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Frequently Asked Questions - Requirements for Student Teachers

Federal Criminal History Records and PA State Police Criminal History Record – Requirements for Student Teachers

1. Does the law apply to “student teachers”?
Yes. Act 114; ( 24 PS 1-111 as amended ) includes background check requirements for “student teacher candidates”, defined as an individual participating in a classroom teaching, internship, clinical or field experience who, as part of a program for the initial or advanced preparation of professional educators, performs classroom teaching or assists in the education program in a public or private school, Intermediate Unit (IU) or Career and Technology Center (CTC) under the supervision of educator preparation program faculty.

2. When is the background check required?
It is required prior to a student teacher candidate’s participation in any classroom teaching, internship, clinical or field experience.

3. To whom is the information provided and who maintains a copy?
The student teacher candidate provides the required Federal criminal history record and the PA State Police Criminal History Record to the administrator of his or her educator preparation program. The administrator of the educator preparation program is responsible for maintaining a copy. The penalty provisions of the Act are applicable to the administrator.

4. Does the law require the student teacher candidate to obtain a new background check each year?
No. If a student teacher candidate is continuously enrolled in an educator preparation program, the student teacher candidate would not be required to have a new background check each year.

5. When is the student teacher candidate required to obtain a new background check?
New Federal criminal history record and PA State Police Criminal History Record is required if the individual’s enrollment in an educator preparation program is interrupted or if that candidate transfers to another educator preparation program. However, if the first background check is less than one year old, it may be used for the new program.

6. Will student teacher candidates transferring from a Community College program to a College/University program need to submit new criminal reports? (Reprinted from PDE website, FAQs, Question No. 28)
A new background check is required if the individual transfers from one program to another. However, if the first background check is less than one year old, it may be used for the new program.

7. Who is required to verify that the student teacher candidate has been continuously enrolled?
The administrator of the student teacher candidate’s educator preparation program is responsible for verification to the public school, private school, IU or CTC that the individual has been continuously enrolled in the educator preparation program.

The higher education institution will know if the student has skipped a semester or enrolled or transferred to another institution. When that occurs, the higher education institution is responsible for communicating with the student teacher candidate as to that student’s responsibility for obtaining a new Federal background check.

8. What if I have questions about the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and procedures for student teachers?
Please direct questions to the Department of Public Welfare's Office of Children, Youth and Families, ChildLine and Abuse Registry at (717) 783-6217.


For additional information, please contact:

Denise Wolfgang | Administrative Assistant
Pennsylvania Department of Education - School Services Office
333 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.783.3750
dwolfgang@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us