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What Clearances Do I Need To Teach In PA? How Do I Get Them?

Updated on January 23, 2012
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When becoming a teacher, or going into the schools in PA, there are 3 documents needed before they will let you in. They are the PA FBI Fingerprinting, The PA State Police Criminal Backround Check, and The Child Abuse Check. Here is how you go about getting them, and how much they cost.

PA FBI Fingerprinting

The first thing you need to do is to log on to http://www.pa.cogentid.com/index.htm. This will take you to the fingerprinting website. It's Cogent ID. When you get there, since you are getting these clearances to become a teacher, you would click on The Department of Education.

You will then see 6 different categories with items underneath to choose from. In order to get your fingerprinting done, you must register before you go. To do this, click Register Online underneath the Registration category.

After that, you will fill in all of your information in the correct boxes. They will then ask you to pay with your credit card. Make sure you click the box saying you want an unofficial copy. Otherwise, you won't get a piece of paper saying that you aren't a criminal. After you've done all that, print out the registration confirmation. Take this with you just in case their system didn't register you.

Now you need to know where you can go to get your fingerprints done. For this, you need to go back to the original website http://www.pa.cogentid.com/index.htm. Under the Print Site Locations there is a Print Locations & Hours tab. Click that. You will then see a map of PA. Click on your county and you will be shown where you can go!

The fingerprinting will cost you $33.00. The unofficial paper will cost you $2.50. So the total for this clearance is $35.50.


PA State Police Criminal Background Check

This background check can be filled out, paid for, and printed out on the spot. There's no waiting in the mail or going anywhere for it. To get to the website, you will need to go to https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp. In the middle of the page it says Credit Card Users. You want to find that and then click on Submit a New Record Check. After you click that, you will need to accept their terms.

Fill out the form that is now in front of you, and you'll pay at the end. After you pay, they will process who you are and you'll have your paper saying you're not a criminal in about 1 minute. Simply print this out and you're all set for that background check.

The cost for this background check is $10.00.


PA Child Abuse Background Check

The final, and probably the most time consuming background check is the Child Abuse Check. In order to do this, you'll first need to print off the Child Abuse Forms at http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/ucmprd/groups/webcontent/documents/form/s_001762.pdf.
The instructions are on this form. You will also need a $10.00 MONEY ORDER in order to pay for this background check. You can purchase them at Post Offices and Walmart. There are more places as well, they're just common ones.

Fill out the form and send it in with your $10.00 money order to the address on the form. These do not come back to you quickly, so if you need it in a week or so, don't expect it.

This background check costs you $10.00, plus the cost of the money order.


The total amount you'll spend on background checks is about $56.00. You need to remember to renew these each year so they are up to date. A pain, I know. But at least we know there aren't criminals in our schools!

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      James McCloskey 11 months ago

      With these explanations of requirements you need to also give the numbers for each clearance. This will save a lot time for the prospective teacher,