WA Background Clearance Information

Washington Background Clearance Information

All background checks submitted to the WGU certification office must be less than two years old to meet WGU requirements. WGU can only accept your background clearance as described below.


To be cleared for preclinical experiences and demonstration teaching in Washington, you must complete a fingerprint background check and a Pre-Residency Clearance application. 

(Note: If you already hold a Washington substitute or teaching license, then you do not need to complete either of these steps. Upload your a copy of your certificate in your student Field Experience portal under PCE Background Clearance and/or DT Background Clearance, and a Background Clearance Specialist will verify your license through a secure online portal.)

(Note: If you already completed a background for a school district, upload a copy of your background check results in your student Field Experience portal under PCE Background Clearance and/or DT Background Clearance, to verify whether your background check was completed through the OSPI or not. If completed through the OSPI, you only need to complete section B below.) 


NOTE: WGU has access to OSPI's database. If you currently hold any credential or have completed prints, WGU is able to view them. Please do not ask OSPI to send us results of your clearance.

A. Complete a Background Check

Students in Washington are required to complete state and FBI background checks through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). To do so, see the Fingerpint Procedure, Fees, and Payment instructions. Contact the Educational Service District (ESD) Office** nearest you to make an appointment to complete Livescan fingerprinting. If you can't access a Livescan location at one of the ESD's, you may call the OSPI to have a fingerprint packet mailed to you. The day of your appointment, you will be required to pay the fee for Livescan fingerprinting. Your fingerprints will be sent automatically to the Washington State Patrol and the FBI.

How to notify WGU your Background Check process has been completed: Upload a message "I have completed my OSPI fingerprinting process" in your student Field Experience portal under PCE Background Clearance, to notify the Background Clearance Specialists that you have completed your OSPI fingerprinting process. WGU will verify your clearance has been completed through a secure online portal after you submit your pre-residency clearance application (see below).

Note: Some ESDs no longer offer livescan fingerprint services. You may need to travel to another ESD, travel to the WSP Criminal Records Division in Olympia, or submit fingerprint cards by mail.

B. Submit a Pre-Residency Clearance Application

Those who are attending in-state schools, like Western Governors University - Washington, must apply for a pre-residency clearance before they can complete field experiences. Consult the Washington Candidate User Guide, (pre-residency clearance application information begins on page 5). Then, follow these steps:

1. Visit the Education Data System (EDS) portal and click on the "Create an Account" tab.
2. After you register, click on "My Applications," then click on "E-Certification." (In some cases, it may take at least 15 minutes and up to 24 hours for "E-Certification" to appear)
3. If necessary, update all of your personal information. Then click on "Apply for a Washington Credential Here" at the bottom of the screen.
4. Apply for Document Code 4050: Pre-Residency Certificate Clearance
5. Complete Steps 1-5. On Step 6, select "WGU Washington" as your institution. Complete all remaining steps.
6. Upload a message "I have completed my pre-residency application" in your student Field Experience portal under DT Background Clearance, to notify the Background Clearance Specialists that you have submitted your Pre-Residency application. We will then verify your background check, process your pre-residency application, and post your clearance to your Field Experience Record. If your application is flagged for review, the Office of Professional Practices will review your application and contact you directly after several weeks.

Note: New students must officially begin coursework at WGU before we can process their pre-residency clearance application.

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.  


Background questions please contact WGU Background Specialists at tcbackgroundcheck@wgu.edu  or call 866-889-0132 option 3.





Article Number: 20290, 2868