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  • Writer's pictureLeena Kasa

Becoming a Tutor with RISE Philadelphia

Welcome to RISE Philadelphia! We are excited to have you as part of our tutoring team. Before the tutoring starts, RISE asks for tutors to complete required background checks and clearances. All of these clearances are mandatory for volunteering with minors and school district students. Likely you will have already filled out some of these clearances either for medical school requirements or for other clubs/ organizations. Please see our full instructions guide on how to go about obtaining these clearances and uploading them to our secure RedCap database ( The RISE team is always available to answer any questions you may have about the sign up process. 

Having recently completed all of them myself, I can attest that, while at first may seem tricky to accomplish, it is possible to complete this process while balancing our already busy lives as graduate students. I wrote this article to share my experience completing each of these requirements to encourage other graduate students to also embark on this journey to becoming a tutor with RISE Philadelphia. Below I break down each step by how much time it may take and I included some key information that will make the process even simpler. 

Child Abuse History Clearance 

~ 20 min

This is a very simple form that asks for some basic information about you and where you’ve lived.

School Required Background Check OR Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Records 

~ 20 min

If you are a medical student, you had a background check completed by AMCAS/AACOMAS most likely using Certiphi. All you need to do is search your emails for the Certiphi report, which you can download and then reupload into the RISE REDCap. If you did not need a background check for your graduate school program, you will follow the instructions to obtain a PA State Criminal Record Check

FBI Fingerprinting Clearance 

~ 20 min, not including travel time

This step gave me the most pause since I live in New Jersey and the fingerprinting needs to be done in Pennsylvania. Now having completed it, it might have been one of the easier steps in this process. The fingerprinting center prioritizes people with an appointment, so definitely make one before you go. I went to the 6th street location, which is right next to Washington Square Park. Once I got there and checked in, I was in and out in 20 minutes at most. Fingerprinting did cost me $25.25. For those coming from New Jersey, you’ll also need $5 for the bridge toll if you’re driving or $6 for the PATCO round trip ticket. I chose this location because they had the most appointment times available. For those who prefer to go on a weekend, there are other locations in Philly open on Saturday. While this step was unexpectedly easy, it does require a lot of planning. So to help you all out, I've listed some Identogo locations in Philly and near other campuses in the table below, along with transportation options and their hours of operations. All you need to do beforehand is fill out the preregistration and make an appointment (takes about 10 min). On the day of your appointment, just show up with your ID and a payment method. I received the results the next day and was able to submit it through the RISE REDCap.

Some medical schools already complete fingerprinting for the FBI background check for M3/ M4 rotation requirements. It might be worth reaching out to your school’s HR office for these records if you already had fingerprinting done.

Identogo Location

How To Get There

Hours of Operation

Old City 

233 S 6th St

10 min walk from the 9/10th-Locust PATCO station

10 min walk from 5th street MFL station

20 min of free parking available in a lot


9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Center City

1600 Arch St, Ste 101

Across the street from Love Park

9 min walk from Drexel Med’s center city campus

5 min walk from City Hall

10 min walk from the 15th/16th st PATCO station

Mon - Fri

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

12:30 am - 5:00 pm 


10:00 am - 2:30 pm

West Philly

4022 Market St

Right next to the 40th st MFL station

Mon - Fri 

9:00 am - 2:00 pm

2:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Drexel West Reading Campus

96 Commerce Drive, Mail-N-Ship 4U, Wyomissing, PA 19610

10 min drive from the West Reading Campus

Mon - Fri

9:00 am - 11:00 am

12:00 pm - 5:30 pm 


10:00 am - 2:30 pm

Temple St Luke’s Campus 

1520 Stefko Blvd, Bethlehem, PA 18017

12 min from the St. Luke’s University Hospital at 800 Ostrum Street

Mon - Fri

9:00 pm - 12:00 pm

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Volunteer Orientation - Video & Code of Conduct 

~ 50 min

The video was only 40 minutes long and if you want, you can watch it at 2 speed, which will cut the whole time down to 30 minutes for this whole step. There was a 7 question quiz after, which gives you the answer right after the question, like UWORLD in tutor mode. The questions were very simple and answers are very clearly stated in the video and you’ll receive your completion certificate by email within 24 hours. Afterwards, there is a separate Code of Conduct form that you need to sign and submit as well.

Mandated Reporter Trainings

~ 4 hours 52 min

This step includes three separate modules each with a quiz at the end that you need an 80% on to pass the course. The good news is that the quizzes were relatively simple and you can always pause during a module and come back to it later. By law there is a mandatory amount of time that needs to be spent on the training, so you cannot increase the playback speed.

 Racial Trauma Training Reflection

~40 min

This was 6 open ended questions to be answered in 2-3 sentences each. There was a 22 page reading that accompanied this regarding the impact of racism and discrimination on an individual and how to talk about it. The questions are not directly based on the readings but are regarding your own experience with identity and discrimination.

Overall, it only took me about 7.5 hours to complete all the steps necessary to become a tutor. For me, this was over the course of a couple of months, but you could potentially finish all of these steps in a couple weeks or less if you choose. For DO students, the time spent on the mandatory reporter training and the volunteer orientation are TOUCH eligible (5.5 hours). Most of these requirements you potentially already completed for medical school rotations or other clubs/ organizations and they can be reused. The RISE team is always available to answer any questions you may have about the sign up process. 

If you’re a student who is passionate about working with kids or has previously enjoyed participating in mentoring/tutoring programs, then I highly recommend that you start the process to become a RISE tutor. If you’re curious about what being a tutor is like, look forward to our next article where we interview two current RISE tutors about why they became a tutor and what they enjoy about the experience.

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