Clinical/Special Requirements

Many CHHS undergraduate and graduate programs have learning experiences through internships, practicums, clinicals or similar for which additional clinical or special requirements for the student is mandatory. Some of these requirements include vaccinations, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other strategies for protecting yourself and your patients and clients.

To ensure that you understand the NIU and CHHS policies regarding vaccinations and personal protective equipment (PPE), including the COVID-19 vaccine, below please find a summary of important information.

  • NIU requires all students participating in face-to-face activities on campus to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or request an exemption from vaccination
  • Many clinical placements, internships and practicums are requiring participating students to be fully vaccinated. This CHHS program vaccination requirement is in addition to NIU’s vaccination policies.
  • Some CHHS programs will only accept religious or medical exemptions—not the personal exemption—because many clinical sites will not accept students who are unvaccinated.
  • If you are granted an exemption, you must agree to and comply with ongoing NIU COVID-19 surveillance testing and mask policies. Note: options for clinical placements may be limited for those without full vaccination status. 
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, you may be unable to participate in activities required by your degree program in a timely manner and your graduation could be delayed. Please check program requirements carefully, and contact your advisors, clinical program coordinators and chairs in your specific program with questions.
  • We encourage all CHHS students to complete health requirements for these placements based on required program deadlines. If you submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Aug. 20, 2021, you will receive a $100 incentive
For more NIU COVID-19 information, go to Protecting the Pack

For more information, please review the school and program page for clinical or special requirements or refer to the undergraduate catalog or graduate catalog.

Fingerprint Based Criminal Background Checks

Fingerprint-based criminal background checks currently only apply to the Speech-Language Pathology majors. Learn more about the fingerprint criminal background check process. This does not apply to students who are not in the Speech-Language Pathology program. 


CastleBranch is a vendor that offers a repository for all student clinical requirements. Students in all clinical-related programs and students in some non-clinical-related programs are required to use CastleBranch to some extent.

CastleBranch will also facilitate and store the results of your required background checks and drug screens (for programs in which these are required). This repository is available indefinitely, so it is a useful resource used to keep track of required immunizations and titers to bring with you as you enter the workforce. Records are available to students at any time.

You will be instructed by your clinical coordinator on when and how to sign up for CastleBranch, and should not set up accounts before instructed to do so by their coordinator. You will be responsible for any additional expenses incurred by CastleBranch.

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