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: The department Administrative Assistant will automatically run this clearance for you if you are enrolled in a course with a field placement. This is typically done once the add/drop period has ended for the semester.
- Directions for PA Child Abuse Clearance. The fieldwork coordinator will send each student enrolled in a course with a field placement component a payment code to run their PA Child Abuse Clearance. Students may pull a copy of their clearance from the online account for their own records/future use. The fieldwork coordinator will use the payment code to review the results for each student and file them with the College.
- Federal Background Clearance Application: Make sure to read all the directions below before you start this application. The fieldwork coordinator will send each student enrolled in a course with a field placement component a payment code to run their Federal Background Clearance. 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.
For students who can visit a PA fingerprinting site:
- Use Service Code: 1KG6RT which identifies the purpose, PA education student, for the federal clearance. This is different from the payment/coupon code, which covers the cost.
- You must be fingerprinted at a PA IdentoGo site (the Morton site is within walking distance of Swarthmore). If you need transportation assistance, contact the fieldwork coordinator.
- After you are fingerprinted, when the federal clearance is available, you will receive an IdentoGO email link to an unofficial copy. Please forward this email or the unofficial copy to the fieldwork coordinator who will use that to access your official clearance through her login. She will view the official results, share that copy with you and file it with the College.
For students who cannot visit a PA fingerprinting site (read all directions before you start):
- 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.
- Register for the Federal Background Clearance Application, using service code 1KG6RT, which is for education students. Once you enter the service code, four options will appear, one of which is to submit a fingerprinting card, instead of getting printed at a site in PA.
- Choose the fingerprinting card option and when complete, print out the registration card with barcode which you must mail to IdentoGO with a completed fingerprinting card.
- Next, contact local law enforcement agencies in your home state to see if they will fingerprint you for free. If IdentoGO has sites in your area, you can pay an additional fee to get fingerprinted by them or by other businesses that might offer the service, such as UPS; fees can range from $20-60, depending on your location. International students can use any agency or business in their home country that provides fingerprinting services.
- Educational Studies students can seek reimbursement for fingerprinting fees (with itemized receipt) for this cost through our academic assistant, Mary Kassab, but they should get pre-approval if the cost is over $60. Also contact Mary if you can't wait for reimbursement and need financial assistance with this piece.
- Most agencies/businesses will have the required blank FD-258 fingerprinting cards on hand but students should confirm this before going to the site. These cards must be printed on cardstock. You can also purchase cardstock FD-258 forms through Amazon. It is advised that you use a reputable fingerprinting source (see vii).
- If your fingerprints or forms are illegible, incomplete, or rejected by the FBI, you must start the process again, including paying new fees.
- Currently, IdentoGo reports that fingerprint cards typically take 4-6 weeks to complete. Some schools may allow you to start as a provisional volunteer as you wait for the results to come back; check with Swarthmore’s fieldwork coordinator to see if this is an option for you and to get the provisional paperwork.
- When the federal clearance is available, you will receive an IdentoGO email link to an unofficial copy. Please forward this email or the unofficial copy to the fieldwork coordinator, who will use that to access your official clearance through her login. She will view the official results, share that copy with you and file it with the College.