Students who are pursuing an initial teaching license are required to complete a background check prior to pre-student teaching experiences (observation or practicum experiences) and prior student teaching. The Educator Preparation Program at Iowa State University maintains high standards for future teachers. All internal policies used to evaluate criminal misconduct charges have been approved by the Office of University Counsel. Please note, there are criminal misconduct charges that may prohibit progression through the three decision points.
Early Field Experience Practicum Background Checks
Depending on the course requirements, students will complete one or both of the following:
Iowa Background Check
Students must complete the Iowa background check before they participate in the practicum teaching experience – before they enter an experience with students.
To initiate the Iowa background check, do the following:
- Review the Student Self-Reporting of Alleged Criminal Misconduct Policy.
- Save, fill out, print and then sign the following forms as part of the Iowa background check process:
- State of Iowa Non-Law Enforcement Record Check Request Form A
- Form for Self-Reporting
- Authorization for Release of Child Abuse Information and the Authorization for Release of Dependent Adult Abuse Information.
*NOTE: If you first save the form to your desktop and then open with Adobe Reader you will be able to type in your information.
Submit the completed forms, along with $16 (check or money order), to 0133 MacKay. (If you reported a charge on the form for self-reporting, please complete the Iowa DHS Record Check Evaluation form below.)
Documenting a previous charge
You must submit this form in addition to the form in Step 2 above.
Ensure that your background check is not expired. You can view the term you submitted the check on CyHire. Iowa background checks are valid for 2 years.
Coaching or substitute authorization
If you have a current (valid) coaching or substitute authorization, submit a copy to 133 MacKay. You will not have to complete the Iowa or national criminal history check (Step 2).
National Background Check
The national background check fingerprinting is conducted by ISU Department of Public Safety (DPS). The fee is $23.00.
Do the following to initiate the national background check:
- Complete, print and sign the DCI waiver form.
- Report to the outside entrance at the northwest corner of the Armory - below the Police Division sign. Enter small lobby, press intercom button and state that you need the DHS background check/fingerprinting for a course.
- Hours: DPS requests that students come between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
- Parking: There is pay-for-stall parking in Lot 21, located west of the building.
- Submit these items to Teacher Education Services in 133 MacKay:
- Signed waiver form;
- Completed fingerprint card
- Cash or check for $23.00 (make checks payable to Iowa State University)
Exceptions: Disregard this step if you are pursuing licensure for secondary education (grades 5-12 or K-12). All student teachers will be required to go through a separate national background check for licensure. The semester before you student teach, you will receive an email from Teresa Kahler, Coordinator of Licensure, regarding this process.
Viewing background check history
To see when/if you had a background check conducted by Teacher Education Services, do the following:
- Login to the CyHire.
- Click Teacher Licensure on the right side.
- Click the Edit button for the pre-admission/admission type:
- You have completed a state level background check ($16.00) if you have a date listed for state background check date (term).
- You have completed a national level background check ($23.00) if you have a date listed for national background check date (term).
- You have submitted a non-expired coaching authorization or substitute authorization if it says Valid Authorization as the Pre-Admission Course.
Student Teaching/Licensure Background Check
National background check fingerprinting is conducted by the BOEE/DCI/FBI on campus the semester before student teaching. For more information on this please review the Licensure Procedure section.
Subsequent charges: self-reporting
Any criminal misconduct charge a student receives after the background check is completed must be reported. Failure to do so may result in the discharge of the student from the teacher education program:
- When the student is enrolled in any clinical experience or anticipates commencing a clinical experience within 30 days, any criminal misconduct charge a student receives after the background check is completed must be reported immediately to Teacher Education Services.
- When the student is not enrolled in any field experience, the charge must be reported as soon as possible but no later than five working days after the incident.
To self-report a charge, students must complete a self-reporting letter, guidelines on how to write one can be found here.
The student, adviser, coordinator, and department head will be notified of the decision in cases where a review is required. The Selection and Retention Subcommittee of the Educator Preparation Coordinating Council will meet to review the form and make a decision on the student’s progress.
If the charges were dropped, do I still need to report?
Yes, if you received a ticket and paid a fine you need to report any incident. If you don’t report and it appears in the check, it could be considered fraud.
Do I need to report incidents that happened when I was a minor (under the age of 18)?
Yes, please report all charges regardless of your age at the time of the incident.
Do car accidents count?
Yes, if you received a ticket for the charge then you have to report it (for example, failure to maintain control of your vehicle or seat-belt related charge.
Do I need to report a parking or speeding ticket?
If I did a background check for a daycare/preschool that I work at, do I have to do another one for ISU?
At this time, yes. We are unable to share results with other locations.
If I have a coaching/substitute authorization, do I need to do a background check for ISU?
No, please bring in your certificate of completion and we will make a copy for your file.