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State law RCW 28A.410.010 requires all certification applicants to hold a valid Washington State certificate (Teacher, ESA, Principal, Conditional Teacher, etc.) or complete Washington State Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint checks prior and pre-residency clearance in order to be placed in a school setting where unsupervised contact with minor children will likely occur. 

Prior to field experience/internship/practicum, students must have a valid WA certificate on file or have completed the pre-residency clearance and have fingerprint clearance from both the WSP and FBI. Fingerprints are valid for 2 years and are required to stay current throughout the entire duration of your internship and must be current when your certificate is issued. If you work in a school and have been fingerprinted please notify the certification office. It is possible to use your fingerprints if they are current in the system and may require completing the pre-residency clearance only.

The requirements for validity are different for employees and certification students. 

Fingerprint Process Step One: Pre-Residency Clearance

All students need to create an online e-certification account through the EDS system. Creating the e- certification system will allow you to complete the pre-residency clearance as well as apply for your certificate upon completion of the program.

Creating an e-certification account

https://www.k12.wa.us/certification/e-certification-washington-state-educators

  1. Follow the steps on pages 1-12 of the “E-Certification College Candidate User Guide” located on the OSPI website: http://www.k12.wa.us/certification/e-cert/.
    1. NOTE: On the College/University Candidate guide it asks you to select e-certification under my application and notes that it could take 10-15 minutes to show up after you create an EDS account. This process is actually an overnight process so will not be available to you until the next morning. Check back the next day and if it's not showing up contact the certification office. 
    2. If you have ever held a job in a WA public school (certificated and non-certificated) you will have a record that needs to be attached to your account. In this situation we recommend filling out the "Data for Linking to a Certificate" section. If you do not claim your certificate at log in, you will create a duplicate record and OSPI will need to later merge your files.

  2. Once you are able to log into the EDS system and the overnight process has run, click on the "my applications" tab at the top or "View My applications" from the list. On your applications list, there will be a link to E-certification.

    Select View my applications from the home page or select My applications at the top.

  3. Click on e-certification and it will take you to the e-cert home page 

  4. Click on "My Credential" or "View Your Credentials Here"

  5. Hover over the "Education" drop down menu to see additional options 

  6. Click on Education History and click the "Click Here to Add Education History" link. Follow the wizard to input your educational history. 

  7. Hover over Educator and click on "Work History and follow the wizard to add professional education experience (in a school setting) and Other Employment Experience. If you have never worked in a school, you will only need to add to "other employment experience." Typically students document the past 1-2 jobs they have held. If you have worked in a Washington Public school, you may already have information entered under "Professional Education Experience." 

  8. Once you have filled out the required education and work history, return to the home page.
  9. Click on "Apply for a Washington Credential Here." Do note this is ONLY for the pre-residency, not your full residency certificate once you complete SPU's teacher preparation program." 

  10. Select the pre-residency application and complete the application listing SPU as your teacher preparation program. Please note this application is free. If you complete an application and they ask you for your credit card cancel the wizard because you are in the incorrect application!

A few notes: 

  • If you do not have a WA certificate or you have never worked in a WA public school, you will not have a WA certificate number at this point. If you have a WA certificate, it will be listed here. If you have worked in a school (uncertificated) you will have a number that starts with a Z that should show up here. 

No WA Certificate or no WA school job history


If you've worked in schools, job history should display here. Otherwise, add employment experience. 



  • SPU is found under the drop down but you do need to scroll as it is near the bottom of the list. 

Continue to step two to get fingerprinted. SPU cannot approve the pre-residency clearance unless your fingerprints have been cleared by the Washington State Patrol and the FBI. (Note: Once your fingerprints are cleared, you will be approved for pre-residency clearance and a letter will be mailed to your address on file. This letter is OSPI’s way of communicating to you that your pre-residency clearance has been approved. This does not qualify you for your internship if you are missing SPU items.)

Fingerprint Process Step Two: Fingerprints

There are two options for completing fingerprints through OSPI. You can either go to an Educational Service District (ESD) that does fingerprinting or you can go to a third party organization and be fingerprinted via live scan (will print you electronically and then provide you a physical fingerprint card) or via ink and roll (get printed with ink on a card).

