Act 114 of 2006, Section 111 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code outlines background check requirements for student teachers and the employees of public and private schools and their contractors.
The Act requires that:
all student teachers (participating in classroom teaching, internships, clinical or field experience) and prospective employees (including, but not limited to: administrators, teachers, substitutes, janitors, and office employees) of public and private schools, Intermediate Units and area vocational-technical schools, including independent contractors and their employees and bus drivers who have direct contact with children must provide to their employer a copy of their Federal Criminal History Record that cannot be more than one (1) year old.
More detailed information can be found here.
How to Obtain a Criminal History Background Clearance
Applicants MUST register prior to going to a fingerprinting site. Registration can be completed either on the phone or online.
1. The website to register is www.pa.cogentid.com and is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
2. Telephone registration is available at 1-888-439-2486, Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm EST.
3. Applicants should receive a confirmation number upon successful registration.
4. The fee for the FBI clearance is $33.00 and can be paid online with a credit card or by bringing a Money Order/Cashiers Check payable to “Cogent Systems” to the Fingerprinting site. No cash or personal checks will be accepted.
645 East Pittsburgh Street
Greensburg, PA 15601
In order to be fingerprinted, all applicants must have:
- A valid photo ID.
- A Money Order or Cashier’s Check payable to Cogent Systems (NOTE: If you were given a confirmation number when registering, please bring it with you to the fingerprinting site).
- Fingerprints will be taken at the The U P S Store in Greensburg.
- Hours of operation are 9:00 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
- Fingerprints will be scanned electronically, sent to the PA State Police, and submitted by the State Police to the FBI.
- Results of the Federal Criminal History Report will be forwarded to the applicant by PDE.
- PDE will print the Record on standard 8.5” X 11” paper with the Commonwealth Seal imbedded on the paper. This document constitutes an official Record.
- If you do not receive the Criminal History Record from PDE within eight weeks after being fingerprinted, you should call (717)783-3750 or email PDE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Obtain a Child Abuse History Clearance
Please read the instructions prior to downloading the form.
- Type or print clearly and neatly in ink Section I only.
- Address must be Applicant's current home address.
- All information must be completed in full. (The form asks for all previous names, addresses, and household members since 1975). This information must be provided to the best of your knowledge and belief. If necessary, attach additional pages.
- Application must be signed.
- Enclose a $10.00 money order for each application. No cash or personal checks accepted. Agency or business checks are acceptable (Mailing address is on the actual form in the top left text box).
- Do not send any postage paid return envelopes.
- Application should be placed in a business-sized or larger envelope prior to mailing.
- One block must be checked for Purpose for Clearance. Do not check more than one block.
- Check the *School Block if you are a prospective student teacher or prospective employee or contractor of a public or private school (School District, IU, Charter School, Career & Technology Center, Private Academic School, Non-Public School). See information below that applies to school employees.*
- Check the Child Care Block if planning to work in a day care setting or if all other blocks do not apply.
Clearance results will be mailed to you within 14 days from the date that the clearance is received by the state. There will be no replacements after 90 days. Failure to comply with the above instructions will cause considerable delay.
How to Obtain a Criminal History Record
There are two methods of requesting a Criminal Record:
1. Online Request
The Pennsylvania State Police has also established a web-based computer application called “Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History,” (PATCH) Using this system, a requestor can apply for a criminal background check on an individual. Eighty-five percent of the time, “No Record” certificates are returned immediately through the Internet to the requestor.
Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH) Web Site
2. Submitting a Request Form
Criminal History Request Form - SP4-164
This response is based on a comparison of data provided by the requester in Part I of the form against the information contained in the files of the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository only, and does not preclude the existence of criminal records which might be contained in the repositories of other local, state, or federal criminal justice agencies.
Download the Criminal History Request Form - SP4-164 (Updated 7-1-2009)
One Copy is to be submitted with a money order or certified check for the amount of $10.00 payable to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. After completion mail to:
Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository - 164
1800 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9758