Fingerprinting Background Check

Washington State law requires educator candidates to maintain clearance through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for all field experiences and certification. Fingerprint clearance expires after two years. To avoid any registration or certification postponement caused by a lapse in clearance, renew your fingerprints at least two months before the expiration date. 

On Campus fingerprinting: Woodring Certification Office in Miller Hall 256B provides digital fingerprints for $65 by appointment. This is the preferred option if you are in or near Bellingham. 

Candidates who have clearance through the Department of Youth and Family Services (DCYF) can follow the DCYF process to send existing clearance to OSPI - this process can take several weeks, so start early.

Other Fingerprinting Options:

If you can travel to one of the ESDs that is preferable. You won’t need to mail anything as the prints will be transmitted to OSPI electronically and they will be processed much more quickly by OSPI.

If you go to another fingerprinting site (see below), they will provide you with a card and help you fill it out. The fingerprinting site will charge a separate fee to take your prints (usually $15 to $40). Once you are printed, you will need to mail the card along with a check or money order for exactly $50 (made out to OSPI) to OSPI, Attention Fiscal Office, PO Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200. Do not fold the card.

  • Lynden: Call the Lynden Police Department at 360-354-2828 for an appointment. Note: You will need to bring your own OSPI fingerprinting card. You can pick one up in Miller Hall 256B or request that one be mailed to you by calling 360-650-3388 or emailing
  • Blaine: Tom Erickson, 360-961-2318 (call or text for an appointment)
  • Bellevue/Bothell/Tacoma: Bellevue Fingerprinting Services , 425-603-1033, (Select "Employment/Credentialing Related Fingerprinting" and then "School Teachers/Employees/Contractors Fingerprints” when making the appointment. Under Reason Fingerprinted, select “School District Employees/Contractors/28A.400 RCW”.) If you are asked for an "ORI" number during the reservation process, use WA920310Z.

Questions: Please contact the WCE Certification Office via email at or by phone at 360-650-3388.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you will not complete your program and be recommended for certification before your fingerprint clearance expires you must provide a new fingerprint record check. Your clearance must be valid at the time of certification.

By law, if you have completed a fingerprint record check through WSP and the FBI within the previous two years, the school employer may waive the requirement. If you change school district employers, and if your previous record check is more than two years old, you must provide a new fingerprint record check.

Fingerprint-based background checks help to safeguard children and strengthen public confidence in the integrity of public and private education. Fingerprint clearance is a practicum, internship and certification requirement. Woodring College of Education is mandated under strict legal and contractual agreements to insure that our students have educational fingerprint clearance. The law is detailed here: RCW 28A.410.010.

WSP/FBI send the results of fingerprint record checks to OSPI. The results reside in a secure database that designated staff from public schools, colleges, and universities can access online. OSPI can send the results of fingerprint record checks to private schools by letter.

The technology used is called live scan; these machines take high-quality prints by scanning the applicant’s fingers electronically to create a digital image. Once scanned, the live scan system submits fingerprint image electronically. The electronic scanner is clean, easy to use, and eliminates the need to ink-and-roll fingerprints manually onto a special card.

OSPI will send you a copy of the record that they receive from the WSP/FBI. OSPI does not share RAP information directly with colleges and universities; however, a designated staff person in the Woodring Certification Office can view fingerprint record check results through a secure Web site.

If something comes up that you need to challenge, you can do so via the method outlined in this linked Privacy Statement

If your live scan or inked card fingerprints are rejected because of poor quality, there are two alternatives.

Alternative #1: get a second fingerprint card (inked or scanned and printed on a card)
  1. OSPI will send you a fingerprint card along with a notice of rejected prints. If you don't receive one in the mail you can request a fingerprint card from Woodring Certification Office, MH 150.
  2. Return to the agency that produced your first set of fingerprints and have your fingerprints done a second time. Many agencies do not charge for reprints. You can opt to go to a different agency but they will probably charge you a fingerprinting fee.
  3. Attach the rejected fingerprint card to the new (completed) fingerprint card.
  4. Mail the completed fingerprint cards to WSP at:
    Washington State Patrol
    Identification & Criminal History Section
    PO Box 42633
    Olympia, WA 98504-2633
Alternative #2: Go to the Olympia Washington State Patrol Office
  1. The Washington State Patrol never rejects prints that they take. If your prints are rejected several times by the WSP for “poor print quality” we may suggest that you drive to the Olympia WSP office. This is the only WSP Office in the state that does fingerprinting.
  2. Contact the WSP Customer Service Unit at (360) 534-2000 (press 2 for customer service). The WSP Office is located at 106 11th Ave SW, Suite 1335, Olympia, WA  98504 and hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed 12pm-1pm) weekdays, except legal holidays.

Fingerprint clearance is a requirement for all field experiences and certification. You can be postponed or ejected from a class that includes field experiences or an internship if your fingerprint clearance lapses. Timing can be a problem when prints are rejected. The Office of Field Experience can help you arrange for time away from your internship to travel to Olympia if this becomes an issue.

Write in red on the left hand corner of the new fingerprint card or live scan print out – WSP resubmit. This tells WSP that you have already paid the background check fee.

Mail the completed fingerprint cards to WSP at:
Washington State Patrol
Identification & Criminal History Section
PO Box 42633
Olympia, WA 98504-2633

Two years from the clearance date.

Yes. If the FBI cannot accept your first fingerprint record, WSP will submit them a second time. If the FBI rejects your fingerprint record a second time the Woodring Certification Office will ask them for a "Name and Date-of-Birth" Clearance. In rare cases you may be asked to submit a new card for FBI clearance.

No. Washington State law does not allow substitute versions of any fingerprint record checks.