South Carolina Background Clearance Information
South Carolina students are required to follow separate processes to obtain two different background clearances—one for Preclinical Experiences (PCE) and one for Demonstration Teaching (DT). For PCE, a local South Carolina background check or an FBI background check is needed. For DT, students will need to complete a state and FBI background check through the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). Detailed instructions on how to obtain these required clearances can be found below.
All SC DOE background checks must be less than 18 months old by the end date of your DT to meet South Carolina and WGU requirements. If your background check will expire prior to completion of your Demonstration Teaching, you will need to complete an updated background check by the background check deadline set for your cohort.
WGU can only accept your background clearance as described below. School district clearances are not acceptable for students in South Carolina.
PCE CLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS
Prior to PCE a student must complete either a local South Carolina background check (if South Carolina has been their only state of residence), OR a FBI background check (the student has lived in states other than South Carolina past the age of 18).
All background checks submitted for PCE must be less than two years old. To submit a PCE Clearance to WGU, you will need to send a confirmation of your completed PCE background check upload your background check results in your student Field Experience portal under PCE Background Clearance and/or DT Background Clearance.
DT CLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS
Prior to DT, students in South Carolina must have a cleared background check on file with the SCDE before they can begin the student teaching semester. Students must ensure that their SCDE's application files are complete approximately six months prior to their DT. The dates by which WGU Students must complete their SCDE background checks, application, and fee for their DT Clearance are February 15 for those in a Fall Cohort and June 15 for those in a Spring Cohort. Please plan to complete the required application, $105 fee, and background checks in advance of these deadlines to ensure they are completed on time. In order for your file to be complete, you will need to ensure that you have:
Your fingerprints will be used to check the criminal history records of the FBI and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Background reports generated through the fingerprinting process are used to determine an applicant’s eligibility for a South Carolina educator certificate. SCDE only accepts background reports obtained through the state’s approved fingerprinting process with MorphoTrust USA. In-state applicants must schedule an appointment for electronic fingerprinting at one of MorphoTrust’s IdentoGO centers, located in major population areas throughout the state. Out-of-state applicants must request a fingerprint card for submission to MorphoTrust. In addition to reviewing SCDOE Fingerprinting & Background Check Procedures, please examine the following options and procedures for completion of the fingerprinting process:
The SCDE usually receives federal and state background reports within two weeks of an applicant’s completion of the electronic fingerprinting process or of the vendor’s receipt of a fingerprint card from an out-of-state applicant. It is the student's responsibility to verify that the SCDE has received reports from both the FBI and SLED using the View Certification Status link on SCDE's website. When you are cleared, you will see "Student Teaching Status: Cleared" in red font underneath your personal information.
When you have completed the DT clearance requirement, upload a screen shot of your background check results in your student Field Experience portal under PCE Background Clearance and/or DT Background Clearance. The Certification Officer will verify this information with the SCDoE and update your records accordingly.
In certain circumstances, even though you have been cleared for demonstration teaching by WGU, the school district in which you are placed for field experiences may have an additional background check requirement that is not required by WGU. Or, the school district may make a different determination regarding a background clearance. You may be required to provide additional documentation to the school district. If so, you are also required to abide by the school district’s decision of approval or denial of the submitted background clearance information.
While we do our best to give you accurate and up to date information about your state requirements, we are not infallible. State requirements change frequently. It is your responsibility, and in your best interest, to double check certification and licensure requirements with your state’s Department of Education.
Background questions please contact WGU Background Specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-889-0132 option 5.
Article Number : 20132, 1411