The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires that students entering public schools for observations and practicum experiences (including student teaching) must obtain the following security clearances:
- Act 34: Pennsylvania State Criminal History Record
- Act 114: FBI Fingerprints (Federal Criminal History Record)
- Act 151: Pennsylvania Child Abuse Background Check
- Tuberculosis Test
Clearances and Registration
EDUC-265, 320, 350, 375, and 443 have field experiences, and students must obtain clearances prior to being enrolled in these courses. NOTE: In the case of EDUC-265, 320, and 375, these courses will appear “grayed out” in the Course Schedule during registration, and you will be automatically waitlisted during registration until you turn in your clearances to the Education Department. Once you have done so, the Registrar will enroll you in the course(s).
Students planning to enroll in student teaching (EDUC-405) must apply for and submit to the department a new (updated) set of clearances by the beginning of the preceding semester; for example, if you plan to student teach in the spring of your senior year, you must have updated clearances in hand by the beginning of the fall semester. Clearances must be valid—that is, not more than one year old—from the beginning of student teaching through the date when it is completed. (Step-by-step instructions for the clearance process below can be found here.)
Applying for Clearances
Act 34 – Pennsylvania State Criminal History Record
This clearance can be completed and paid for online with a credit card (cost: $10.00): https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp. Be sure to print the certificate and not just the receipt.
You can also apply by mailing this form: http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/Resources/Documents/Pdf/FillInForms/statepolice-bkgd.pdf
Act 114 – FBI Fingerprints (Federal Criminal History Record)
- Registration online or by phone: Before visiting one of the PA sites, register at https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_pde.htm or by phone (1-888-439-2486, Mon-Fri, 8 AM-6 PM). Walk in service without prior registration will not be provided at any fingerprinting location.
- Payment: Payment of $28.75 may be made in advance (during registration) using a debit or credit card. Money orders or cashiers checks payable to “3M Cogent Systems” will be accepted on site for applicants who do not have the means to pay electronically. No cash transactions or personal checks are allowed. Your resulting registration number must begin with “PAE.”
- Visiting a Pennsylvania fingerprinting site: After registering online or by phone, go to one of the fingerprint sites listed. To see the sites, click on the link above then click on Fingerprint Locations and Hours. Bring a state or federal photo ID. Fingerprinting must be completed at a site in Pennsylvania.
- Results: Once you have your fingers scanned, e-mail the Education Department secretary (email@example.com) your 16 digit number beginning with PAE. Your results can be downloaded within 24 hours. Otherwise, an unofficial copy of the results will be mailed to you. If you don’t receive the report within three weeks of having your fingerprints taken, please call 888-439-2486 to check on your application. Your registration will expire after 30 days. The office is open 9-11 AM and 1-4 PM.
Detailed instructions for this process can be found at: https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_pde.htm (under “Registration Information”)
Act 151 – Pennsylvania Child Abuse Background Check
You can now apply for this clearance online and receive quick results! Place the following link in your browser: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home. If need be, follow our instructions on the above mentioned instruction sheet.
You can also apply through the mail. NOTE: the processing time for this clearance if done through the mail can be up to 6 weeks so plan ahead.
Print the following application form and submit it by mail: http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/form/s_001762.pdf
The cost is a $8 money order payable to Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. The application and money order must be mailed to the PA Department of Human Services. Make a copy of your money order and request form. You may call 717-783-6211 or 1-877-371-5422 to check on your application.
Tuberculosis (TB) Test
The test can be administered by your doctor or the Ursinus College Wellness Center (for traditional students only), 789 Main St. (610-409-3100). It should be done within three months of your first field experience. The form necessary for your results can be found by clicking on this link.
Submitting Clearances to the Education Department
Please complete the clearance process and scan/mail clearances to Carol Royce at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you still have questions after reading the preceding carefully, please contact Carol Royce (email@example.com) in the Education Department.