared.
As of early 2021, the Department of Transportation no longer requires hair tests. However, if you plan to become a truck driver, your employer needs to know that you’re 100 percent clean. Truckers are in charge of heavy-duty machinery that can cause fatal accidents if the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They’ll test for the five most commonly abused substances: marijuana, cocaine, opioids (like heroin), PCP, and amphetamines.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation performs hair drug tests only if they suspect that employee has been abusing drugs. A simple 1.5-inch snip of hair can detect drug use from up to 90 days before the date of collection. If you plan to join the Bureau—or any federal institution, for that matter—steer clear of drugs in general. Be careful with how much alcohol you consume, too, as some hair drug tests will detect its presence.
If you live in an area where casino-style gambling is legal, you’ll need to have a clear head when working any table. Many casinos will take a hair sample, especially if you’re applying for a security position. You’ll need clear, sharp eyes to catch people counting cards! Even if marijuana is legal in your state, hold off on using it for at least 90 days before you apply for that job.
When applying for jobs, prepare yourself for every step of the preemployment process. If you want to work in a safety-sensitive environment, be ready to give a small snipping of your hair to a testing facility. Know which industries commonly require hair drug tests and use that knowledge wisely as you send in applications.