As of July 2, 2001, under the Schools Against Violence in Education Legislation, all applications for any new Teaching Certificate are subject to a fingerprint supported criminal history background check. Background checks are required for all school personnel, including applicants for certification and all educational services (BOCES). Those of you participating in student teaching also need to be fingerprinted.

The fingerprinting process is as follows:

  1. Obtain a fingerprinting packet. If you are in a master's degree program at Buffalo State and you are applying for certification, packets are available in the Teacher Certification Office. If you are a student teacher, you may pick up a packet from your department's main office. If you are not a Buffalo State student, you may pick up a fingerprint packet from your local school district, charter school, or BOCES (Completed packets should include two fingerprint cards of the same color, an OSPRA 101 consent form, and instructions in an envelope.)
  2. Fill out the fingerprint consent form sections 1, 2, and 5 prior to submission.
  3. If you are seeking clearance for employment, have the prospective employer complete sections three and four.
  4. Fill out the top portion of the fingerprint cards completely in accordance with the sample fingerprint card located in the packet.
  5. Get a bank check, certified check, money order or employer check for $94.25 payable to the New York State Education Department. NO PERSONAL CHECKS ACCEPTED. Please note that the agency that is performing the fingerprinting service may require a separate fee.
  6. Take the completed OSPRA 101 form, the completed fingerprint cards and the $94.25 fee to either the institution of higher education where you received your degree (for Buffalo State students, this would be the University Police), your local criminal justice agencies (state, city, or town police), the school district in which you're employed. The Teacher Certification Office hosts Fingerprinting Sessions (on campus) in the Fall and Spring.  Get fingerprinted. Sign the fingerprint card.
  7. Mail the completed OSPRA 101 form, the completed fingerprint cards and the $94.25 fee to OSPRA in the pre-addressed envelope.

Generally it will take between 40 days to eight weeks to receive a full clearance.

If you have problems or wish to check the status of your fingerprints, please contact OSPRA at 518-473-2998.