Q: What background checks and clearances do I need before I can student-teach?

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

A: Different clearances are needed for different courses in the curriculum and instruction majors. For an up-to-date listing, visit

Required FBI clearances include a fingerprint-based background check. Due to a recent change in the state’s contracts for fingerprint services in Pennsylvania, Penn State University Police will no longer be able to provide fingerprint services for University Park campus community members on the campus. However, services will still be available in State College.

This is a statewide change. As of Nov. 28, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has transitioned from its former provider, Cogent, to security and identity company Idemia to process fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks. Idemia's fingerprint service provider, IdentoGO, declined to offer on-campus fingerprinting services.

However, IdentoGO will continue to offer services off-campus at Advantage Resource Group, located at 111 Sowers St., Suite 300, State College.

Penn State University Park Police Services had offered fingerprint services, through Cogent, on campus since the early 2000s. The services were revised beginning in 2015 as part of the University’s operational plan for conducting background checks required by the expanded Child Protective Services Law in Pennsylvania. Cogent ceased all operations on Nov. 11.

This also will impact Penn State's other campus locations. To find the Pennsylvania IdentoGO location nearest each campus, visit

Penn State will continue to communicate with Idemia to address challenges resulting from this change, and develop solutions. Contact the Office of Ethics & Compliance, Youth Programs Compliance, at 814-865-8785 for more information.

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Last Updated January 31, 2018