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Educator Certification Online System


Frequently Asked Questions - Fingerprinting updated 11/16/11

To help assist you with questions you may have using the system, please read the following Frequently Asked Questions before contacting our support center.

1. Who will be required to undergo a national criminal history background check?

Beginning October 1, 2003, the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) will require applicants for an initial credential, including a standard certificate, probationary certificate, educational aides, one-year certificate, temporary teaching certificate or permit to undergo a national criminal background check by submitting fingerprints for review.

2. How will the national check be run?

A national criminal history background check can only be run by the FBI. The FBI can only conduct a national criminal history background check by comparing the applicant’s fingerprints to a data base containing the fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information for more than 47 million subjects.

3. Where does an applicant go to get fingerprinted?

Option ONE (highly recommended) is to utilize Fingerprint Applicant Service of Texas (FAST), which is a Texas Department of Public Safety’s program that provides electronic capture and submission of your fingerprints through live scan technology. This is the fastest and highest quality option available (rejection rate for fingerprint quality is 2%). The turnaround time for SBEC to receive a copy of your completed criminal history background from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigations averages 3-5 days. If you choose the FAST option, you will be required to pay for your fingerprint fees ($37.75) electronically by credit (or debit) card or check and to have a working, individual email account. You will not be able to utilize FAST until you have paid your fingerprint fees online and received acknowledgement from SBEC of that payment. Once payment is received and confirmed you will receive an email from SBEC that will include detailed instructions on using the FAST service. Electronic submission of fingerprints replaces the process of recording an individual’s fingerprint patterns manually through a rolling process using ink and a standard 8” x 8” fingerprint card. This enables the electronic transfer of the fingerprint image data, in combination with personal descriptor information, to the Department of Public Service (DPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). This transfer of information takes place in a matter of seconds, instead of days required to send hard copy fingerprint cards through the U.S. mail.

Option TWO (not recommended) is the ink fingerprint process using cards provided by SBEC. This is the standard collection of fingerprints by inking and rolling. This is a more time consuming process with often inferior results (rejection rates for quality is approximately 25%). Prints must be taken by someone experienced in rolling fingerprints.

4. What is the cost to have the fingerprints taken?

If you choose Option One above, the cost for taking the fingerprints is $9.95 and must be paid to L1-ID services at the time of your fingerprint appointment.

If you choose Option Two above the cost varies from agency to agency. As a result, it is difficult for SBEC to state definitely how much this service may cost.

5. Are there additional costs for the national criminal background check?

Yes. In addition to the fee paid to L1-ID services or the local law enforcement agency to roll fingerprints, there is a non-refundable $37.75 fee that must be paid directly to SBEC. This fee is in addition to the fee charged for issuance of the credential, and will cover the costs of processing the fingerprints by DPS and the FBI. This fee must be paid online with an electronic check, credit card or debit card if you have chosen Option one, by going through the SBEC website at http://www.tea.texas.gov.

6. Will applicants who were fingerprinted as a requirement for certification in another state be exempt from the national background check required by SBEC?

No.  All initial applicants for a credential, including those applicants applying for an initial educator credential in Texas based on holding an educator credential in another state or in a foreign country must undergo a national criminal background check through the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

7. What happens if the results of the fingerprint process reflect any criminal offense record?

If the results of your fingerprint processing reflect any criminal records or if you report a record on your application for a Texas educator certificate or permit, your file will be referred to the SBEC Office of Professional Discipline for review.  That office will contact you regarding information needed to review your records for determination of eligibility for a Texas educator credential.  Issuance of the credential will be determined by the results of this review.