How To Get Your NYC Teacher Certification Fingerprints For Your TEACH Account

This post is somewhat of a sequel to my previous post, How To Get Livescan Fingerprints in NYC. Since that entry was oriented specifically towards getting Livescan fingerprints, I wanted to cover the larger issue at hand: The reason so many people are in this dilemma, and how to get out of it.

Read this article if:

  • You are applying for certification through New York State’s TEACH System
  • You have paid for ‘Fingerprint Processing’ but you have no idea where to get your fingerprints done

So at this point, you have probably paid $96+ dollars for ‘Fingerprint Processing’ through the NYSED TEACH system, but now they’ve left you high and dry by leaving vague instructions on how to get your fingerprints done. They mentioned that you can get Livescan prints, a seemingly speedy alternative to the traditional option, ink fingerprints.

Like me, you set out to find an ‘Approved LiveScan Service’, but had no luck.

You can get Livescan prints in two places: The NYPD headquarters in lower Manhattan and the New York Department of Education in Brooklyn.

So where should you go? It depends! Here’s the dirty truth of application process that they aren’t very clear in telling you:You cannot get your Livescan fingerprints processed unless you have a referral letter from a school or school official.

So in my girlfriend’s case — she was applying for certification, and didn’t have and schools she was applying to yet. How would she get a referral letter?! What we found out is that she isn’t eligible without that letter (or at least that’s what everyone at the NYDOE told us!).

So, if you are in this situation, you have to do everything the hard way. Just get traditional fingerprints at the New York Department of Education at 65 Court Street in Brooklyn. It’s right by a number of subway lines, including the A,C,2,3,4,5 and a couple others. I think the actual name of the stop on the A/C line is ‘Borough Hall’. Get off, walk a few hundred feet down Court Street, and you’ll see the building on your left.

You will need a $10 money order to get your prints processed. And even if they tell you they’ll take a check, they won’t. Try to get there early, because if you do, there might not be a line.

When you walk into the building, you’ll have to have your ID checked by the guards. The room you need to enter is immediately to the left of the front entrance. It looks like this:

Talk to the nice ladies at the desk, and explain that you need your fingerprints done for your certification. They’ll give you some paperwork, and a pen.

When you’re all finished, they’ll send you to the fingerprint room where someone will take your ink fingerprints. They’ll then sign off on a few things, and give you some papers back. Make a copy of everything, including your receipt, at the copier in the same room.

Finally, you can continue with the certification process. Mail in those cards, along with any yet-to-be processed transcripts, out of state certifications, etc.

When all that’s sent in and processed by the state (which they say can take a couple months), you’ll be all set. Everything will eventually be hooked up with your TEACH account.

With all the trouble one has to go through, it’s really a wonder that NYC has any teachers at all. Am I right or what?

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  • Pingback: How To Get Livescan Fingerprints In NYC

  • mastropop

    THANK YOU THANK YOU! I’ve been trying to get this information for 2 years with no luck from the city, the state, or even my school. You are the best! Thanks for posting!!

  • Gina Pemberton

    THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO VERY MUCH. They made it seem so very easy, but once you get going it’s a real pain in the neck. Thank you very much. Thanx for the info. YOU ROCK MY SOCKS OFF

  • http://www.facebook.com/halynafigueiredo Halyna Figueiredo

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING!!! I almost got ripped off $40 at some LiveScan station that didn’t sound very legit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/halynafigueiredo Halyna Figueiredo

    One more thing: this information is VERY accurate. I called to double check and make sure. The information on the NYC DOE (http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/DHR/Fingerprinting+Employee+IDs+and+Smart+Cards.htm)
    is NOT accurate. It does not cost an extra $115. You only have to bring a $10 money order.

    Also, it is walk-in (no appointment necessary) between 9am-5pm. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to report to the Walk-in Center by 4:30 p.m.

  • marcy

    Great advice, and 100% accurate. I went to the department today for my fingerprints, and got the $10 money order at the US post office around the corner (they charge $1.10 for it). Quick and easy process and so glad I read this post!

  • me!

    Can someone tell me whether you have to pay the fingerprinting fee on the TEACH website plus the actual fingerprinting done in Brooklyn? I’m assuming the $94.50 they charge you online when you submit an application is for a background check and you can send that money in when you mail in your fingerprints…Clarification please!!!

  • yaakovR

    thank you very much very helpful and comforting knowing im not in this alone and there are those likr you who have went thru this and are willing to take the time to walk us thru it so we are not walking blindly. thanx again

  • Marcy

    This was 100% accurate advice. I am applying for administrative interstate reciprocity through TEACH and this blog was a great find!

  • Michelle

    Help! I’ve tried to look everywhere for information and of course I can’t contact anybody who works with the certification process.

