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Washington State University
College of Education

Pre-Residency Certificate Clearance

All WSU students enrolled in a practicum must have a Pre-Residency Certificate Clearance (background check).

Below are detailed directions of how to set up your EDS account and apply for the Pre-Residency Certificate.  When you reach the last step of the instructions, applying for the Pre-Residency Certificate, make sure you allow about a half hour to complete the process.  If you exit the wizard before it is complete none of your information will be saved. You will be asked to provide name, phone numbers, and addresses for three character references.   If you answer “yes” on any of the background questions you will need to provide a written statement and supporting documents and your information will be routed to the Office of Professional Practices (OPP).  OPP will review your file once you have Washington State Patrol and FBI clearance and determine if you qualify for the Pre-Residency Certificate.  Our contract with Washington schools prohibits you from being in the schools if you do not have the Pre-Residency Certificate.  If you do not answer yes to any of the background questions WSU will clear you once you have fingerprint clearance from Washington State Patrol and FBI.  If you have questions or need assistance contact our office at 509.335.8147 or

Step 1: Create an E-Cert Account:
  • Go to:
  • Click “Create an Account” tab
    • Username: Must be valid email address
    • Password: Passwords must be at least 8 characters long, contain at least: one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number, and one symbol.
  • Complete the “Data for Linking to a Certificate” (you can leave the certificate field blank) – Click Register – the system will search for any records that match your name. If you have been employed by a school district you will have account information to claim. Review carefully. Selecting the “This is me” button will prompt your to provide additional information to verify and claim your account. Selecting “None of these are me” will create a new account in E-Cert.  It is important that you do not create a new account if you already have account information in E-Cert.
  • If you are prompted to “Request Application Roles”, select the “Not Now” button to continue to E-Cert.
  • You will need to wait at least 30 minutes before proceeding with the next step.
  • Go to the EDS website,
  • Login
  • Select “My Applications”
  • Then select “E-Certification” – if you do not see “E-Certification” log out and try again later.
  • You will be prompted to complete a 3 step wizard to confirm your profile information.
  • At this point you will see a screen that tells you that you must wait one business day for all options to become available. You can proceed to Step 2, entering your education and work experience, but you will have to wait one business day before the pre-residency clearance application is available.
Step 2: Complete Education History and Work Experience
  • From home page select —> My Credentials —> Educator —> Education History
  • Select “Click Here to Add Education History”
  • Input your education history to the best of your knowledge, you can estimate dates and credit hours. The system does not recognize future dates so only include education you have already completed.
  • Once you have completed your education history select “work history” under the Educator tab
  • Professional Education Experience is paid experience you have completed in a school district (i.e. paraprofessional, coach, bus driver). If you have professional education experience select “Click Here to Add Professional Education Experience”
  • Other Employment Experience should include non-education paid jobs. Include the last two jobs you have held.
  • Again, you can use estimated dates and total number of hours worked. Do not spend a lot of time on this.  If additional information is needed you will be contacted by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Step 3: Apply for Pre-Residency Certificate (you must wait one business day after creating your account)
  • Log into your e-cert account. Select “My Applications” and then “E-Certification” to reach your home screen.
  • From your home screen select “Apply for a Washington Credential Here”
  • Select “Apply for Credential” by the Pre-Residency Certificate Clearance”
  • Steps 3 and 4 will ask you if your employment/education history is correct. Make sure you select “yes” otherwise you will be kicked out of the wizard and you will have to start over.  If the information is not correct, you can return to the Educator tab and edit the information after you complete your Pre-Residency Certificate Clearance application.
  • Step 6 – do NOT select the box that says, “I am completing a teacher preparation program from an out-of-state college/university.” Instead, select Washington State University from the drop down menu.
  • Follow the directions and complete all of the steps required in the wizard. There is no fee for the pre-residency certificate – if you are prompted to enter payment at the end of the application STOP – you are in the wrong application!
  • WSU will automatically be notified once you have submitted your application and you will receive your clearance after OPP or WSU processes your request.


Fingerprinting process and facts
  • Fingerprint clearance is valid for two years from the date of FBI clearance.
  • You will only be notified (via US mail) by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) if your prints are rejected.
  • OSPI will state the reason your prints were rejected and what your next steps are.
  • If you need to be reprinted for any reason, it is imperative that you are reprinted as soon as possible. Failure to do so will most likely delay your practicum placement.
Fingerprinting for Pullman-area students

Fingerprinting for Pullman-area students takes place in the Office of Field Services and Certification (Cleveland 252).

  • WSU’s fingerprint fee is $70.
  • Schedule your appointment online.
  • Please bring a valid Driver’s license, passport, or other government issued identification card.

For additional information contact the Office of Field Services and Certification.  Schedule your appointment online!

Fingerprinting for all other students

For students not in Pullman, the fingerprint process can be completed in person at one of the educational service district (ESD) offices. The total cost for fingerprinting at the ESD locations is about $80.00. Contact the specific ESD for additional directions; many require you to make an appointment.  Visit the Office of Professional Practices website for additional information.

Character and fitness supplement

The Character and Fitness Supplement is part of the application for certification to teach in the State of Washington. If you answer yes to any of the questions on the Character and Fitness Supplement, the Office of Professional Practices (OPP) will conduct a formal investigation of the noted situation. An investigation commences only after the WSP and FBI receive your fingerprints.

Please note that no candidate from Washington State University may begin the final field experience (student teaching) until the background investigation is complete and OPP provides authorization via Pre-Residency Certificate Clearance.

Procedure if you answer yes

When an applicant answer yes on any pertinent part of the application, supporting documentation must be uploaded through E-Certification and OPP in Olympia will conduct a background investigation. The results of this investigation are communicated to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Full disclosure is required. Failure to submit, or submission of incomplete information, will delay OSPIs decision on issuance of a certificate. Any falsification or deliberate misrepresentation, including omission of a material fact, in completion of the application process can be grounds for denial of certification.

Sealed Records

If you were arrested, charged, or convicted as a minor, and you were advised by the court that your records were sealed,” you need to be aware that your arrest/charge/conviction will still appear when the FBI conducts its background check. FBI records are retained for 80 years. Even though you do not have to report a sealed incident for employment purposes, you are required to report this for certification purposes. Therefore, as you are applying for certification, you must report events that were sealed.

Procedure for providing documentation
  1. You will be asked to include an all-inclusive, detailed written narrative of the incident. The narrative should include when and where the incident occurred, names of others who were present as witnesses or also involved, and all applicable details. This is your perspective and therefore your chance to explain the situation.
  2. Obtain a copy of the police report. This is the arresting officer’s narrative of the incident.
  3. Obtain a copy of the judgment and sentencing document and court docket from the court.
  4. Obtain a copy of the results of any evaluation that may have been required. (e.g. alcohol evaluation, psychological evaluation, driving school).
  5. Obtain an up-to-date copy of your driving abstract if appropriate.

Include any other information that will expedite the investigation such as the name of the person to whom you spoke at the courthouse or police station