How Long Does a Pre-Employment Drug Test Take?

Whether you’re an employer implementing pre-employment drug testing or a candidate being asked to submit to testing, it’s not uncommon to be unsure how long results may take to arrive.

Oftentimes, employers are working with a fairly demanding timeline, so having a clearer understanding of the testing process can make it easier to plan accordingly.

What is a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

A pre-employment drug test is a screening required before a job candidate can receive an offer of employment for a potential employer.

Pre-employment screenings are becoming increasingly popular for their efficacy in reducing workplace drug use, providing employers with a viable solution to the expense and risk of workers that abuse drugs.

The specific drugs detected depends on the type of test selected by the employer, though most pre-employment drug testing assesses samples for the presence of marijuana, cocaine, PCP, opiates, and amphetamines.

Some employers may elect to require testing that also screens for alcohol or elevated levels of prescription drugs, particularly commonly abused opiates and sedatives.

Factors that Affect How Long  Pre-Employment Drug Tests Can Take

medical worker analyzing results from a lab test

There are a few different factors that can influence how long you’ll have to wait for the results of a pre-employment drug test.

Your results may be returned sooner or later depending on:

  • The type of drug test requested,
  • Specific drugs being screened,
  • Your lab provider, and
  • Whether your initial report is positive or negative.

Drugs Tested

The majority of employers utilize a standard five-panel test for pre-employment screenings. This test checks the sample for cocaine, cannabinoids (marijuana), cocaine, PCP, opiates, and amphetamines.

However, if a ten-panel test is preferred (which additionally screens for alcohol, barbiturates, methaqualone, benzodiazepines, methadone, and propoxyphene), results may require an additional day or two longer.

Drug Test Types

The type of drug test used for the screening process can also affect wait time. Some labs may require additional for shipping samples and reporting results.

The most commonly-used pre-employment drug test methods and their average turnaround time are:

  • Urine testing: 1-5 business days
  • Hair testing: 4-10 business days
  • Blood testing: 1-5 business days

Negative Test Results vs. Positive Test Result

Another element that impacts the turnaround for test results is the actual outcome of the screening.

If a drug test reports negative results, with no measurable substances, the sample has completed the testing process.  At that point, results will be available to the employer within three business days.

However, if a drug test comes back positive, additional testing is usually required to ensure accurate results and eliminate false positives.

In these cases, results may take up to five business days.

Lab Provider

Although three to five business days is the average time you can expect to wait for results, it’s important to consult with your selected lab provider to confirm the turnaround time.

Some labs may take longer to complete the testing process, so try to choose one with the experience and resources necessary for rapid testing.

Pre-Employment Drug Tests in Sugar Land, Texas

Lab testing professional holding up results from a drug test

ARCpoint Labs of Sugar Land provides an extensive selection of testing solutions for employers and individuals, offering convenient, professional drug testing to suit a wide range of needs.

Our highly-trained technicians administer each test with the utmost in professionalism and efficiency, ensuring fast, accurate results and a hassle-free testing experience.

By partnering with us, you’ll have the tools you need to combat drug use in the workplace and support a safe, productive work environment for all employees.

Contact us today to learn more about pre-employment drug testing and discover why ARCpoint Labs is a preferred provider of testing solutions in the workplace and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions

I took my drug test on Friday. When should I know the results?

At ARCpoint Labs of Sugar Land, on average, we offer 1-2 business day turnaround times for all drug tests.

If you’re getting a pre-employment drug test on Friday, we'd aim to have your results in by the following Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

How can I schedule my pre-employment drug test? 

You can call us at (346) 220-5407 or you can conveniently book online. If you have any questions, just let us know.