    Did your gf need a School District recommendation? I am applying for an Adult Teacher Certificate and am not employed by an actual public school. I have no idea how to get this so-called recommendation. Any help would be soooooo appreciated.

    BTW, I used your exact instructions and I went through the fingerprinting process smoothly and quickly.

  • michelle

    Thanks so much for this info!

    Ive been online for like an hour trying to find out what my next step is.

    Its bizarre that they say on the TEACH site they prefer digital scans, yet they dont accept them?

  • michelle

    ps. did you send them a copy of your teaching license for your respective state, or did you make a photocopy?

    thanks in advance!

  • michelle

    *copy, meaning do i have to request one from my state.

    I havent been able to reach anyone on the phone!

  • Kenny Katzgrau

    @michelle — Yep, it’s bizarre. But I actually don’t expect much more from state-run stuff like this. Call me a cynic :P Photocopying was fine for us — once we sent everything in, the app was approved with surprising ease.

  • michelle

    Thanks a ton!

    I have one more quick question..
    In addition to the site being inaccurate on the $110 fee, there is no referral letter needed?

    I cant thank you enough for the time you took to create this blog, and I apologize if my question seems redundant!

    Thanks again!

  • John Licari

    I just got my fingerprints done digitally. For people in New York City (who don’t mind walking) of Long Island, for more information go here: http://www.stonybrook.edu/spd/career/livescan.pdf

  • Jessica

    I came across your website while searching for places to get my fingerprints done for an FBI background clearance for an out of state grad school, will the DOE do anyone’s fingerprints that are willing to pay or is it only limited to teachers looking to gain certification?

  • AllegGators

    Thanks for the follow-up info.

  • SML

    Thank you so much for posting this. I just went to today after reading your clearly laid-out instructions. Went smoothly and quickly! I would just add for those who drive, to pay for garage parking (I paid $13) but you can prob. find it cheaper. There are meter parkings if you have the time and patience to go around and look (I looked for about 15 min and just went to a garage). Thanks again!

  • http://bkbiblio.wordpress.com Mary

    Thanks so much. I have only been trying to figure this out for a few days, so I’m glad I found this early on and before I went all the way to that Williams St. location, which is not at all convenient from where I live or work.

  • Juli

    Thank you!! So glad I came across this before attempting to go the livescan route and wasting any more time and money.

  • LING

    Thanks so much, I have the same satiation as ur gf.

  • Scott Harris

    Thanks for doing the legwork on this — what a mess. NYC DOE should be ashamed that their website offers no help whatsoever to its applicants. Thank goodness for people that not only find out what to do, but take the time to inform everyone else!

  • lucy

    What you did NOT mention, which is very important, is this fingerprint clearance is for the NYCDOE only….If you are printed by DOE and need clearance for certification, you will need to fill out an OPSRA 104 form to have your prints released to NYSED for certification clearance. Also, you do NOT need a letter from a school district to get fingerprints done. You set up your TEACH account, fill out the application, choose “teacher certification” as your reason for being printed, pay and print out the receipt. If you put down that you need the clearance for work in a school, THEN you need a letter because then system needs to know where to send the clearance. If you google livescan you can find several location on long island including Nassau BOCES, Rockville Center school district, SCOPE in Smithtown, SUNY Old Westbury. On the same note, if you have been fingerprinted for certification and now need clearance for the NYCDOE you need to file an OPSRA 103 form

  • Natalia

    wow..thanks..I was a second away to pay for the fingerprints through TEACH, so I will take the train down to Brooklyn tomorrow and get it done, now of course I have a question, NYSED would accept this finger prints cards even when I didn’t apply online for them? I do not have to pay through TEACH?
    Again thanks for share such a helpful info!

  • Beth

    Lucy’s e-mail from October 18,2011 is spot on for those of you on Long Island-
    sign up for teach website- pay- call BOCES and make appointment- go and get them done! That easy and convienient- BOCES only does them on Tues/Thurs- BOCES fingerprints will go to NYS- if you need them released to NYC you fill out the 103 form- the livescan prints are the way to go because immediately in the system for all to access when you request it-

  • Sweetmikki

    Thank you!  I have going crazy and spending way too much time online trying to figure out how to get fingerprinted. I will head down to Court Street this week!

  • Howerton Carrie

    I just went through this EXACT process today!  What an unnecessarily complicated, and yes vague, process!  I got 4 different answers from 4 different people regarding how long it takes to clear the prints.  I still don’t know the answer and I’m set to student teach this fall. Thanks fo this blog; I know I’m not alone!  

  • ellp

    Thank you for this info! If you are getting traditional fingerprints can you still go to the police headquarters?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000158305321 Stacy Krolczyk

    Thanks so much – coming from FL, I did not know what to do next! Lucky I am in Brooklyn…so arduous!

