Character & Fitness


Evidence of good moral character and personal fitness must be provided upon admission to the following educator certification programs:

  • Residency Teacher
  • Residency Educational Staff Associate / School Counselor
  • Residency Principal (candidates who do not hold a valid Washington State certificate)
  • Initial Superintendent (candidates who do not hold a valid Washington State certificate)

Character and fitness is established through two separate but related processes and maintained through certification: Fingerprint clearance and Pre-Residency Clearance

  1. If you already have fingerprint clearance, fill out the Pre-Residency Clearance Application. Print and follow these instructions carefully!  ECert is not an intuitive system. You cannot start the process, save it, and come back to it later.

  • Any reportable incidents must be fully disclosed and documentation provided as soon as possible.  Documentation can be collected and uploaded after you've completed the Pre-Residency Clearance application.
  • The Pre-Residency Clearance is valid for two years, however, if your answer to any question on this webform changes notify the Woodring Certification Office immediately.

Current Fingerprinting Options

The fingerprinting site will provide you with a card and help you fill it out. The fingerprinting site will charge a fee to take your prints. Once you are printed, you will need to mail the card along with a check or money order for exactly $45.25 (made out to OSPI) to OSPI, Attention Fiscal Office, PO Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200. Do not fold the card. If you go to one of the ESDs, you won’t need to mail anything as the prints will be transmitted to OSPI electronically.

  1. Fingerprinting Background Check: All candidates need Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) fingerprint clearance; Early Childhood Education candidates also need Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) fingerprint clearance.  Candidates with a DCYF clearance can get it transferred to OSPI, see below. 

Clearance by the OSPI Office of Professional Practices

Incidents reported through these two processes, if any, are investigated by the OSPI Office of Professional Practices. No student may participate in a University-sponsored activity in the public schools until cleared by the Washington State Patrol record check, and if applicable, investigated and cleared by OSPI. Clearance by OSPI is valid for two years and must be maintained until program completion and recommendation for certification.

Other Evidence of Character and Fitness

Students must abide by their program's conduct policies. Toward the end of a candidate’s program and prior to recommendation for the first certificate, the Dean of Woodring College of Education is required by Washington Administrative Code to sign an affidavit affirming that faculty and staff "have no knowledge related to the applicant’s character and fitness that would adversely affect the applicant’s ability to serve in a certificated role."