For Educational Studies Fieldwork
In order to participate in fieldwork, all public and most private schools require education students to present the following clearances:
PA State Police Criminal Background Check (online instant)
PA Child Abuse Clearance (online, 2 - 7 days)
Federal Background Check (also known as FBI RAP/CHRI, requires fingerprinting)
All student teacher candidates must complete these three clearances before acceptance into the program.
If students or faculty need clearances for other College-sponsored activities that involve minors (such as volunteer programs, Lang Center activities, etc.) they should contact Sandra Briggs-Edwards, Act 153 Liaison, for directions or for copies of past clearances filed with Swarthmore. The process for attaining volunteer clearances is different and cheaper than the one used for education students. Usually schools and volunteer organizations will accept clearances completed through either process.
Students may see which clearances they have on file with Swarthmore by looking at the Act 153 section of Student Documents, in their mySwarthmore accounts.
PA law states that clearances are good for 5 years, but some schools/organizations may require that any new adult visitor present clearances that are less than one year old.
If you have questions about clearances or have concerns about submission of your personal information to the state or federal government (fingerprints, social security number, gender identification, citizenship status, etc.) please contact the educational studies fieldwork coordinator or your professor. We value your privacy and you need not share the specifics of your situation unless you wish to do so. We do have other options for students who cannot complete the clearances required for work with minors and we are committed to supporting undocumented students.
An arrest record does not necessarily disqualify students from working with minors but would necessitate a confidential review by the department chair, fieldwork coordinator and field site.
Educational Studies covers all clearance costs associated with coursework for the department. If a student has obtained PA clearances for other purposes, it may be possible to use them for Educational Studies fieldwork.
- Directions for a PA Criminal Record Check: Email Ruthanne Krauss with your full legal name, birthdate, and the reason for this check; for example, Spring ED 14 class. She will run the clearance, send you a copy and file a copy with the field coordinator/College.
- Directions for PA Child Abuse Clearance. Email the fieldwork coordinator to request a PA Child Abuse payment code (include your education class name). When ready, pull a copy of your clearance from your new online account, for your own records/use. The fieldwork coordinator will use your payment code to review the results and file them with the College.
- Federal Background Clearance Application: Make sure to read all the directions below, before you start this application.
If you have been a PA resident for 10 years, most schools will accept this PA resident Disclosure Statement, in place of a federal clearance. Ten-year PA residents should return the completed form to the fieldwork coordinator, who will file it with the College.
Before starting the online Federal Clearance application, contact the fieldwork coordinator to request a Federal payment/coupon code (include your education class name).
For students who can visit a PA fingerprinting site:
For students who cannot visit a PA fingerprinting site (read all directions before you start):
i) Contact the fieldwork coordinator to request a Federal payment/coupon code (include your education class name). This will pay for your PA application but not for your physical fingerprinting.