  • Kcastell

    Do you know what we need to bring with us to get LIVESCAN fingerprints? I called the fingerprinting office up in Albany and the guy was NOT helpful. He told me I need to be employed by a school to get it, but i can’t become employed until I’m certified so i’m not really sure how that works. I was just going to bring my license and hopefully a referral from the school i’m interviewing at, but other than that do i need anything else?

  • katzgrau

    A referral should be all you need. It’s amazing how much misinformation is floating around!

    Worse comes to worst, getting pain old ink fingerprints in Brooklyn is really easy, and in the end, might be less of a hassle than livescan.

  • Meg

    Thank you SO MUCH for this! I followed this advice about a month ago and it worked like a charm, as annoying as it was.  Fingerprinting was the last thing I needed to go through, and my certification was processed very quickly after this.

    My advice to people just going through this:

    1) The money order thing is TRUE! Even if you call to ask (which I did) about cards, check etc., they will tell you you can pay with whatever, but you CAN’T! I made sure to let them know they have employees giving out misinformation.
    2) Go right when they open (8am I think). Barely anyone there – much quicker than I expected.

    Thank you again! I hope everyone who needs this page finds it…

  • SY

    Thank you so much for this post. I got my certification from MA, and I wasn’t sure how to go about getting fingerprinted here (the NYSED website tells you nothing!) and this post gave me the information I needed. I went to Court Street today with my money order ready, and I got everything done in a breeze. Thanks again for the tip!!

  • M Katharine Debach

    Thank you for clearing this up for me! It sounds like I’m in the same boat as your girlfriend. I was running out of ways to type in “LIVESCAN” to google! Haha!

    I graduated from a university in Northeast Pennsylvania with my teaching certification and I’m trying to apply for NY cert., but no one told me I’d have to be driving 4 hours to Brooklyn in order to do so! Sometimes these systems are so bogus. Thanks again for your help!

  • Ms.D

    Hello, I am very grateful for this post as, I am going through the motions of advancing in my career path. I noticed that the TEACH website charges $91.50. Soo once I pay this amount I will have to pay another $10.00 for the prints to be completed? Which in grand total is 101.50 for the Fingerprinting process? Also can I fill out my fingerprints at a local Police free of charge to skip going to Court Street? Thanks in advance<3

  • Angry WOMAN

    Agreed! It’s so disorganized and fustrating!!!!!!

    I did my fingerprints for my Student Teaching & it was just a mess! Now, I wanna use the fingerprints for another job but idk how to get the clearance letter from the HR Department. =_= When I got my fingerprints done, they gave me a receipt. Months later when I was starting my Student teaching, I recieve a letter stating that my prints were unreadable’ and that if I do not contact them within a month then they will keep my $115 and dispose of my prints. THE PRINTS WERE UNREADABLE BECAUSE THE HR EMPLOYEE WHO TOOK MY PRINTS. Boy, was I ready to sdfskfifyhaskj them!
    Now, I need it for my certification, but I bet you they will make me do it again because, after all, to them it is about the $$$!

  • Sam

    THANK YOU for this incredibly helpful post and to the previous user about the money order issue.

  • Frannie

    I followed this 2 the letter and it worked like a charm! Thanx so much =D … One question though, since I 2 am just starting out, which OSPRA form do I need 2 submit 4 clearance 103 or 104?

  • Frannie

    P.S. I got there @ 9:15 a.m. 2day and there were ONLY 3 people ahead of me!

  • ColleenBx

    Hey Kenny!! I just wanted to say you are totally AWESOME for posting this. When I went through the process in 2006, it was not so bad and yes, I did need to visit 65 Court Street – more than once it turned out.
    Your advice is spot on!!! More people should be willing to share their experiences (or, in your case, your girlfriend’s :).. It would make the world run so much more smoothly if people shared this stuff!!! I often say, in this 21st Century, communication is still highly underrated in my humble opinion. I found this posting by googling “where to get my fingerprints done in the Bronx”!!

  • Annie

    I just spoke to HR Connect for NYCDOE regarding getting LIVESCAN prints at their brooklyn office and she told me they DO NOT do it, only ink. Boo :(

  • Pat

    I went through the same thing! Thank God I am doing my practicum at a charter school which sent me to their main office for fingerprinting at $20.00 and my school got my clearance in two days. I am thankful that my daughter school leader was so helpful. The DOE personnel was very rude to me when trying to get clarity about the poor information on the website. I also don’t like that I was fingerprinted from NYS Children Administration & US government last year and they would not accept the fingerprinting, which are both cleared by FBI was mind bothering. As usual they are all about the money! Most places do not require employees to pay for fingerprinting, it is supplied by employer. This is the first time I have had to pay for fingerprinting.

  • roderiq

    Yes all they give you is a slip with some kind of cusp or receipt number. Then when you ask for a copy they act as if you’re not s’posed to have it. They’re making $ from it via insurance

  • roderiq

    *kind of c.u.s.i.p. #