Clearance Guidelines

Request for Clearance Information for Pre-Service Teachers

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), anyone working with or observing children in public, private, or charter schools are required to provide proof of the following clearances:

Each pre-service teacher working in a school must obtain:

  • Federal Criminal History Record
    Fee: $24.25 - Applicant must register online and then visit a fingerprinting facility
  • Pennsylvania State Criminal Record Check
    Fee: $8.00 - Applicant can apply online
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
    Fee: $10.00 - Applicant must apply online
  • Child Abuse Recognition and Mandatory Reporting Training
    Fee:  Free
  • TB (tuberculosis) Screening Test
    Fee:  Check with your health insurance coverage.  Average cost:  $40.00

If these clearances are not turned in by the end of the add/drop period in the term of registration, the student must drop any class requiring field placements. Furthermore, if there is a criminal infraction on any of these clearances, school placement for the school is unlikely, which will require the student to withdraw from the class. Decisions about permitting students to observe or do other tasks in a school are made by the school district and the principal. The University cannot guarantee that a person with entries in their criminal record will be permitted to do placements in a school. While State law bars certain offenders from schools, districts often impose more extreme requirements. Students who have entries in their records should consult the Director of Teacher Certification and Field Placements on whether a placement will be likely.

Plan to obtain your clearances at least 1 months prior to needing them for field placement experiences. You should always retain the original clearances and provide copies to the university and any school in which you are working.

Federal Criminal History Record
Fee: $24.25

  • Applicants must get fingerprinted for an FBI background check.
  • Applicants should register online with Cogent Systems (www.pa.cogentid.com).  Upon logging onto the Cogent site, you will see boxes on the webpage.  You will have to pick a “box” to start your clearance.  Be sure to pick Pennsylvania Department of Education.
  • The applicant then reports to one of the approved fingerprint centers. Find a fingerprinting center location near you.
  • 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 acceptedPlease record your PAE 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 fingerprints are scanned; the entire fingerprint capture process takes approximately 10 minutes.
  • 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. You will receive an unofficial copy by mail.
  • 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 (PAE 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.
  • If you have a question or an issue with your federal clearance, call 717.783.3750 or email the Pennsylvania Department of Education at dwolfgang@state.pa.usNeither Cogent Systems, nor the School of Education can provide the status or results of your report to you.

Further details regarding fingerprinting can be found on the Cogent Systems website or the Pennsylvania Department of Education web site.


Pennsylvania State Criminal Record Check
Fee: $8.00

ONLINE APPLICATION 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
  • 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.

APPLICATION FOR OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS or PA RESIDENTS WHO CHOOSE TO APPLY BY MAIL:


Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
Fee: $10.00

ONLINE APPLICATION:

  • Create an account and Apply online
  • When filling out the form, use your current address, and the check the "School" option under "Purpose of Clearance".
  • Your results may be available immediately. If not, you can log in at a later time to view the status of your results. The process can take up to 4 to 5 weeks for processing, and you will be mailed a copy of your results. You may call the Office of Children Youth and Families at 717.783.6211 or 717.783.6211 if problems arise.

Child Abuse Recognition and Mandatory Reporting Training
Fee: Free

https://www.reportabusepa.pitt.edu

Initially, you are required to set up a username and password.

After you create a username and password, log into the site. Click on the rrca-2008:  Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse link to start the training.

Once you launch the training use the NEXT button to continue to the next slide.  The slides are timed depending on the content of each slide.  You are not able to move to the next slide until the NEXT button appears.  Due to the timing of the slides, the training is approximately 3 hours.  You do not have to complete the course in one session.  If you need to stop mid-training, log out by using the  Close & Save: (X) button which is located in the top, right-hand corner of the slide.  During any future visits, a pop up message will appear asking if you would like to resume where you left off.  Please click the “Okay” button and you will pick-up where you stopped the training during your previous login.  You will be asked questions throughout the training.  It is necessary to answer the questions in order to complete the training.

A Certificate of Completion will be available to print upon completion of the course.  If you need to reprint your certificate, you may log back into the site, re-launch the course, and reprint at any time.


TB (tuberculosis) Screening Test

The TB test is to be obtained through your family physician or at a medical facility of your choice.   This testing requires two appointments (administration of the TB serum and “reading” of the test site).  Please plan accordingly, you are required to return 48-72 hours after the administration of the TB serum to have your test “read”.  TB tests are required on initial entrance into the Pitt-Greensburg education program and again prior to pre-student teaching.  Documentation from your health provider is necessary.


SPSEA (Student Pennsylvania State Education Association)

All education majors/minors are required to be members of SPSEA.  Membership fee is assessed as a lab fee attached for the Social Foundations course.  The SPSEA membership gives students in education many great opportunities to further their experience in the teaching profession.  As a member of this organization, you are able to attend all workshops for free AND you are provided with a $1 million liability insurance (Educators Employment Liability).

Please note: As long as a student remains continuously enrolled at Pitt-Greensburg, clearances and TB screening will not need to be updated until the semester prior to pre-student teaching.