SING Background Check
The University of Northern Iowa Teacher Education program now requires all students to complete a SING background check through the Office of Teacher Education prior to their first field experience in a PK-12 classroom. The cost of this background check is $20, payable only by cash, or check or money order made out to the University of Northern Iowa. After completing the background check, a certificate verifying the background check will be available for students to download and print off. Students should carry a copy of their background check certificate with them whenever they make a field experience visit. In addition, some faculty may ask for a copy of a student’s background check certificate before giving a student a field experience placement.
Students who have completed the SING background check process can access their certificates, as well certificates for other trainings (OSHA, Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse, High Risk Behaviors and Substance Abuse) through MyUNIverse:
- Go to the UNI homepage and sign into MyUNIverse
- Click on the Academics tab
- Scroll down the Academics page and locate a box labeled Teacher Education
- Click on the Certificate Viewer link
- Click on the date the certificate was issued
Note: Students who have already received a coaching authorization from the Board of Educational Examiners, do not need to complete a new background check, unless they are early childhood education majors. The Department of Human Services has additional background check requirements for students who will be participating in licensed child care facilities.
- Print off the following forms using these links: The Authorization for Release of Child Abuse Information (two pages) and the DHS Criminal History Record Check, Form B (three pages).
- Read the forms carefully and then complete them fully, being sure to print extremely legible. Background check errors due to illegible writing will need to be redone at the student’s expense.
- Bring the completed forms with $20 in cash, check or money order to the Office of Teacher Education (159A Schindler Education Center, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA, 50614-0602). Please write “SING Background Check” on the memo line of your check.
- Completed forms can also be mailed to the Office of Teacher Education, along with payment by check or money order. Please do NOT send payment by cash through the mail.
- Credits cards and U-bill charges are not viable payment options at this time.
For all students EXCEPT early childhood majors (see additional information below), the SING background check is a onetime requirement, and will not need to be repeated during a student’s teacher education program. However, the Iowa Board of Education Examiners does require its own nationwide, fingerprint based FBI background check prior to licensure. The Board does charge a fee for this service, and accepts only results from background checks completed through the Board itself. Most students initiate this fingerprint background check through the Office of Teacher Education the semester before they student teach.
Once the SING background check is requested, it can take 3-7 days for the results. In a few cases, background checks can take longer (as much as two to three weeks).
Blank background check forms are also available in the Office of Teacher Education in 159A of the Schindler Education Center.
Special Information for Early Childhood Education Majors
The Department of Human Services (DHS) requires SING background checks be completed every two years for any student completing a field experience in a licensed child care facility. This means that an early childhood major may need to complete a second SING background check during his or her time at UNI. In addition, DHS also requires that any student completing a field experience in a licensed child care facility submit to a nationwide FBI fingerprint based background check within one calendar month of their first field experience visit in a licensed child care facility. Detailed information on how this process works is available here.