Fingerprinting with the Educational Service District

  1. Confirm on the ESD website that the ESDs are conducting fingerprint services and verify cost.
  2. Make an appointment with the ESDs.
  3. Bring photo ID and payment with you to appointment
    1. Send a copy of your receipt to the certification office at: 
      Email: soe-cert@spu.edu 
      Fax: 206-281-2756
      Mail: 3307 Third Avenue West, Ste 202, Seattle, WA 98119

Seattle Pacific University is located within the Puget Sound ESD in Renton. 

Puget Sound ESD 121

Address: 800 Oakesdale Ave. SW, Renton, WA 98055:

Website: https://www.psesd.org/programs-services/administrative-management-services/certification-and-fingerprinting - Currently closed for fingerprinting until King County is in Phase 3. 


Please see OSPI for all ESDs in Washington: https://www.k12.wa.us/about-ospi/about-school-districts/educational-service-districts

Fingerprint using the Live Scan or Ink and Roll Method

Covid update: Most of the staff in the School of Education are working remotely. Please request a fingerprint card from oppfp@k12.wa.us or your ESD. The fingerprint card will be mailed to you. 

See the OSPI fingerprint instruction sheet for information to fill out fingerprint cards. Some sites will have fingerprint cards on location so call ahead to see if your location of choice has cards. 

  1. Request a fingerprint card 
    1. Email School of Education (soe-cert@spu.eduto request a fingerprint card. Please provide your current mailing address.
    2. Pick a fingerprint card up in the front SOE office. Available M-F from 9:00-4:30.
  2. Find a place that will fingerprint you. This can be a local sheriff’s department, police station, courthouse, etc. Price and availability will vary based on your location. Call or verify what you need to have with you to get fingerprinted at the location of your choice. Typically they will ask you to bring a fingerprint card and government issued photo ID but each location is different. Some locations may have fingerprint cards but call before you go to check availability. 
    1. Location near SPU: UW Police Department; 3939 NE 15th Avenue, Seattle - Currently only serving UW students 
    2. Appointments are needed, Cash only: http://police.uw.edu/faqs/fingerprinting/
  3. Once your card is completed and you are fingerprinted, mail fingerprint card and check /money order/cashier’s check, payable to OSPI, for $45.25* to:

OSPI

Attn: Fiscal Office PO Box 47200

Olympia, WA 98504-7200

4. Send a copy of your fingerprint receipt from the police department/ sheriff’s office to SOE certification at:

Email: soe-cert@spu.edu 

Fax: 206-281-2756

Mail: 3307 Third Avenue West, Ste 202, Seattle, WA 98119

 * Please note that OSPI can change the fee for fingerprinting and colleges are not notified. Before sending in a check please double check the OSPI webpage to ensure the fee is up to date http://www.k12.wa.us/ProfPractices/fingerprint/Procedure-Fees.aspx. If you do not pay the exact fee, your fingerprint card will be rejected and you will need to send OSPI another check. 

Additional information about fingerprinting:

  • The entire fingerprint process can take anywhere from 48 hours to six months to complete. Fingerprints can take longer if they are rejected and need to be resubmitted – OSPI will notify you via mail if that is necessary. (This is why it is important to have your current address on your fingerprint card.)
    • Reasons for card rejection are: poor print quality, no fee/wrong fee enclosed, missing personal information, OPP item. Please contact the certification office (soe-cert@spu.edu) if you have more than one fingerprint rejection.
    • Once cleared by the FBI, your fingerprints are valid for two years. You will not need to be reprinted during your time at SPU if you complete the program and receive your certificate within that time. Should your fingerprints expire prior to certification, you will need to be reprinted at your own cost. 
      • Please note that some districts have additional requirements for candidates in their building. SPU cannot override what the districts require. 
    • If your fingerprints get rejected and you lose your rejected fingerprint card please contact the Fingerprint Records Office at (360) 725-6135 for further instruction.
      • If you were fingerprinted through the Department of Early Learning (DEL)/ Department of Children, Youth, and Family (DCYF) please see OSPI:http://www.k12.wa.us/ProfPractices/fingerprint/Resources.aspx (click on the Instruction Sheet for Dept of Children, Youth, and Family employees). It is possible to use your fingerprints but this process can take extra time. Please note your fingerprints still need to be valid for the entire duration of your program. Your expiration date will be based on when your fingerprints were initially cleared, not when you submit your clearance to OSPI. 

If you have questions, contact the certification office (soe-cert@spu.edu) or the main office 206-281-2214 to be routed to the appropriate person.



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