Required Clearances for Instructors, Interns, and Production Staff
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), anyone working with or observing children in public and private schools, IUs, and vocational-technical schools are required to provide proof of the following clearances:
- Federal Criminal History Record
- Pennsylvania State Criminal Record Check
- Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
Each pre-service teacher, supervisor, or researcher working in a school must obtain:
Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
- Fee: $10 - Applicant can apply online, or via postal mail (link available below)
Plan to obtain your clearances at least 2 months prior to needing them for clinical or work experiences. You should **always** retain the original clearances and provide **copies** to any school in which you are working.
Obtaining the Federal Criminal History Record
- The applicant should register online with Cogent Systems (www.pa.cogentid.com) or by calling 1-800-439-2486 prior to going to the fingerprinting center. Payment is made online at the time of registration by credit or debit card, or at the fingerprinting site by money order or cashier's check made payable to Cogent Systems. No cash or personal checks are accepted. Please record your registration number - it is a series of letters and numbers - you will need to provide this number to any school district, institution, or agency needing the results of your federal background check.
- The applicant then reports to one of the approved fingerprint centers. Click on either of the links below for hours and directions to the centers nearest to you.
- The fingerprints are scanned; the entire fingerprint capture process takes approximately 10 minutes. If you would like an unofficial copy of the results of your federal background check, you must order it at this time for a $2.00 fee - you will not be able to obtain it at a later date.
- The prints are then electronically transmitted to the PA State Police, who then submits the fingerprints and demographic information to the FBI as required by federal statute.
- Pennsylvania Department of Education will receive the Federal Criminal History Report from the FBI
- After you have been fingerprinted, you should provide any school district, institution, or agency which needs access to the results of your federal clearance with your registration number. They will access a secure database at PDE to view your results using their institution's username and password. They may not provide you with copies of this information. They should be able to access your clearance information within a week of fingerprint processing.
Further details regarding fingerprinting can be found on the Cogent Systems web site or the Pennsylvania Department of Education web site
NOTE: The Regulation allows an applicant to enter into a school for a single period not to exceed 90 days, except during a lawful strike, provided that all the following conditions are met:
- The applicant has applied for the background checks and can provide appropriate documentation
- The administrator has no knowledge about the applicant that would disqualify the applicant from employment
- The applicant affirms in writing that they are not disqualified from employment
- If the information revealed in the background check reveals the applicant is disqualified, the applicant will be subjected to termination
- The administrator requires that the applicant not be permitted to work alone with children and does work in the vicinity of a permanent employee.
Obtaining the Pennsylvania State Criminal Record Check
FOR PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENTS:
- This clearance may be obtained on-line if the applicant has a credit or debit card at https://epatch.state.pa.us
- If the applicant must use a money order, send it with the paper form (available online to the PA State Police. When filling out this form, the check the "School District" option under the "Reason for Request"
- The on-line response is virtually instantaneous the applicant prints the report from their computer. The mailed request can take up to 4 to 5 weeks for processing and will be mailed directly to the applicant.
FOR OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS:
- Out of State Residents must first obtain the Federal/FBI clearance (see above) and then submit the mailed request for the PA State Criminal Record Check with a copy of the FBI clearance results.
Obtaining the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
- The application is available online The supplied address must be the applicant's current home address and all information must be completed in full and to the best of the applicant's knowledge.
- When filling out the form, the check the "School" option under "Purpose of Clearance".
- The request can take up to 4 to 5 weeks for processing and will be mailed directly to the applicant.